With the recent Covid-19 pandemic forcing many indoors, it’s never been a better time to try learning a new skill. Thankfully there are a wealth of online course providers out there, of which Udemy is undoubtedly one of the most popular. Boasting over 150,000 courses in fields such as coding, marketing, photography, music and many more; you’re almost certain to find something you’re interested in. But how does it compete with the likes of Teachable or Coursera?
Udemy has a number of features which differentiate it from other online learning platforms. These include:
- A Fully Open Platform for Instructors
As we said above, Udemy has an enormous number of courses in a staggeringly diverse range of subjects. One of the key reasons for this is that Udemy allows anyone to post a course in any subject they feel they’re an expert in. Of course, this ‘crowd-sourced’ approach to disseminating knowledge can be a bit of a double-edged sword, as we’ll see below, but where else could you find courses like Clown for Fun and Profit: Learning the Art of Clowning alongside the usual WordPress and Python tutorials?
Each Udemy course is divided into individual lectures, which are then subdivided into easily digestible small videoclips. These clips include some nice interactive features, including adjustable playback speed, closed captioning and a five-second skip button. There’s also a Q&A feature beneath the video, in which you can run anything you’re not sure of past your instructor (or fellow students).
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
One handy feature that marks Udemy out from the pack is its generous 30-day Money Back Guarantee, which reduces some of the risk you take splashing money out on a course that may or not enhance your clowning abilities. Although the offer comes with the usual caveats (e.g you can’t claim too many refunds back), it certainly helps make choosing a course easier knowing you can back out cost-free.
Plans and Pricing
For private users, prices for individual courses are set by the instructors. Therefore they can range in price from absolutely free to up to US$199.99. Udemy also runs frequent discounts on some popular courses – for example, a quick glimpse at the homepage currently reveals a few courses going for a knock-down rate of $10 (compared to the usual $100 to $120).
For businesses, Udemy offer two pricing plans providing easy access to over 5000 highly-rated courses, entitled the Team and Enterprise plans:
The two plans break down as follows:
- $360 per year (plus taxes)
- 5 – 20 Users
- Branded Dashboard & Custom URL
- IOS/Android App for offline viewing
- Individual User Analytics
- 24/7 Customert Support
- Price Negotiable
- 21 or More Users
- Everything Available with Team Plan, plus:
- Custom Content Hosting
- Customized Learning Paths
- Custom Categories
- International Collection: Courses in French, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portugese and Japanese.
- Custom User Groups and Group Management
- Advanced Analytics
- Dedicated ‘Customer Success Partner‘
Huge Range of Classes
It’s worth repeating the fact that Udemy does indeed have a mighty collection of courses available, so you’re almost certain to find yourself covered no matter how niche your chosen subject is. And with the 30-day Money Back Guarantee offer, you don’t have to stress about taking a gamble on a course on something a little outside the norm.
Good Quality Audio-Visuals
Udemy’s video content is crisp and clear, with high-quality visuals and easy-to-understand audio. This avoids the frustrating trap some online course providers fall into of forcing users to squint through stuttery, pixellated video footage to pick out the juicy details. Course navigation is also intuitive and easy enough for even beginners to pick up.
Great for Self-Paced Learning
Udemy suits itself well to those with the desire to learn a new skill in whatever free time they can eke out here and there. The videos are presented in easily-digestible chunks, and you get lifetime access to all the content for any course you sign up for.
Literally Anyone Can Make a Course
And here’s the snag to that big range of courses we highlighted above. As literally anyone can declare themselves an expert in the field they’re teaching, the general standard of courses (with a few exceptions) is lower than the likes of Coursera, with few university-level experts lending their expertise. The hit-and-miss nature of some of these courses isn’t helped by the:
Confusing Review System
One thing you’ll notice immediately as you scan Udemy’s available courses is that it’s rare for anything to rank under 3 stars. Are all of Udemy’s courses inimpeachable genius, then? Almost certainly not, but with such a tricksy review system it can be hard to differentiate between the good and the bad.
No Personal Subscription Service
While Udemy provides some great (if pricey) subscription services for businesses, it can be a bit tedious for frequent individual users to have to sign up for a new course every time something catches their interest. Providing a similar subscription service for individual users would go some way to easing that, but currently Udemy isn’t offering anything.
Udemy is the jack-of-all-trades of online learning services, with courses in just about every subject. However, there’s a fair bit more quantity than quality out there, and the confusing review system can make it a little difficult to differentiate between the two. That being said, the subscription services for businesses and the 30-day Money Back Guarantee take some of the risk out of gambling on a new course.