Udemy Review 2020: Is The Platform Worth Your Time and Money?
Udemy Review: Is The Platform Worth Your Time and Money?
Founded in 2010, Udemy is certainly one of the largest elearning platforms for aspiring self-starters. During our review, we found that the platform allows instructors to create material specific to the subject matter that they have expertise in, upload and charge a fee for use. Anyone can create instructional material in form of chapters and upload it to the platform.
This means that learners have access to a wide range of topics from which they can choose from coding and development to law, business, and even life and music lessons. Udemy has literally thousands of quality courses and over 6 million learners from all over the world enrolled in their coursework. This review will focus on the programming and coding track, with focus on hard programing as well as web and mobile development.
The greatest difference between Udemy and other online learning platforms is its structure. Other elearning platforms facilitate use of guided courses and learning structures to guide learners through their paths. Udemy takes an entirely different approach. Their structure is one of a marketingplace of learning, not unlike shopping at an ecommerce site. Udemy, has provided a beautiful introductory 2-minute video that sums up what they do.
A prospective learner will come to Udemy wanting to learn something, and be provided with a range of options on what to study as opposed to one course of study with a linear path. Rather than a singular instructor, learners have access to a marketplace of instructors, and they are ever-changing. The entire Udemy elearning model is consumer driven, and is more akin to buying a book from an online vendor like Amazon than a traditional online learning model. Even a star rating system and consumer reviews accompany course descriptions.
Udemy covers nearly any topic under sun. Right from beginner to advanced, their coursework runs the gamut in pretty much every topic. The platform has approximately 35,000 courses available to be a hard, with the average course pricing between $19-$99.
There is no formal certification upon completing a course, but the coursework can be learned at the learner’s pace and not a formal classroom setting with regular sessions. Coursework is typically delivered via video as well as written instructions. Multiple media forms are used to deliver the lectures as well as practical material to the learner.
Key features of Udemy courses
- Wide range of course offerings – Currently, Udemy offers 15 major course categories ranging from software development to music, with up to 15 subcategories under the main categories. For instance, in the “instruments” subcategory of “Music,” there are at least 30 separate courses for students seeking to learn piano, a similar number of guitar learners, 5 courses for new learners who want to play harmonica, as well as multiple courses on playing drums, saxophone, banjo, flute, and autoharp.
- No prequalification necessary for taking courses – Learners are free to take any course that might interest them.
- Viewable on multiple devices – Learners can view their courses on desktop as well as other portable devices like tablets and smartphones.
- Free or low-cost tuition – An estimated 10 percent of courses offered by Udemy are free, while the rest are generally priced under $200. There are few exceptions, though, with some courses costing up to $1,000. However, these are relatively rare.
- 30-day money-back guarantee – If learners decide that they do not wish to take a course for any reason during the first 30-days of enrollment, Udemy reimburses 100 percent of the tuition.
- Immediate access – Upon enrolling, learners have instant access to their course of choice, since all course materials – PDF, checklists, guidelines, and financial statements – are prerecorded and electronically available for easy access and download to any electronic device.
- Life time access to enrolled courses – Users can retake courses, or any portions of a course, they have enrolled in as many times as they wish without additional cost. This access ensures learners have every opportunity to revisit and master the material based on their personal schedules.
- Self-Paced learning – Each course comes with video lectures that range from 5 – 15 minutes. Learners can stop or pause these videos and replay as many times as they wish. Courses come with interim quizzes to help students gauge their mastery of the material.
- Access to prior student reviews and ratings – customers can easily access and read previous student reviews and ratings for opinions about the course’s values. Additionally, most courses feature previews of their lessons so you can evaluate each instructor’s style and quality.
- Instructors have practical, professional knowledge – It is important to understand that instructors are generally business people with actual experience in the subjects they are teaching, rather than academics. They have the experience in what they do. Most often, lessons are created in simple English with easy to follow examples and application in real-life business situations.
- Certificate upon completion – Most courses award certificates upon successful completion. Since subject mastery is not independently verified, it is important to acknowledge that the value of your certificate may be questioned by folks who are unfamiliar with you or Udemy. While some subjects are approved for professional continuing education credits, it is important for students to verify the status of such credits before signing up for the course.
Udemy merits and demerits
For instructors and course creators
Potential Udemy course creators can derive the following advantages from Udemy:
Attractive revenue sharing of tuition fees: Instructors set the price for their courses and typically earn revenues from two sources: the instructor keeps 100% of the proceeds from sales to new Udemy subscribers, and 50% on sales to existing Udemy subscribers.
Creator pricing control: Course creators get to decide the market price for the courses they are selling through the platform. The platform recommends $10-$30 per content hour. Thus, a four-hour course should cost between $40-$120 using this recommendation.
Proprietary publishing technology: In Udemy is a one-stop shop for potential instructors to plan, create, and publish their tutorials. Each course is accompanied by a series of videos that provide step-by-step instruction for enhanced learning experience. There is 24/7 support with a complete library of informational tutorials and examples. Potential instructors have access to Udemy services.
Opt-In participation in Udemy marketing promotions: Udemy runs special promotions designed to attract new clients from time to time. Instructors are free to participate in these programs.
Access to a well-established customer based: Pretty much all Udemy’s 4 million users are potential purchasers of any course. However, course creators should be ready to aggressively market their courses for success.
Brand building and tie-Ins: Experts can use their Udemy courses to boost the sale of their products and services thus boosting their brand’s value.
A potential Udemy learner can benefit from the following:
Discounts and budget friendly courses: According to Udemy estimation, a significant number of its courses are free, though most are priced between $29 and $99. The platform aggressively seeks to build a customer base with a wide distribution of discount coupons as well as promotional periods where learners can try out courses for free or for up to 50 percent off or more.
Extensive course offerings that dwarf competition: Udemy has more than 100 course categories and subcategories, ranging from programming to photography as well as foreign languages. Truth it, Udemy’s course database dwarfs any of its online learning competition.
Instructor and student feedback: Udemy courses are generally accompanied by discussion boards that allow learners to post questions, comments, as well as problems where the instructor and other learners can see and respond directly to them.
Tie-In with instructors’ external services: Most course creators use instructional videos to promote proprietary video products such as books and consulting services. Most often, enrollment in a course may entitle learners to special promotions as well as price discounts.
Ability to test drive: Not only do most courses offer free lesson previews, but if learners wish to return purchased lessons within 30 days, they are free to do so. This makes it easy for learners to try multiple courses without risking their money.
For instructors and course creators
In selecting Udemy as their publisher, course creators should keep in mind the following limitations:
Competitive online learning publishers: Several startups such as SchoolKeep, Lynda.com, Skilljar, and Fedora have entered the online learning marketplace. It is possible for competitors to develop dominant positions in specific subject category, putting Udemy creators at a disadvantage.
Lenient return policies: If, for some reason, a learner demands their money back within 30 days, a refund is guaranteed. Thus, course creators bear the risk that a learner would use their course within 30 days and still demand a refund. At a minimum, royalty payment for the courses is deferred until after the guarantee period.
Lack of academic credit: Unlike the MOOC courses that are offered by universities and college, most Udemy courses do not come with any certificate of proficiency that would be recognized by potential employers or other educational institutions. Generally, Udemy courses are not intended for academic credit, but the transfer of practical knowledge from instructors to learners.
Lack of course mastery validation: With very few exceptions, Udemy courses are designed for beginners with quite little or no experience in particular fields of study. Learners should recognize that completing a course may be the first step in subject mastery, not the end point.
While lifetime learning is key to maintaining an individual’s position in the workplace, formal education is often invaluable, too expensive, or too theoretical to deliver precise knowledge that actually benefits learners in their professions. Udemy is an exciting and evolving entry into the field of online learning providers. With the growing popularity of self-paced learning, online learning, Udemy is definitely a concept whose time has come. Visit Udemy today to sample the different courses on offer.