Online courses are an increasingly great way to learn. With more people opting to learn new things from the comfort of their homes, more and more online course marketplaces are popping up to meet that demand.
Udemy is one of those marketplaces that serves the needs of students while also giving content creators a platform to sell their courses.
In this review, we will look at what Udemy offers to help you decide whether or not it’s a good investment for your time and money.
What Is Udemy?
Udemy is an American-owned online teaching and learning marketplace, currently offering more than 100,000 courses to its over 50 million students. It also boasts a collection of 57,000 instructors offering courses in more than 65 languages.
Founded in May 2010, it has grown to become one of the largest educational producers of “how-to” materials. Many of its courses focus on job-related skills, but it also offers a wide variety of other skills.
Its main intention during its inception stage was to provide a way for people to learn new skills on their own time and at their own pace.
Most of its courses start at $9.99, but Udemy also has a collection of courses that are free, covering a wide variety of subjects.
Is Udemy Any Good?
Udemy can be a great resource for anyone who wants to learn online from home. To give you a better feel of whether or not Udemy’s courses are a worthy investment for you, let’s take a look at several factors.
In terms of content, because different instructors create courses on Udemy, it would be reasonable to expect the quality of the content to vary greatly.
For example, I tried the free course “The Art of Baking,” and found the audio quality was good and the lessons seemed comprehensive.
I also liked the fact that you could bookmark certain sections in the video. It also comes with a feature to determine the playback speed that you prefer.
The courses include different aspects to engage the students, such as quizzes and extra resources like PDFs. I feel like this really adds to the value of the course.
At the moment, the company does not seem to have clear-cut quality control guidelines, so it seems that it’s not possible to generalize the quality of all the content on the site. However, you can read all of the reviews for a course before buying it, which can help you to make an informed purchase (much like any purchase you’d make from Amazon or other online retailers).
One potential downside to Udemy is that, for the free courses, you really end up learning all on your own.
Unlike other online learning platforms where you get to post your comments on a community board or comment box, allowing you to interact with other learners, the free courses don’t have this feature.
The paid courses do come with a Q&A portion where you can ask questions about the course. The instructors then post their answers, and you can also respond to other students’ comments.
There is a “Follow Replies” feature that lets you prioritize the questions and responses you want to monitor. When an instructor or fellow student posts a response to that question, you will get a notification.
First, let’s look at the home page. The first thing you will see is a page that shows a list of courses with user reviews at the bottom. This makes it very easy to navigate.
From there, you can use the drop-down menu to pick your desired category, or you can do a direct search by typing your desired topic into the search box. This makes it very convenient to find the courses that you want.
When you find a course you’re interested in, you will find a preview video, the course description, course requirements, and user reviews. This helps you decide if you want to start that course or not.
Once you sign up for a course, you will find the first lesson video with a list of the course content on the right. When you finish a video, it automatically gets a checkmark to mark it as completed.
You can use the content list on the right to move to specific lessons within the course, or simply to check your progress.
Are Udemy Courses Legitimate?
One question that many prospective students ask is whether or not Udemy courses legitimate. Thankfully, the company has received good comments from trusted sources like Mashable and Forbes. Household-name companies are also known for using Udemy to train their staff.
As an online course marketplace, Udemy definitely has a large selection of courses that are worth the price. However, because anyone can create courses on Udemy, this question can be difficult to generalize.
If you find courses created by true experts in their field, well and good. But if you happen to choose a course created by someone who doesn’t really know what they’re talking about, then you’ll be tempted to question the legitimacy of Udemy.
One of the most common complaints about Udemy is that some students post questions on the Q&A and never receive a response. This of course depends on the availability and engagement level of the instructor.
Try as they might, the staff at Udemy will likely not be able to answer all the student questions themselves, and they’re most likely not experts in every field.
Is Udemy Accredited?
When you purchase a course, you get lifetime access, downloadable content if available, and a completion certificate.
However, it’s difficult to determine just what value this certificate has, especially in terms of career aspirations. If anything, it can at least serve as proof of whatever courses you’ve finished and skills you’ve acquired.
At the time of this writing, Udemy does not offer courses that are officially accredited by educational institutions.
Other online course marketplaces, such as Coursera and edX, do have this advantage partly because of their partnership with these institutions.
Udemy for Instructors
If you are an instructor looking for a platform for your online courses, Udemy is also a great place to start. It’s free to create courses and sell them on Udemy using a revenue share model.
Since the platform is a course marketplace, you will not have to market your course as much as when you put it up on other platforms like Teachable or Thinkific. It also offers a Marketplace Insights tool, which provides reports on search volume, student demand, and potential revenue, which helps you decide which kind of course to offer.
A standard Udemy course should have at least 30 minutes of video and a minimum of 5 learning modules or lectures. You can also easily add other teaching materials like quizzes and assignments.
Is Udemy Worth It?
If you are a learner looking for value in online courses, I would say a resounding ‘Yes’ for Udemy. Of course, you have to make the call yourself as to how much you think a certain course is worth paying for.
If you’re an instructor, Udemy could be a good way to get started teaching online courses, but as you build traction, you may want to consider other options that offer a bigger cut of the revenue, such as Teachable or Thinkific.
Use the reviews to see whether a course delivers what it promises. Some bloggers wonder about fake reviews on Udemy, so checking as many reviews as possible may give you a clearer picture.
From experience, I’d say that courses offered for $20 or less are generally worth it in terms of value for your money.
But for anything higher than that, I would recommend searching for that course elsewhere at a lower price point. With the influx of information nowadays, you will likely find more affordable alternatives at other course marketplaces, including free videos on YouTube.
Online Learning with Udemy
Take note that you look at the courses simply as a way to learn. Since the certifications are not really considered official qualifications, they will do well just to serve as your souvenirs from the courses you’ve finished. As such, do not take their value into account when you consider paying upfront for a course.
Lastly, when you sign up for a course, it’s up to you to commit to it and see it through. Make sure you get your money’s worth by scheduling it into your week and not letting it just go down the drain!
Have you ever tried a Udemy course? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.