Ready to kickstart a new career in tech but not sure which online learning platform is right for you? Learn more about the main differences between MOOCs and mentor-led online bootcamps in this guide.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
As the cost of higher education continues to rise, online courses and bootcamps have in recent years become a viable alternative for those who want training in highly technical and well-compensated fields—without the steep price tag or years-long time commitment.
Spurring the e-learning revolution is the growing demand across all industries for software engineers, UX designers, data scientists, and cybersecurity professionals, which has resulted in courses and bootcamps that promise to prepare students for those roles—often from the comfort of their home, at the student’s own pace, for a low cost.
The rise of online bootcamps has been a good thing, with The New York Times reporting that virtual learning has been a “great equalizer” for adults and has made training and upskilling more accessible. During the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, the research found that e-learning has the potential to close a longstanding skills gap and democratize user engagement. Many courses, designed specifically with a bootcamp-to-workforce pipeline in mind, have also optimized their programs to focus on the skills students need in order to land the job they want, thus maximizing efficiency and giving graduates a competitive advantage.
Springboard is a San Francisco-based edtech company that prepares students for some of today’s more competitive and coveted careers, all while offering a first-of-its kind job guarantee. Every student gets a six-month runway after graduating to secure a role in their industry—if they don’t, students receive a refund on 100% of their tuition.
Springboard offers bootcamps and short courses in UI/UX design, data science, data analytics, software engineering, machine learning, and cybersecurity. All Springboard bootcamps are 100% online, self-paced, and take six-nine months to complete. During each bootcamp, students are matched with an industry mentor who guides them throughout the program through weekly one-on-one video calls. A Student Success Manager is also available to handle logistics queries, create study plans, and help students stay accountable to their learning goals.
Before and after graduation, Springboard’s career coaches support students in their job searches and networking, help prepare them for interviews, and facilitate their transition into the workforce.
EdX is a Massachusetts-based edtech platform created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University that hosts thousands of massive open online courses (MOOCs) across subjects ranging from computer science to architecture, ethics, music, and history. Its offerings include certifications, degrees, and free courses, many of which are created by universities and businesses and are open to everyone.
All of EdX’s courses are 100% online, and some include discussion boards where students can ask questions of instructors and peers, and graded assignments where students can receive feedback on their work. However, like most MOOCs, the majority of EdX courses take a hands-off approach to instruction and consist of video lectures, readings, and optional assignments that are available only to paying students.
Similar to Coursera, EdX’s offerings are diverse and students can choose from different courses on the same subject—for example, a search for the term “data science” turns up 71 course results. Many of its courses are highly specific and focus on a facet of a subject, such as introducing students to the fundamentals of data science or teaching the basics of Python or SQL.
There are a few fundamental differences between Springboard and EdX.
Both Springboard and EdX are 100% online and deliver most of their educational materials through video lectures and readings.
All Springboard students—regardless of course type or career track—are given weekly one-on-one access to an industry mentor and receive the support of dedicated career counselors to help them get the most out of the course. This support network is also available to students upon graduation to assist them in making their next move. Most EdX courses do not come with additional support, although students enrolled in its MicroBachelors or master’s programs are eligible for career coaching via SMS or U.S. phone lines.
Students go at their own pace in both Springboard and EdX courses, with the average Springboard bootcamp taking anywhere from six to nine months and requiring a time commitment of 15-25 hours a week to successfully complete the coursework, while the average EdX course ranges from eight weeks for a short course on a specific topic (E.g. R Basics in data science), to four years for the Master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.
When it comes to online courses and bootcamps, the adage that you get what you pay for often rings true. Free or low-cost courses can be accessible, but often lack personalized support from instructors and mentors. Higher-cost courses can have a higher barrier to entry, but typically come with a comprehensive support system.
One of the indicators of an effective bootcamp or online course is whether students land an industry job upon graduation.
In the saturated e-learning market, both Springboard and EdX have emerged as significant players because their courses offer many benefits. But what works for one student may not work for another.
Browse the Springboard Career Tracks to find the perfect fit for you.
Not ready to enroll just yet? Read more about the factors you should consider while picking a program in our bootcamp criteria guide.
Disclaimer: We’ve worked hard to ensure the information in this comparison guide is accurate and up-to-date. However, mistakes happen. If you spot an error, please get in touch with us at email@example.com and we’ll correct it right away.
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