Paid vs Unpaid online course – advantages & disadvantages

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Online learning has been blooming ever since the pandemic hit. Hundreds and thousands of paid and unpaid courses are available on every topic. From programming languages to digital marketing, there is something for everyone. There are videos on YouTube for every skill you could ever think of. You can do these in your free or take them up full time. 

But with so many options available out there, confusion is inevitable. Choosing the right course can be difficult and time-taking. You need to experiment with a few online programs before finding the one that suits your needs. Then there’s the issue with the quality of content.

Paid and unpaid courses both have their pros and cons. Let us look at a few points in detail.

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Paid Courses (Advantages & Disadvantages)

There are some benefits to purchasing a course, which the free courses can’t provide you with. If you enroll in an online course taught by famous instructors on Udemy or Coursera, the certificate can add great value. You can be sure about the quality you will get from these courses, and so will be the people around you. It plays an important role in showing companies that you are a serious learner.

In paid programs, you get access to ask questions and talk to the instructors in live doubt sessions. They also encourage peer-to-peer learning. If the instructor could not answer your question due to any reason, another student will definitely attempt to help you. 

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Another advantage you get when you enroll in a paid course is discipline. Since you know that you have invested money, you will automatically try to complete it in time and gain as much value as you can. The teachers also keep a check on the progress of the students and encourage them to be regular.

Paid courses are constantly updated. It ensures that you are not being taught obsolete concepts. This aspect has another benefit, which is that new concepts can be learned, even if they came into existence after the course was designed and launched. 

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Now let us look at some disadvantages of paid courses: Some paid training and courses are too expensive, making them inaccessible to most people.

On platforms like Udemy, sometimes a few of the paid courses don’t provide enough value to the student, or they are not professional and structured. Some websites might charge an extra amount to issue completion certificates. These disadvantages are not prominent, but they do exist and should be kept in mind. To avoid purchasing a low-quality course, make sure you read the reviews beforehand. 

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Unpaid Courses (Advantages & Disadvantages)

The best part of unpaid courses is that they are accessible to everyone with an internet connection.

We all know that getting an internship or a job is challenging, and often these online courses do wonders in making our resume looks good. Since unpaid courses are accessible to everyone, they help many people further their learning, learn new skills, and polish their existing skills. Academic knowledge might not be enough in today’s society. You need to show the world that you have experimented in your life and had enriching experiences. A lot of opportunities open up when you start getting involved in professional activities like training and courses. 


Free courses are also a great way to explore your interests. They give you the freedom to change your mind or opt out if you have time constraints.

With advantages, there are a few disadvantages too. Free or unpaid courses have a completion rate of about 15%. No one is there to encourage you to complete what you started. You need to be incredibly disciplined to do that. Most of the unpaid do not offer doubt assistance or peer learning. So, every time you encounter a problem, you have to search it on Google and solve it yourself. 

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Unpaid courses usually don’t provide certificates, so if you want to mention them on your resume, you will have to explain to the person what you did in the course. As a student, it is hard to complete a course without inspiration and peer learning support.

So to conclude, no type of online is good or bad. If you have the motivation, interest, and dedication, you will take insights from every course you enroll in. And a person who is not interested will not learn anything. Remember that paid courses are an investment that you make in yourself, it will always benefit you in the future. So don’t shy away from spending a few bucks on your self-development.


By: Ria Prasad

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