Table of Contents
- Are Udemy Courses Worth it?
- Some Stats
- The Best of the Best
- Udemy Ease of Use
- The Setup
- Online Education is a Band-Aid
- We Know It’s Good, But What Doesn’t it Have?
- A Tool for Teachers and Students Alike
- Back to College? Nope, Just Udemy
- Udemy Online Courses Guarantee
- Wish Upon a Wish List
- Udemy Just Keeps on Getting Better
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are definitely one of the internet’s brightest sides. Udemy, founded and launched in 2010 by Eren Bali, Gagn Biyani, and Oktay Caglar, offers courses in anything and everything, and is intended for anyone who wishes to teach or to learn in an online environment. Today, Udemy online classes are taken throughout the entire world.
This Udemy review is not the final word on Udemy, by any means. This prolific website, which is a veritable educational marketplace, is always improving and expanding its horizons. However, I do hope this post will help answer the all-important question, which is of course: is Udemy any good?
Are Udemy Courses Worth it?
The short answer is yes, it is. Obviously, a short answer will not suffice in this case. When you are dealing with education, there is a lot to be said. Udemy courses are many and varied. They include every topic imaginable, and about a third of them are offered free of charge. The costs of Udemy courses are determined by their respective instructors, so they range from free to $500 or more – all depending on the instructor. Most courses are priced at $29 – $99.
In that sense, Udemy differs from traditional MOOC websites – such as Coursera or Lynda, which offers coursework similar to college studies, or Khan Academy and edX, which host their own original content. Udemy stands out, because it offers experts the ability to share their knowledge and expertise with the world, and maybe even make some money in the process.
Udemy has offices in San Francisco, U.S.; Dublin, Ireland; and Ankara, Turkey. According to the Udemy website,
there are currently over 8,000,000 students enrolling in over 32,000 different courses. The website boasts over 18,000 instructors, 80+ course languages, and over 6,500,000 minutes of video content. This global and far-reaching community is growing every day, and it is a great way to learn a new skill, teach online, or train employees in relevant skills. Courses in Udemy are available on demand, and they can be viewed by anyone, anytime, and on any device.
Udemy employs about 150 people, half of which are not native to the U.S. about 40 percent are female employees. All employees have different degrees of experience and credentials. Udemy is an incredibly diverse company, which brings together many different backgrounds and cultures.
The Best of the Best
There are other MOOC websites worth mentioning, but many of them source material from universities and other institutions. Udemy sets itself aside by using sources which are, in fact, its own in-house instructors. It offers original content, which can be a positive and negative thing. Because of this very unique approach to online education and e-learning, what is important to understand is that Udemy is not necessarily for everyone. It may not fit the needs of every student, and it may not fit the needs of every course instructor. Overall, as an online education platform, Udemy seems to be doing a lot of good for a lot of individuals, and helping to enrich the lives of its many users.
Udemy Ease of Use
Udemy is easy to use. It is very streamlined, and courses are divided into sections and lectures. Each course comes with a sidebar that lets you know just how far you have come, and what percentage of the course you have completed so far. The courses and lectures themselves can be in the form of audio, video, text, slideshow presentation, and mashups of all of the above. The more advanced courses even incorporate their video lectures with textbook studies. Courses are purchased for life. Once you buy a course, its material is accessible forever.
Course screens are uniformed. First, there is a landing page, also known as the course dashboard, where the various sections and relevant discussions are displayed. Announcements and other settings are changeable via this screen. Udemy is very customizable, which is a very big advantage. A user can rate the course, personalize email notifications, report a lecture or instructor, and communicate with fellow students who are studying the same material. In many cases, students can also contact the course instructor if they have any questions. Many instructors enjoy spending some time online, answering questions and refining course material.
Once inside a lecture page, there are several tabs on the right side of the screen. These can aid the user in his or her learning experience, and help the user get the most out of the lecture. The first tab shows the various lectures included in this specific course. The next tab displays a description of the current lecture. The following tab is a place where discussions can take place between the different users and the instructor, pertaining to the specific lecture. The last tab is a lecture-specific notepad which can be of great use to those who are interested in taking notes. While the notepad may not be too useful in very short lectures – some lecture are only a few minutes long – it certainly comes in handy when listening to lengthier ones, and it allows the user to retain important information.
There are many advantages to learning online. A place like Udemy allows a user to advance at a personal pace, using whatever device is most convenient, and at the end there is also the possibility of getting a certificate of completion – although it is not accredited by any official institution. Many students use Udemy to advance their personal lives and further their career.
Online Education is a Band-Aid
MOOCs, like Udemy, are not the answer to the world’s educational problems. Not everything can be taught long-distance, by use of the internet. Sometimes, you need more than a video to learn a skill. In some cases, you need the hands on experience – literally. Furthermore, some instructors don’t go in depth, and the courses they upload can be considered no more than tutorials of the case matter, rather than hard-hitting studies.
That being said, Udemy offers a rich educational experience, for both students and educators alike. Many skills having to do with technology and business can definitely help individuals who are seeking advancement in those skills. When it comes to topics such as those, there is nearly no end to what a user can achieve online, and this is precisely where websites such as Udemy really shine.
We Know It's Good, But What Doesn't it Have?
One thing which is lacking in the Udemy system is evaluation and assessment. There are several ways through which instructors can help students assess their progress, but they do not truly help a student evaluate his or her progress. A student needs only to click through the various lectures in order to complete the course. Even if there is a quiz or exam of some sort, it does not affect the student’s advancement in any way. A student who fails every single question has no problem in advancing to the next lecture or course.
Another thing which can be an advantage or disadvantage is the quality of courses. There are hundreds of new courses being added every month, which makes quality control very difficult. Although there are some quality standards which Udemy expects every instructor to uphold, the quality control team seems to rely heavily on student-generated comments and flags when it comes to weeding out any low quality instructors/courses.
A Tool for Teachers and Students Alike
As much as Udemy is a tool for learning, it is very much a tool for teaching. Instructors who are good at what they do, and who know how to market themselves, can find themselves making a pretty penny at the end of the month. Like it or not, Udemy is indeed a marketplace of education. Instructors are selling a product – themselves, along with their knowledge and expertise. Instructors need no formal education or credentials of any kind to begin teaching on Udemy. All they need is the means to create courses, and – ideally – a passion for the subject at hand. Instructors get to keep a certain amount of the student’s payment, depending on whether the purchase was made through an affiliate link, a third-party website, or through Udemy’s own website.
Not everyone is cut out to be an instructor on Udemy. For those who are, however, Udemy offers a very broad set of advanced tools that can help anyone construct a course. The website also offers guidelines and tips on building successful courses. Udemy does a lot in order to ensure that the content (along with its creator) are able to convey the information in the best possible way, so that both students and instructors can benefit from Udemy’s platform.
As was stated earlier, the instructor is the one who chooses how much to charge for the course. Many instructors begin by offering their courses for free, in order to get their foot in the door and gain some recognition. There are some instructors who have made considerable amounts of money working with Udemy, and some have even gone so far as to quit their day job in order to devote themselves completely to online education.
Even if an instructor doesn’t get to those kinds of numbers – and many of them don’t – it is still a very satisfying way to supplement income. Most of Udemy's instructors teach online while still holding on to their day jobs. It helps seasoned professionals gain more income, and helps beginning professionals to gain a reputation and make a name for themselves.
Back to College? Nope, Just Udemy
Udemy also has a business-oriented side to their website. Companies who are interested in giving their employees a
real edge – to drive them to acquire new skills, and improve the ones they already have – can use Udemy to their advantage, and open their employees up to newer, more sophisticated world of knowledge. Udemy is certainly a far-reaching platform, which is why it is considered one of the best e-learning websites around.
As with anything which exists online, Udemy is filled with good and bad quality. Some courses are amazing, while others are not as good (to say the least). Any user can become an instructor, which is part of what makes Udemy so unique. The ratings for courses are on a system of one to five stars. Nearly all courses are rated four or five stars, so depending on that rating system for evaluation is not recommended. Fortunately, there is a free trial available for any paid lecture, which provides the user with five free minutes, in which the user can explore the different videos and other types of lectures within the course. If you don’t like what you see, don’t purchase the course. It is that simple.
Udemy does allow many individuals to become instructors, but that does not necessarily mean that their standards are set low. Instructors in Udemy include company CEOs, niche celebrities, Ivy League professors, and even best-selling writers of all kinds.
Udemy Online Courses Guarantee
Student satisfaction is very important to the Udemy staff, which is why it offers a 30-day money back guarantee on every course offered. This is done to protect the students. If a student purchased the wrong course, or if the course was not what the student had in mind, they are entitled to ask for a refund within 30 days. However, Udemy is also obligated to protect its instructors. If, for instance, Udemy’s records show that the course’s content was downloaded, Udemy reserves the right to refuse a request for a refund. If a student requests multiple refunds within a certain timeframe, future refund requests may be rejected, and that student may even be suspended for abusing the refund system. This is done in order to protect the website, and its instructors, from cases of fraud. Furthermore, there are cases – such as mobile purchases or course bundles – in which the purchase is made through a third-party website (Google, Amazon, Apple, Etc.). In those cases, Udemy cannot process a refund, and instructs the student to get in touch with the relevant third-party website for a refund.
Udemy also has an ongoing blog, maintain by the website’s staff. The blog offers tutorials, introduction with senior management and staff members, and content geared towards students. The blog posts, much like the courses themselves, may be on any topic in the world. From which cat food to feed your pet, through introducing the basics of a computer or spoken language, to 15 romantic anniversary ideas. The posts on the Udemy blog encompass anything and everything. Every week, on Friday, there is a post titled “news roundup”, in which various news-worthy topics – not necessarily connected with Udemy – are discussed.
Wish Upon a Wish List
Udemy has promotional discounts and coupons, which can significantly reduce the costs of courses. Upon signing up to the website, there is a possibility of adding courses to a wish list. Some users choose to wait until a certain coupon or discount becomes available to them – during the holiday season, for example – and then take those wish list courses which may have been too costly.
Udemy does stand out due to its unique system, but even among its fellow e-learning rivals it always enjoys very favorable reviews. Udemy’s mission is “to help anyone learn anything”, and while they may be a long way from achieving this in full, they are making amazing progress with every passing month and with every new instructor that joins. Udemy is always looking for more expert instructors which can pass down their knowledge to others.
There is no one way to teach a classroom. This is true to regular learning, and it is also true to e-learning. Every student is different, and every instructor is different. Udemy encourages instructors to be innovative, and teach things differently. Some have said that Udemy is one of the closest things to a real classroom, even more so than other MOOC website content, which is sometimes taken from an actual classroom. It is about attitude towards education. That is what makes the difference, in Udemy’s opinion.
Udemy Just Keeps on Getting Better
To sum it all up – Udemy is an ever-growing world of knowledge and experience, in which anyone and everyone would love to get lost in. Whether you are interested in speaking a new language, learning a new skill, advancing your career, or simply advancing your personal self – Udemy is a great place to do it in. It is an open call for everyone to come and share information. It is one of the best places to share knowledge online. Ever since its inception, it has helped millions of students – and many thousands of instructors – discover a new passion.