Udemy Review: What is Udemy? Is Udemy Worth it?

Udemy Review:  What is Udemy?

is-udemy-worth-itUdemy.com is the world’s largest online learning platform. It is aimed at professional adults and continuing students.  Udemy is one of the most popular and well-known online learning platforms. But with such notoriety, people seem to have conflicting opinions about the site.  They either love it, or hate it.  This Udemy Review looks at what Udemy is – and is Udemy worth it?

Udemy, first and foremost, is an educational platform. It was developed to provide a learning opportunity for people online that might not otherwise have the means.  Let’s face it, we can’t all stop what we are doing to attend a class about Photoshop.  But this is entirely possible through online learning and Udemy.  Founded in 2010, it is the largest e-learning platform today. Udemy claims there are more than 30 million students enrolled in hundreds and thousands of courses.

Udemy Review – for Students

If you’re a student, you can go to Udemy, register, pick a course and start learning. There’s a wide variety of courses to choose from.  Some are even free, or with a nominal charge.

Udemy Review – for Instructors

If you are an Educator, you can create an instructor profile and upload your courses on to the platform. Every time a student purchases your course, you earn a portion of the revenue, which is paid out monthly via PayPal or Payoneer.

There are other online course providers like eDx and Coursera, that offer courses created by universities and educational institutions. However, Udemy does not limit their offerings to just educational institutions.  In fact, anyone can create and sell a course on Udemy – maybe, even you!

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How Much Does Udemy Cost For Its Courses?

is-udemy-legitList prices for courses range from $9 to $300.  However, the reality is that 90% of sales occur with a coupon code, and at a price less than $50.  Udemy has been known to almost constantly offer huge discounts for their courses. In fact, it is very common for them to run promotions offering 80%-90% off for their courses. During these discounts you can get courses for as low as $10. This makes Udemy extremely affordable.

The company acknowledges that the majority of Udemy students never pay full price for a course. Grégory Boutté, the VP of Content at Udemy had this to say about the current pricing model:

“Today, prices are inconsistent and complicated for students. List prices range from $9 to $300, but the reality is that 90% of sales occur with a coupon code, and at a price less than $50.”

Since its inception, Udemy has been notorious for running promotions with large discounts on their courses. In fact, they commonly promote courses at 90% off to their database of customers. In doing so, they’ve essentially conditioned their customers to never pay full price for a course. Instead of paying full price, most customers simply wait to receive an email with a promotion before making a purchase.

Why Should You Use Udemy?

Udemy is one of, if not THE most affordable online learning platform. Why should people consider using Udemy in the first place?  Well, there are a number of good reasons:

  • Flexibility – Work, family, degree—it’s all possible by setting your own learning schedule.
  • Convenience – Study on your own time schedule – with no commute.  Online courses give students the opportunity to plan study time around the rest of their day, instead of the other way around. Students can study and work at their convenience. Course material is always accessible online, making special library trips unnecessary. All of these benefits help students balance work and family commitments with their education.
  • Career Advancement – Stay Current in your Field or get ahead.  If you want to update your knowledge, you can take courses to refresh your core basics or branch out into other disciplines.  For example, If you work in Sales and Marketing, then you can take courses on Machine Learning, Organizational Management or even Artificial Intelligence.
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities – Looking to make money online and don’t know where to start?  No problem, browse categories like website design, affiliate marketing for beginners, and WordPress 101.
  • Variety of programs and courses – No matter what you want to study, from programming to photography to photoshop – you can find courses that address most any subject.
  • Developing Hobbies – If you want to learn something just as a hobby then Udemy is ideal for you. You can choose anything like – Yoga, Dancing, Playing Piano, etc. You actually get professional guidance through these courses throughout the tutorials and videos.
  • Learning on a Budget – If you are on a budget, Udemy is the way to go. Remember those discounts and coupons?  Discount offers are constantly running, so you can get courses at as low as $10.
  • Learn On Your Own – If you fall into the category of people who like to learn by themselves and at their own pace, this is for you. You can get all the material and lessons up front, and then progress at your own pace.

Udemy for Business

Udemy for Business is a new learning platform where business organizations can address workforce learning challenges. The platform was built for businesses looking to provide continuing education for their workers. According to the company’s website:

“Udemy for Business offers relevant, engaging learning content anytime, anywhere. With over 2000+ high-quality courses taught by the world’s leading experts and real-world practitioners, we have content ranging from programming and design to marketing and stress management. In addition to the extensive content collection, Udemy for Business enables organizations to easily and securely assemble and distribute proprietary content in one central place – a customized learning portal.”

Udemy for Business – What is the cost?

The Udemy for Business Team Plan is priced as an annual subscription at $240 (in USD) per person per year and payment is due in full, upfront. A minimum of 5 users is required for purchase.

How Much Money Do Udemy Instructors Make?

There is no fee to create and host a course on Udemy, and you can publish as many free and paid courses as you like. Udemy looks to have created a sustainable partnership.  Instructors are rewarded for creating great content and bringing students to the platform.  Udemy is rewarded for driving new students to their instructors and courses.

How much do instructors make?  Like most things in life, it is impoossible to know know for sure what you will earn as a Udemy instructor.  It depends on many factors – like how popular your course turns out to be, how many students register, etc.  However, the driving factor for earnings is determined by which revenue sharing option an instructor chooses to participate.

Udemy Instructor Revenue Sharing Options

  • Udemy Organic Commission 50% revenue share on organic Udemy sales where no Instructor Coupon is used. If you do not opt-in to Udemy’s marketing and promotional schemes, you are reliant on Udemy organic traffic to drive sales.  Udemy and the instructor share equally on these sales.  Organic sales typically occur after a user browses the Udemy marketplace for courses, or makes a purchase via a Udemy promotion.
  • Udemy Deals –  If you opt into the Udemy deals program, it allows Udemy to promote your course at discounts up to 75% off the listed price – as low as $10.  The instructors receive typically 50% of the sale.
  • Udemy affiliates  – If you sell a course through Udemy’s affiliates program, you receive typically (but not always) 25% of the sale.  Udemy Affiliates is a Paid User Acquisition promotion. In order to optimize sales, they partner with affiliates across global networks.  Additionally, they pay for advertising and promotion for your course.  Depending on the partner or the costs of the advertising, the revenue share may vary but will be 25% in most cases. The remaining 75% is set aside to pay for advertising costs and/or partner payouts to help acquire new users.
  • Instructor Promotion CouponsIf a student purchases your course with a Coupon that you have sent out, you get 97% of the sale.  There is a 3-4% processing fee, but sales made by instructors where the student purchases the course using an Instructor’s coupon or course referral link allows the instructor to keep a whopping 96-97% of the revenue.  There is a 3% administrative processing fee, 4% in the territory of Japan.

Thus, much of your Udemy earnings potential has to do with how you choose to have your course promoted on Udemy. As with any business it is a volume vs. price trade-off.   The more active you are in directly promoting your course through coupons, the more revenue you can keep (up to 97%).  The more you rely on Udemy to advertize and promote your course, the less you keep (typically 25%).

Is Udemy Accredited?

Udemy does not offer courses accredited by educational institutions. Some other online course providers such as as eDx and Coursera do.  If your goal is to add such an accreditation to your resumé, you may wish to consider some alternative online training options.  If you are looking for actual knowledge – at a bargain price, then Udemy is certainly worth a look.

Udemy Certificates of Completion – Are They Legit?

Udemy certificates are not recognizable by employers. The problem with Udemy is that they’re not considered an accredited institution, which means courses will not count toward college credit or even continuing education units (CEUs).  Moreover, because Udemy enables content creators to sell for profit, most of the online instructors are not fully qualified. This doesn’t mean the courses are not worthwhile.  A rating system provides insight as to how beneficial courses are for students.

Udemy Review – Is it Easy to Use?

is-udemy-legitStart by taking a look at the Udemy landing page.  This is the website that you would encounter through a Google search or typing udemy.com into your web browser. The page itself is pretty straightforward – you will see a promotional banner, a list of courses and some user reviews at the bottom of the page. The layout itself is ok – it doesn’t make you feel lost and confused.

The course page interface allows you to choose a category or subcategory from a drop-down menu, or enter keywords into a search bar. Once you find a course that you’d like to consider, you can go to the designated page for that course and check out – a preview video, course requirements, a description, user reviews, etc.   The checkout process is also intuitive and familiar.  You simply add the course into your cart, sign in (if you don’t have an account – register), choose a payment method and… Start learning!

Overall, Udemy offers a pretty standard experience when it comes to the actual navigation on the site.

Is Udemy Worth It?

Udemy potentially provides good value – if learning a new skill conveniently and at your own pace is the objective.  Udemy is a very cost-effective learning platform. Though the certificate is not accredited, there are many other attractive features to consider with Udemy:

  • Low-Cost Courses – Udemy is financially accessible when it comes to learning. The prices on Udemy range from $10 – $300, but 90% of sales occur with a coupon code, and at a price less than $50.
  • Lifetime Access – Once you purchase a course, you will are given lifetime to the course in your personal archives. This includes any additions or updates the instructor may upload in the future.  Once you enroll in any course, you can go back and refresh or repeat the lessons – forever.
  • Discounts & Promotions – There are always promotions and discounts available on Udemy.  The organization itself admits that 90% of sales occur at a discount using a coupon code, and at a price less than $50.  If one is diligent and patient, even the most expensive courses can be obtained at a discount – for as low as $10.
  • Reviews and Feedback – Udemy prominently displays other student’s feedback. The course content display and preview lessons are designed to help you analyze the course before you invest in it. The feedback and review system is designed to reveal how many students have taken a course and whether thay thought the course was worth it or not.
  • Money Back Guarantee – If you enroll in a course and decide you don’t like it, you can get your money back. Udemy offers 30-day money back guarantee to its students.  I have personally enrolled in Udemy courses where I thought the content was not quite what was advertised.  I was promptly given a full refund.

Udemy Reviews

Udemy Review: Negative, 1-Star* 

“I’ve used Udemy for two or three years, and feel most of their products are good. However, they recently deleted access to one of my courses because the course did not meet their requirements. Okay, no big deal- give me a refund, right? I had originally bought the course with a credit card I no longer use or have, and that was the ONLY way they wanted to refund money. What about just another course? No, they would not do that. What about refund to PayPal, Visa gift card, or old school check? No! They kept telling me to contact my financial institution. I can’t do that, I told them. I no longer have that info.

Response- We can’t give you credit or a check- we can’t afford to do that for the number of students we have. Sooooo- I bought a course with lifetime access and Udemy won’t honor that, nor will they find me a way to get my money back. Customer service is non-existent. Just know that if you spend your money with Udemy, you are taking a chance. I would suggest not spending a lot so if your course gets pulled, you won’t be out a lot of money.” Natalie, July 2019, Verified Reviewer Consumer Affairs

Udemy Review: Negative, Two-Star**

“Course content might be very good but what is the use if you have to wait forever and ever for videos to stream. I always come up with lot of interest to learn in Udemy, but end up losing patience because of their video loading issues, even though I am working with high speed internet. When I raised a concern regarding this, Udemy replied saying it is something to do with my internet speed. I have even checked playing videos in YouTube whenever I face video streaming issue with Udemy, but YouTube works totally fine, so there is no internet issue.”  Dee, July 2019, Verified Reviewer – Consumer Affairs

Udemy Review: So-so, Three-Star*** 

“I have been very satisfied overall with course content on Udemy. Some instructors are simply outstanding. However, the platform on iOS devices is EXTREMELY buggy and inconsistent. I have always had problems with streaming content on iPad iOS 12 on 150 Gb connection. Should be no excuse. Udemy really needs to get it together. The instructors I have had contact with are equally frustrated and will likely start bailing in droves.”  Skip, March 2019, Verified Reviewer – Consumer Affairs

Udemy Review:  Positive, Four-Star****

“I only bought two courses so far and am halfway through one of them. So far everything is working great. The instructor is good, the material is useful and most importantly I am progressing quickly. For this particular course, the value was very good (looking at money spent per hour of content) and I will probably buy other courses in the future. What I don’t like are the ludicrous “90% Off” discounts on what I hope are completely overblown list prices. In addition they try to push you to buy with the common “only X hours left” stuff. Just put the real prices and maybe do a real 10% sale from time to time.”  Michael, Feb 2019, Verified Reviewer – Consumer Affairs

Udemy Review: Positive, Five-Star*****

“I’ve bought three courses so far: Modern Python Bootcamp and SQL Bootcamp by Colt Steele as well as Python for Data Science and Machine learning by Jose Portilla. These 3 courses are incredibly detailed, beautifully made, and amazing for a beginner like myself. I got them all for about $10 each. These courses are worth a lot more than that for the amount of quality content and over 20 hours of video. I’m surprised these guys release their content this cheap every now and then. Nevertheless, bottomline, I can speak for these instructors and their content. They are professionals and excellent teachers. I’m 100% satisfied with my purchase and feel lucky I found these guys’ courses.” Jory, Feb 2019, Verified Reviewer – Consumer Affairs

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Udemy Review – Conclusion

While it’s not a perfect platform, there’s a lot to like about it.

What I Like about Udemy

  • The variety of courses is amazing. No other online course platform comes close to offering as many courses on as many subjects.
  • You can find good courses on topics ranging from dog training, to applying makeup, to video editing.
  • The course software is good. The lesson player and course navigation are smooth and intuitive.
  • You can take courses at your own pace. On platforms like edX, you have to wait for an enrollment period if there’s a particular course you’d like to take. On Udemy, there’s no rush or deadlines to complete the course, and you have lifetime access to it.

Naturally, it would be almost impossible to check all of the courses on the platform to find out is Udemy worth it or is Udemy good. However, there’s an important point to take into consideration – the courses on Udemy are (mostly) marketed by the instructors themselves. No instructor is going to talk bad about his or her course.  They would all have you believe that their lessons are the best in the world.

What I don’t Like about Udemy

What I don’t like are the constant 90% Off discounts on what might actually be completely overblown list prices. A better solution would be to make 90% off the actual list price.  End of story…

Also, the review system can be misleading.  You see a course rated 4.8 out of 5 and reasonably think it must be a great course. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.  The reason for this goes back to the extreme discounts.  If I’m writing a review for a product I paid $10 for, I’m going to have very different expectations than if I paid $200 for it.

While reviews are useful for filtering out the obviously bad courses, they don’t seem to be accurate when it comes to highly rated courses.  Udemy has a rating & review system and hence you can read what other students have to say about that course and make your purchase accordingly.  The review system is really the only way available to gauge how good a course is.

Udemy courses are reviewed much like products on Amazon.  Five stars are the best and one star is, um…not so good.  Is it a perfect system?  Of course not, but with hundreds of reviews listed you can get a pretty good idea if the course is popular and provides value.  A review system can be influenced in subtle ways, but it is pretty difficult to completely manipulate.

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