Developing a new personal or professional skill has never been easier considering the variety of online learning platforms that one can subscribe to. Udemy is one of the most notable e-learning platforms where you can purchase or sell online courses with pretty respectable quality. We’ll be covering everything you need to know about Udemy in this article, so stick around.
At its core, Udemy is an e-learning platform that was developed to provide its users with means of learning new things that would’ve otherwise had been unattainable without reliable resources.
Udemy was launched in 2010 by founder and CEO, Eren Bali. The project was initially rejected many times, but with admirable tenacity, the project came into fruition and it was able to raise a number of funds that helped develop and market the website.
Nowadays, Udemy is acknowledged as one of the world’s largest e-learning platforms with over 30 million students that are signed up in over 100 thousand courses. The environment that this website provides allows for a pleasant learning experience from the comfort of your home.
Not only does Udemy offer a reliable source of information for students that are looking to learn new skills, but it also offers a great venue for professional instructors to share their courses for all the world to see, whether paid or free. It’s an unbound sea of knowledge at your disposal.
The teaching style and experience in Udemy vary from one teacher to the other. When you find a course that you’d like to sign up for, you’ll be given a number of options to choose from as far as delivery. Your learning curve determines the helpfulness of the material and offerings.
As far as prices, Udemy’s paid courses are very reasonably priced. You may also get discounts that can reach up to 90% off a course’s regular price. If you have a passion for developing your personal and professional skills, Udemy is going to be your sanctum sanctorum.
Udemy offers a wide selection of courses on various subjects and topics. You need to be aware that Udemy courses come and go, so there are no guarantees that the course you’re interested in will be available in the future. The availability of a course is at the discretion of its instructor.
On Udemy, you’ll find many courses with varying levels of depth and experience about a specific subject, from introductory courses to long, more detailed coursework. This ensures that you can always find more courses about a specific topic if you didn’t get enough from a single course.
Udemy may be lacking in terms of quality when compared to other platforms such as Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning, but the reason behind its massive popularity is because of the remarkable rating system that it has and the impressive quantity that it offers.
The Udemy community is like no other in terms of being active. This community is comprised of a group of Udemy users that meet in Udemy-dedicated forums to chat it up and discuss courses which they’ve learned from. This helps keep Udemy a relevant e-learning platform and allows it to offer noteworthy discounts all year round.
Udemy sends out an email newsletter to its users on a regular basis to keep them up to date to courses that can be useful to their topic of interest. However, you’re likely to experience a minor annoyance with this feature because not all of the traffic is directed to your class and you’ll run into frequent branding for Udemy.
Overall, Udemy offers an active, built-in communication system that allows you to interact with a large community of users, which means that you won’t have to create a forum dedicated to your courses. Plus, Udemy doesn’t force you to sell your sessions or send out emails whatsoever.
The Search Engine
Finding coursework on Udemy is very simple and quick, thanks to the robust search engine that Udemy employs. Instead of having to search through the endless deluge of courses that Udemy offers, it presents the most popular courses first when you search for a given topic.
There’s also the option to sort or filter the search results to your liking. You can filter them based on spoken language, student reviews, academic level, price, closed captioning, quizzes, age of the course, and course exercises. This helps you find desired courses very quickly.
Going back to the rating system, students can give the courses they’ve signed up for a rating of one to five stars. Additionally, they can express their opinion about the knowledge-level required to take the course. All of these means combined allow the users to pinpoint courses that interest them with ease. This also helps differentiate between good and bad quality.
Before signing up a Udemy account, you need to understand that part of acquiring great value is dictated by your research skills. You can’t just search for a topic and commit to any course that’s in front of you before knowing whether it’s appropriate for your experience in the topic or not. So basically, your experience with Udemy is a result of how smart and patient you are using it.
Many people tend to sign up for courses that are beyond their capabilities and then up criticizing the website their bad experience. You’re free to sign up for any course if you’re willing to pay for it, but you won’t really benefit anything from it if it’s not appropriate for your level of expertise. In addition to signing up for courses with more practical work than what you have time for.
Once you pinpoint a course that you’d like to sign up for, you’ll notice the star level of the course and the number of students that are enrolled in it. Other information you may get include a brief description of the content and the length of the course. You can add courses to your wish-list so that you can revisit it later if you don’t have time for it now.
Like we’ve already mentioned, Udemy’s offerings aren’t always going to be available, they come and go depending on the availability of the course’s instructor. Udemy allows you to take up one or more courses simultaneously if you’re able. Keep in mind that you’re limited by your time and ability to master the material you’re studying, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
If you scroll down a certain course, you can find the about section where you can see the most relevant reviews from students who are taking or have taken the course. You’ll also find a lot of details regarding the course itself, including system requirements, expectations, language, and the goals of the course. Udemy recommends taking up alternate courses that have a number of traits in common.
You can find 13 main categories in Udemy: IT and Software, Development, Business, Personal Development, Finance and Accounting, Marketing, Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, Music, Office Productivity, Teaching and Academics, and Photography.
When it comes to Udemy’s accessibility, we’ve noticed that it provides a number of features that are there to tune into the needs of impaired learners. Some of the courses come with transcripts and closed captioning. Unfortunately, the number of courses that offer these features isn’t large, and so students need to venture with the accessibility feature themselves to see if it’s accessible to them or not.
Since most of Udemy’s offerings are based on the availability of the instructors, support tends to vary from one course to the other. The majority of Udemy’s instructors are pretty active and offer help when their students are having difficulties completing their coursework. A small percentage of instructors, however, may take a little longer to get in contact with their students to solve their problems. As far as support, Udemy is no different from on-ground college courses.
But unlike on-ground college courses, it’s in the best interest of Udemy’s instructors to make the learning experience for their students as great as possible and to provide them with all the help they need since students get to rate the courses they participate in. If the instructor fails to offer the best learning experience for his students, the course will become less relevant over time.
It grants users a sense of relief to know that through the rating system, only the best instructors can remain relevant. More specifically the ones who invest a lot of effort and time to meet all of their students’ requirements and maintain a good balance between content and cost. Also, the ones with poor delivery tend to fade into oblivion over time due to bad ratings. So in a nutshell, Udemy is an e-learning platform that filters out ineffective courses automatically.
There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions when it comes to Udemy’s content quality. Some give it an excellent rating while others just slam a profound “NO” onto it. Since we’re unable to check out all of the courses that Udemy has to offer, we’re unable to stand behind either side. There’s, however, something that people seem to miss when they sign up for a Udemy course, and that’s all of the courses are instructor-driven and the quality will vary from one instructor to the other.
Let’s take it even further. Since all of Udemy’s courses are mostly marketed by the instructors, it seems naive that you’d expect an instructor to trash his own course. Every instructor claims that his offering is the ultimate course in whichever topic he’s teaching. This leads us back to how it’s imperative to check out the course’s reviews and ratings before committing to it. Everyone can be an instructor at a platform like Udemy, but not everyone is qualified to teach.
Advantages for Course Creators
- Revenue Sharing - Instructors have the ability to set the retail cost of their courses. The revenues they receive comes from two sources. The sales that the content creator offers to new Udemy users earn him 100% of the tuition fee, while sales that are offered to the current Udemy user base give the content creator/instructor 50% of the fee.
- Pricing Control - As we’ve just mentioned, content creators set their own pricing for the courses they have to offer. $10 to $30 is the rate per house that Udemy recommends. If you price your courses according to this formula, you’ll be able to earn between $50 and $150 for a 5-hour course.
- Marketing Promotions - Udemy creates special programs from time to time to promote their offerings and attract new users. Content creators have absolute freedom in whether they’d like to participate in such programs or not. Participating in a promotional program can help skyrocket your ratings and help make your courses more relevant.
- Publishing Technology - Potential course creators are provided with means of planning and publishing their offerings, in addition to ways they can plan and create their courses. Udemy provides a series of instructional videos on how to create a course for your topic of interest. Udemy support and services are available for free for potential instructors.
- Solid User Base - Udemy has an established user base of over 30 million students and they’re all potential purchasers of your courses as a course creator. It’s important for you as a course creator to have a bulletproof marketing plan that ensures the success of the content you’re putting out or otherwise, you’ll have to be lucky for your courses to reach a significant level of relevance.
- Brand Building - Instructors can benefit from offering free Udemy courses as a method of promoting their own brand. It’s imperative for you to be an expert in your field to make use of Udemy as a way to market your own brand or business. For instance, if one of the courses you have to offer garners a lot of attention, it’s likely that you’ll find the enrollees of this course seeking additional services from you.
Disadvantages for Course Creators
- Competitive Marketspace - The e-learning market is filled with competitors. You’ll even find certain competitors that specialize in a certain category of subjects, which can be a serious disadvantage for content creators who specialize in the same subject category.
- Internal Competition - Not only are you going to face competition from other e-learning platforms, but you’ll also be facing some serious competition from other Udemy content creators. Based on Udemy’s proprietary logarithms, your course’s viewing position can either be the cause of its relevance or its doom. Competitors may earn more than you do just because the logarithms allow their courses to appear before yours.
- Udemy Standards - As a course creator, you’re obliged to stick to Udemy’s standards. You’re required to have a course outline that includes 5 lectures at least, with each one being under 20 minutes in length. Udemy also demands some minimum video and audio standards. All things considered, Udemy fails to review the completeness of each course due to the massive quantity, which results in a variance in quality between courses.
- Refund Policies - While this is looked at as a plus for consumers, course creators tend to run the risk of students completing their courses within the 30-day test-drive period and ask for a refund after. A student’s refund request can be for any reason, it may not even have anything to do with the quality of the course.
- Marketing Strategy - The need for a solid marketing strategy to promote your courses is a burden on all course creators. This is a pitfall that you’ll encounter in all e-learning sites and not just Udemy. Potential course creators must be prepared to get a solid marketing strategy for the products to maintain relevance. Keep in mind that promotional acts tend to be costly, even if you only intend to promote your products on social media.
Advantages for Course Enrollees
- Affordable Courses - The vast majority of Udemy courses range between $20 and $50, with some courses exceeding that price point but very rarely beyond $99. Moreover, it's not rare for Udemy to offer promotional periods and discount coupons to build their base. Some of their promotional periods allow users to sign up courses for free or for half the listed price.
- Unrivaled Quantity - The number of courses that Udemy has to offer is nothing short of astounding. Udemy’s library has a wide range of categories and subcategories, so you’re certainly going to find multiple courses in your field of interest. When compared to other video-learning competitors, Udemy reigns supreme.
- Discussion Boards - Udemy provides a discussion board for each course so that both the instructor and enrollees can share their inquiries, comments, and feedback. Further, this allows students to develop tie-ins with their instructors from which both parties can benefit. Students can seek instructors for help, while course creators can promote their proprietary offerings such as consulting services.
- Refund Policies - We’ve already seen how this can be a negative for instructors, but for students, this is a very strong selling point for Udemy. Students are offered the ability to return their purchased courses for any reason within a period of 30 days. This allows the students to try a bunch of courses that they’re hesitant about until they pinpoint the one that suits their capabilities and then return the rest with absolutely no risks.
- Self-Paced Learning - Udemy video courses vary in length, with most of them ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Students have the ability to pause, stop, or replay their courses as much as they want, which allows students to learn at their own pace. Generally, courses will have interim quizzes at the end of every part so that students determine their level of mastery of the material learned.
- Lifetime Access - Students have instant access to the courses they’re enrolled in. All of the materials offered by Udemy are pre-recorded and available for download. Further, all courses can be retaken for as much as the student wants with no additional cost, which allows students the freedom of learning their material whenever they want so that they’re not restricted by their personal schedules.
- Completion Certificates - Apart from the fact that students don’t need pre-qualifications to take on any Udemy Courses, many of Udemy’s offerings offer completion certificates. However, keep in mind that the value of Udemy certificates may not be acknowledged by business owners who aren’t aware of Udemy. Additionally, don’t have high hopes that a Udemy certificate can improve your CV. If you find some courses that are professionally approved for education credits, you must verify the validity of that approval before taking the course.
Disadvantages for Course Enrollees
- Varying Quality - We’ve already touched on this point but we can’t stress enough how important it is for students to understand that Udemy courses consist of talking heads, screenshots, and slide-show presentations, so interactions between students and the instructor are very limited, which makes for a pretty unexciting environment for some. The value will also tend to vary from instructor to another not just on an expertise level, but you may be enrolled in a course that has a non-native instructor for example, which can make it hard to grasp everything that the instructor is saying in his video courses.
- No Academic Credit - While Udemy does offer certificates of completion, most of them aren’t really recognized by employers or any educational institution. Udemy is intended to share practical information and knowledge, not for academic credit. The mastery of a subject is completely up to the student.
- No Quality Checks - At Udemy, everyone can be an instructor. And since no instructor is going to bash his own offerings, it’s left for students to evaluate the expertise of their instructor. Udemy relies heavily on the idea of an open market where winners and losers are recognized by consumers’ ratings and reviews. While this ensures an endless flow of information, it doesn’t ensure good value in all courses.
Udemy is a great place for people with little to no experience to expand their horizons and find out more about their topic of interest. Quality isn’t always assured, but quantity is unchallenged. We’d highly recommend enrolling in Udemy courses for those who are just seeking to improve their personal or professional expertise. However, if you’re looking for academic credits, Udemy isn’t the place for you.