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About Udemy / Udemy Review

Udemy is an e-learning platform for over 32,000 online courses where more than 8 million students are currently taking courses in everything from web designing to cooking to dance and much more. It allows experts from various fields to create and post courses using the Udemy-teach platform and subsequently earn from student fees. 18,000 instructors have posted their content till date in more than 80 languages world-wide.

The Udemy story started in 2007, when Udemy founder Eren Bali started building a live virtual classroom software while in turkey. The huge potential envisioned by him in making the product free of everyone motivated Bali to relocate to Silicon Valley two years later. Bali along with co-founders Oktay Caglar and Gagan Biyani launched the site in early 2010. The founders tried raising Venture Capital funding for their venture in February 2010, but the idea failed to interest the potential investors as they were rejected 30 times! As reported by co-founder Gagan Biyani.

This is a fairly common phenomenon in the world of Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups where the Angel investors and venture capitalists are unable to envision the possible worth of the product in the same way as the founders do. But real Entrepreneurs never stop at such road blocks and in response to this, they bootstrapped the product development phase and launched Udemy meaning the “Academy of you” in May 2010.

Within months 1000 instructors had created about 2000 courses, and Udemy now had nearly 10,000 registered users. This favorable market reaction prompted the founders to attempt another round of external financing and this time they raised $1 million in seed funding, which was significantly more than what they had originally sought to raise while their initial approach to investors just a few months earlier.

After that, the Udemy team never looked back as they raised $3 Million funding in Series A, $12 Million in Series B Funding and $32 Million in Series C Funding in 2014 through different Investors and venture capital organizations. On 22nd April 2014 Dennis Yang, the chief operating officer at the time was appointed as the new CEO, replacing Eren Bali, who remains chairman and head of product.

What is Udemy?

It is basically a global community of students and instructors who offer courses of different price ranges, some of which are free. The company stats go like this – 8 million students, 32000 courses, 18000 instructors, 80+ Languages.

Features:

  1. The course content is available for students in a combination of various file formats power point presentations, PDF’s, Audio, Video, Zip files and live classes.
  2. Instructors also have the option to engage with users via online discussion boards.
  3. The courses are available across varied categories including business and entrepreneurship, academics, arts, health and fitness, language, music and technology.
  4. Each course is claimed to be taught by an expert instructor and students have the option to learn at their own pace, their own time and on any device, be it android or apple.
  5. Udemy Teach: It is tool based for the instructors’ community of Udemy which has till date helped over 18000 instructors from 190 countries worldwide have an average instructor earning of $7000. It does not require you to have any prior teaching experience!
  6. State of art Tools: The instructors are provided with state of the art, free-to-use course design tools to help them create competent online course material worth charging.
  7. Multiple Device Support: The Udemy platform provides experts with the largest online learning market place and helps them deliver their course on any device at any time.
  8. Attractive Compensation: The “Course marketing” strategy varies from instructor-to-instructor. The explanation given by company is that instructor compensation from tuition varies based on who makes the marketing investment to attract students to Udemy. The Instructor earns 97% of all tuition revenues if his own reputation or marketing has attracted the student. The company retains 50% of the earnings if the student is attracted by the site’s own marketing or other coursework, and the instructor earns 25% of the tuition fee if the Udemy promotional affiliate program attracts the student to the site’s course. In that case, the affiliate earns 50% of the tuition fee, and the remaining 50% is shared between Udemy and the course instructor. The company states that 96% of instructors make sales, averaging $7000.
  9. Your Content, Your Rights: At the same time one major feature than had attracted a host of instructors to prefer Udemy over other online learning platforms is the “control and support” feature which allows the experts to own the rights to their content and shape their brand with complete control over their course. The instructors are able to collaborate and communicate with students at their own terms with course management tools. The 24X7 customer support and a vibrant, innovative instructor community really help new instructors learn the tools of the trade.
  10. Udemy for business: Udemy also offers Udemy for Business, enabling organizations access to a targeted suite of over 1,000 training courses on topics from digital marketing tactics to office productivity, design, management, programming, and more. With Udemy for Business, the organizations also have the ability to create custom learning portals for corporate training.

Udemy claims to have massive scalability options for both large scale and small scale business organizations. The major selling point here is the ready to use learning portal with nothing to install or configure. This has arguably helped many businesses to train their employees more efficiently than before. The easy to use, flexible, scalable and on the go feature of the platform make it a good fit for collaboration with other business organizations. The companies using Udemy for business like Oracle, Universal, PepsiCo, etc. proves this.

Udemy Pricing

Udemy offers paid and free courses, depending on the instructor. Most courses are priced between $29 – $99. At Udemy you would find courses with varying price ranges and it could be clearly confirmed that the course quality may not be directly related to its price as the list of top java courses contains a top course priced at $199 and another top course prices at $9 below it and even a free top course. So it could be safely assumed that the course pricing is more or less the instructor’s prerogative and not a direct reflection of the course quality.

Hence, it could well be concluded that Udemy has something to offer for everybody from a $300 course to a free course and course content of all types containing audio, video, and Zip files among others.

Also, like various e-commerce sites, the user is provided with a search filter at the left side panel of the web-page with filters like course pricing and course instructional level varying from beginner, intermediate, advanced and appropriate for all.

It is important to note that the paid courses on Udemy come with a 30 day money back guarantee, access from multiple platforms and unlimited life time access to provide the desired flexibility of pace and time to the user and the course expert. So should you face a problem, you can always ask for a full money back refund!

Udemy on the Web

Udemy on Facebook & Twitter: Udemy has considerable social media presence with more than 80k followers on twitter and over 7.5 lakh followers on the company’s official Facebook page.

Media Coverage: Apart from these two major social media platforms, the company profile has been featured in a variety of blogs, Tech-sites like TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.

Udemy has really risen to social prominence among the other top online learning mediums based on its significant social outreach and being extensively covered in media through various articles in prominent national dailies like The Times of India, Hindu, The Indian Express as well as a host of other magazines and media channels.

Udemy has been discussed in The New York Times, Fast Company, TechCrunch with Mashable noting that the company offers a real classroom like experience, and should prove to be a useful utility tool for teachers and students alike.

In 2014, Forbes named Udemy cofounder Eren Bali as part of their brightest stars in 15 different fields under 30 years of age.”

Their App Store(s) Presence: The Udemy mobile applications on both android and iOS platforms have really helped the company accelerate the expansion of its user base by enabling people to learn in a flexible manner from wherever they want and feel comfortable on their beloved smartphones, tablets and PDA’s. Apart from the main app, the company also offers individual apps for specific popular courses like Photoshop, Python and web-development.

In April of 2013, the company offered an Apple iOS app that allowed students to take classes directly from smartphones; The Android version was launched in January 2014. As of January 2014, the iOS app had been downloaded over 1 million times, and 20 percent of Udemy users access their courses via mobile. The android app is doing pretty well as well having been downloaded over 1 million times as of today.

Customer Base: Hence it could be concluded that Udemy definitely has an enormous customer base and social media presence and it could be clearly felt when you receive links offering free discount coupons on the courses offered by them.

Should You Try Udemy?

I would definitely recommend Udemy based on the user experience it offers. Any Udemy learner or instructor would confirm that one of the best feature the company offers like any other successful organization is user satisfaction and assurance. The course marketing support offered to course experts and the lifetime validity feature for students illustrate this point well. The learner community on Udemy has really appreciated the course content provided to them, even for free many a times. The content quality is definitely maintained and assured with an in depth coverage of all topics for students from various backgrounds and skill levels. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced expert, you would find the course content extremely illustrative, user friendly and in depth which would really help someone willing add a new skill to their profile or gain expertise in their field of interest.

Another major feature that would compel you to give it a shot is the discussion forum and the doubt clearing sessions with the instructor. As the company tries to emulate and better the real world teaching experience, one would expect them to involve some sort of doubt clearing scheme however good the course content. And from user feedback, we can safely say that they have done it well and the ease of deployment and flexibility along with 24X7 availability have encouraged a lot of institutes and even large scale organizations to include the Udemy courses in their training curriculum. Although no official university accredited credit based program is available on the site as of today.

Udemy has recently been rated as one of the top e-learning platforms by cloudswave. Udemy reviews have an amazing score of 72 over 100 on the cloudswave score for the year 2015 and have ranked it among the best e-learning platforms available online.

Udemy is also part of the growing MOOC movement available outside the traditional university system, and has been noted for the variety of courses offered. An online MBA program has been developed by noted businessman Jack Welch, offered by the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) at Strayer University, which has acquired the JWMI assets in November 2011. Udemy has became the MOOC platform for the institute’s Welch Way course ware in 2012, and promoted the Jack Welch connection.

Udemy Alternatives

CourseEra

it is a for profit venture in educational technology that offers massive online courses that are open to all. They work with top universities and organizations to make some of their content available on line and provide courses in physics, maths, engineering, humanity, medicine, etc.

Lynda

It is a web based education company that offers a plethora of online video based courses in software, business skills and creative arts. I was founded in 1995 as the company started producing video tutorials as taught by experts in the industry. Linked announced its purchase of Lynda.com on April 9, 2015 for an estimated $1.5 billion. The Carpentaria, California based company has more than 500 employees worldwide and offers instructions in English, French, German and Spanish through its video2brain brand division.

ChalkStreet

It is a Bengaluru based startup presently 12 members strong. They have gained an incredible 5000 users in the first two weeks of its launch amongst which 600 users have taken more than one online course. The company plans to come out of the beta version soon and add new courses each week in an attempt to scale up fast, as they look to give sites like Udemy some Indian competition. Their vision is to be a platform where everyone can learn anything they want at their own time as comfortable. Currently they have both free and paid courses and look to discover best teachers across the country to develop Indian context specific content. Similar to Udemy, chalkstreet takes a share of the course revenue but the author can pocket up to 90 percentage of the revenue if self-marketed.

Udacity

It is a for profit organization that was founded by Sebastian Thrun, Mike Sokolsky and David Stavens which offers massive open online courses(MOOCs). The company’s name takes its origin from the company’s motto and desire to be audacious for the student. The original focus on offering university style courses has now shifted to offering vocational courses for professionals.

EdX

The site has considerable online presence as it offers university level courses in a variety of disciplines to a worldwide student community. The site offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) some of which are also provided free of cost. The company conducts extensive usability research into its user base to understand how people use their platform. EdX differs from other course providers offering MOOCs such as Udacity and CourseEra in a major way as it is an open source software based non-profit organization. Harvard University in association with MIT created this platform in 2012, with more than 70 non-profit organizations, schools and corporations offer plan to offer courses on the company’s site. They have more than 4 million students taking about 500 courses online as of now

Codecademy

It is an e learning platform that differs itself from others and stands out in a way that it is interactive and real time result oriented. They offer free coding classed with simultaneous practice in a variety of web development and scripting languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and Angular JS, Ruby. At the same time courses in languages such as Java have also been recently started. They also offer important utility courses like command line, Git and SQL the prominent database query language course that was added in collaboration with Periscope. The site has over 24 million users as of January 2014 who have completed more than 100 million exercises offered inside the programs. There are a lot of positive reviews around of Codecademy in blogs and websites including the New York Times and TechCrunch. Each user can create their own account in an easy chain of steps and user friendly interface. They also like to motivate their users by offering feedback, badges and other similar features such as maximum day streaks. It is possible for anyone to create and publish new course using their course creator tool.