Review: Are The Great Courses Really Worth The Money

If you are a student, you probably have already used online teaching to help revise your courses before exams. But many non-student people are also more and more interested in online courses in order to keep gathering knowledge. The now-famous Great Courses are promoters of what we call a lifelong education, which means that learning is not a journey with an end but something we have to practice during our entire life. With multiple supports, they have managed to attract a wide learnership, from active students to retired seniors. In this article, we are going to take a sneak peek at the benefits and we are going to review all the positive comments and complaints about The Great Courses.

What is The Great Courses?

Some call The Great Courses “the Netflix of learning”. Indeed, when Thomas M. Rollins, former Chief Counsel of the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, founded the Teaching Company in 1990, his idea was to gather the best lectures on video format for his platform The Great Courses. He spent all his money, time, and energy in recruiting the best professors and experts in order to record the lecture they used to dispense at school, high school, and university, sometimes asking them to modify them especially for his services.

What helped the Teaching Company to grow more and more famous is their strong ethic toward a lifelong learning, meaning that for them, learning is not only a short term journey with an end but more of a lifelong adventure during which anyone should keep gathering knowledge.

Hard Copy Materials + Online Courses = Optimal Learning

The other reason why The Great Courses are so appreciated by such a wide range of users is their use of multiple supports. Users have indeed access to an entire online digital video library, but they also get other supports such as CDs and DVDs or hard copy materials such as workbooks and guidebooks. The latter are usually sent via email in PDF format so that learners can choose to refer to it on their computer or on a home-printed version. All these materials that everyone can use at any time and everywhere are making the Great Courses the “Netflix of learning”.

By using multiple supports like this, the Teaching Company helped to make learning accessible for anyone, may they be students addicted to the digital world or seniors not used to informatics. Even better, they keep their services up-to-date with technological innovations, e.g. when they launched their Great Courses app for Android and IOS.

Is The Cost Really Worth the Money?

One of the main drawback we usually hear about the Great Courses services is their price, but how much do the Great Courses cost? Indeed, prices are quite high and courses can seem quite expensive at first view. But that is without taking in account the numerous sales and discount constantly offered on the platform. On this website, you will even be able to find free courses daily. For instance, one Black Friday, they offered a 90% discount, free shipping, and a $20 discount of the order. Other punctual discounts include the Summer Saving Countdown, during which a dazzling deal is offered every day during exams period or else the Employee Pricing Sale, which offers a 50% discount to employee learners.

In the end, given the quality of the teaching and all the sales constantly proposed, we can easily answer the following question: Is The great courses worth it? Yes.

Learn More With The Great Courses Plus

If you are an adept of the concept of lifelong learning, you might leave a bit hungry for more. That is the reason why the Teaching Company has also launched The Great Courses Plus, an extended version of the platform offering « unlimited video access to the world’s greatest professors ». Moreover, with The Great Courses Plus, download is very easy for everyone at any time. To make sure the deal fits your needs, you can enjoy a free month trial at first.

Some Interesting Reviews From Users

Of course, like any service, there are some drawbacks. We have tried to gather some constructive reviews, positive as well as negative, in order to give you the most objective view.

Positive Reviews

“I tried the app in 2014 and it really sucked, it was close to unusable. I tried it again recently with my daughter who was preparing for her exams and it was a night and day difference. Prices have dropped and the app is now working perfectly. I’ve put only one star years ago, now I definitely go for five stars. Yes, the Great Courses is really worth it.” Terry W.

“All the lectures and videos I’ve purchased from the Teaching Company are easily available for watching and downloading even now I’ve stopped paying my monthly fee. It means that when you buy a course, it is yours forever. That a big plus for me.” Shane R.

Negative Reviews

“I did not understand that the courses were not free. I downloaded the app, which is advertised as free, and this is true, but it does not mean courses are free. The app is just a way to access the catalog of courses, for which you have to pay if you want to use them.” Robert F.

“I was hoping to use the courses on my Kindle Fire but it did not work. Looking at other reviews, I see that many people were in the same situation. I’m very disappointed” Marlene B. (Note that it seems that the problem has been solved since.)


  • Maureen Parente says:

    The Great Courses Plus is a fabulous way to learn. I listen while I drive and watch the videos when I have some time. And it is always available.

  • DaleRacer says:

    Extreme LEFT-wing bias on history & especially POLITICS

    I’ve purchased 70 courses from them. Most are science, astronomy, geology, photography etc.

    NOTE: any website that controls its OWN 1-5 star reviews is a SHAM. Do you REALLY think you will get the WHOLE picture?

    I’ve written about 40 reviews – most 4-5 star positive reviews. The process is as follows: the review is submitted then read and analyzed by their “politically correct” staff, then posted. If economically threatening (as this note is), then they call it “moderation” (censored).

    They’ve CENSORED twice my review on the course Power Over People where I pointed out that the professor goes into great detail about the RIGHT-wing atrocities of 6M dead (genocide) and 70M dead in WW2.

    However when it comes to the LEFT-wing communist atrocities of 20M dead under Stalin and 40M dead under Mao – the professor blathers to us with frivolous insignificance about Karl Mark’s furniture and burial site and other irrelevance.

    WHAT does that tell you? Is this rocket science? They refused to post this.

    So avoid buying any courses on history and especially politics.

    • Douglas L Peters says:

      Actual college is worse, believe it or not. Also, there are courses with conservative leaning professors. It’s funny how political courses are distorted by politics! At least you don’t have to submit papers to a professor who will not give you an “A” if you disagree with him/her, which is a major drawback in traditional college courses on social science and humanities.

    • The Voice of Reason says:

      Communism isn’t left-wing, nor is it right-wing. It’s a completely different system to the US 2-party republic. No wonder they keep deleting your comments – you’re a bumbling idiot.

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  • Quintin says:

    They don’t let you acces after paying.

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