Udemy Review: Online Learning Platform for Students & Teachers
There can be no denying that the future of education and self-development is likely to be dominated by the online sector. In fact, even universities are now offering core degree courses via distance learning. As such, it comes as no surprise to discover that online academies like Udemy are now home to tens of millions of students.
For those unaware, Udemy is an online course platform that matches learners and educators. Whether you’re looking to build and sell a course or take a course as a student, the platform is well worth considering.
In our in-depth Udemy review, we cover everything you need to know about the online academy. This includes key metrics from the perspective of both course providers and students, subsequently allowing you to make an informed decision prior to signing up.
What is Udemy?
Launched in 2009, Udemy is an online platform that matches course providers with students. More specifically, courses at the platform can be created by anyone. As such, whether you’re a seasoned accountant, WordPress developer, or a mathematician – you can market your skills to a global audience.
To highlight just how popular Udemy has become since its inception a mere 11 years ago, the platform has since attracted over 50 million students. This translates into over 150,000 courses, and more than 295 million course enrollments. In terms of those behind the courses, Udemy claims that it has hosted more than 57,000 instructors.
It is important to note that Udemy is not reserved just for those speaking English as a first language. On the contrary, the platform now hosts courses in more than 65 different languages. All in all, these figures demonstrate that Udemy is the go-to platform for online learning.
Udemy Courses – Are you a Course Creator or Student?
As this review is aimed at both course creators and students, it’s best that we initially split the two perspectives so you can ascertain whether or not the platform is right for you.
Udemy Students – The Basics
At one end of the Udemy spectrum, you might be here reading this review because you are looking to develop some new skills. Crucially, Udemy is as good as it gets in the online space for learning subjects you are interested in, as the platform hosts over 150,000+ courses.
While listing each and every topic is beyond the remit of this review, rest assured that in all likelihood, you’ll find a course creator that offers what you are looking for.
To get the ball rolling, you simply need to search for the course you are interested in taking. For example, let’s say that you want to learn about blockchain technology. By searching for ‘blockchain’, you will be presented with well over 1,000 individual courses.
This includes everything from an entry-level course on the basics of blockchain technology, how to trade cryptocurrencies, and a fully-fledged program on learning Solidity. Once you find a course that you are interested in taking, you simply need to add it to your basket and make a payment.
Then, you can take as long as you wish to go through each module, as Udemy courses remain active for a lifetime.
Choosing a Course
With so many individual courses at Udemy – many of which aim to teach the same thing, you might be wondering how the platform separates the wheat from the chaff?
After all, with more than 150,000 individual courses hosted at the site, Udemy does not have the resources to pre-vet each and every offering. The good news is that Udemy is not required to rate courses itself, as this role is reserved for past and existing students.
In fact, the rating system operates much in the same way as an eBay seller, insofar that those buying goods and services have the chance to give feedback on the item. As such, unless a course has just been launched at the platform, you should have a good amount of feedback to draw from.
For example, let’s stick with our search for ‘blockchain’, which we then narrowed down to ‘Solidity’. In doing so, we are presented with 29 different courses. As such, the logical thing to do is sort the results by the course’s rating.
This leads us to a course named ‘Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer’s Guide’ by Stephen Gride. In total, the course ranks an impressive 4.5/5 across just under 10,000 individual reviews. What we can also see is that the course lasts for 24 hours in total, across 250 lectures.
Exploring a Course Before Payment
Once you have clicked on a course that you like the look of, you then get the chance to explore what the program consists of. At the forefront of this is a breakdown of [A] what you will learn and [B] what modules you will need to go through to complete the course.
What we really like is that you get to preview some of the individual modules in video format. In doing so, this gives you a full birds-eye view of whether or not the course is right for you. Ultimately, we all learn in different ways, so it’s always nice to see and hear how the content creators strive to get their information across.
How Much do Udemy Courses Cost
On the one hand, courses at Udemy can range from $0, right up to $100 or more. However, in the vast majority of cases, we find that courses sit within the $10-$30 range.
Regardless of what course you are taking, it is somewhat uncanny just how many programs are discounted by 85% or more. We would assume that Udemy does this to show that the courses are worth much more than they are selling for. With that said, value derives from the ratings and feedback that past or current students leave.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that at an average range of $10-$30, a lot of courses at Udemy offer tremendous value. As per the Solidity course that we briefly discussed earlier, you are paying $15 for more than 250 lectures, across 24 hours of high-level content.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
An additional protection that you have when buying a course at Udemy is the platform’s 30-day money-back guarantee. Irrespective of the reason, Udemy will give you a full refund if you feel that the course did not meet your expectations. This remains constant across each and every course at the site.
Post-Course Credit and Recognition
On the one hand, it is entirely feasible to learn a skill or subject area significantly faster than you would at a traditional academic institution.
For example, while a traditional Bachelor’s degree in accounting would take you 3 or 4 years, it’s possible to learn the same amount of information in at least half the time. This is because you can condense as much material as you can handle. In other words, while University students typically get 3-4 months worth of leave per academic year, you could be utilizing this time by studying additional courses at Udemy.
On the other hand, it is important to note that your Udemy courses will not be recognized in the same light as a university-based degree. While this might not necessarily hinder your chances of monetizing your new found skill, it’s important to bear in mind.
So now that we have covered the basics of what Udemy offers to those looking to learn a new skill, in the next section of our review we are going to focus on content creators.
Udemy Course Creators – The Basics
In a nutshell, if you have a skill that you think other people would pay to learn – then Udemy is right for you. For example, let’s say that you have been building WordPress websites for a number of years. While you don’t have any qualifications per-say, you feel that you know the platform like the back of your hand. As such, Udemy gives you the opportunity to build a course and sell it on their website.
In the vast majority of cases, Udemy courses consist of videos that are accompanied by extracurricular activities. For example, the course might ask you to complete a task before moving on to the next module. Each module typically lasts between 5-15 minutes – depending on the complexity of the topic.
Most modules will ask you to take a quiz of some sort to ensure you understand the material. As we discuss in more detail later, one of the main advantages of building a course through Udemy is that the design process is tailored to beginners.
This means that you are not required to have any skills or knowledge in building courses, as Udemy guides you through the entire process in a simple step-by-step manner. As such, you get to focus on the skill you are actually looking to market.
Building Your Course
As noted in the section above, Udemy wants its course creators to focus on what they know best – the skill they are looking to teach. As a result, the platform makes it a seamless process when building your course from scratch.
Your first port of call should be to load up the step-by-step video series that Udemy offers. This breaks down the entire end-to-end process of what it takes to build a course.
Somewhat ironically, you will also find courses at Udemy on how to build a course on Udemy. The platform itself offers its own version for free, while other content creators have launched their own paid-for alternatives. Either way, you have all of the information you need at Udemy to get started with a course straightaway.
What we also like is that Udemy gives you assistance on the technicals. This includes everything from getting your camera and lighting right, to downloading and installing screencasting software.
Udemy also gives you the option of getting your course reviewed by one of its team. This won’t cost you anything, and it ensures that any potential short-fallings are picked up on before hitting the market.
How Much can you Make?
So that brings us to the golden question – how much can you make selling courses at Udemy? Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to this question, as there are a number of variables to take into account.
Getting Your Pricing Right
First and foremost, Udemy does give you the freedom to set your own prices. The platform recommends a rate of between $10-$30 for each hour of course content.
For example, if your course is 10 hours long, you are advised to charge between $100 and $300. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you will get anywhere near this amount – especially if there are heaps of other established courses teaching the same thing.
As such, you do need to be very precise with what you decide to charge. For example, let’s say that you have created a course on how to build your own blockchain. Your first task should be to see what similar top-ranking courses are selling at. After all, if there are courses with thousands of 5-star ratings selling at $15, you likely won’t land a single student if you pitch in at $60.
On the contrary, you’ll be launching a branch new course with no feedback or ratings, so to be in with a chance of standing out from the crowd, you might be best to offer your course at a lower rate.
Building up Your Feedback
Much like you would as an e-book seller on Amazon, offering your Udemy course at a cost-effective price is likely to attract students. Once they have had the opportunity to enjoy your course, it is then hoped that they will leave you positive feedback, alongside a 5-star rating.
As you get more and more satisfied students, you should begin to notice your course go up the rankings. For example, while you might have initially started on page 10 of the search results on your blockchain course, you might now be sitting on page 2.
As such, this will allow you to increase the price of your course – and subsequently put it more in-line with your main competitors. Crucially, if you are confident that your course offers excellent value to those buying it, the rest should take care of itself.
The Volume Game
We often come across online courses in the public domain selling for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. However, most sellers at Udemy sit within the all-important $10-$30 range. With that said, if your online course starts to fly off the shelf, you can make some serious cash.
To illustrate just how successful some course creators are at Udemy, let’s go back to our previous example – Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer’s Guide.
As noted earlier, the course costs $15, and it has just under 10,000 positive reviews. However, upon closer inspection, the course has actually been purchased by just over 43,000 students. Doing the math – that amounts to total sales of $645,000.
It is also important to note that the course creator – Stephen Grider, has 26 Udemy courses listed at the site. In total, Grider has enrolled more than 556,000 students. This works out at millions of dollars in revenue, which is huge.
However, there is a major consideration that you need to make before you start counting your future revenues – Udemy commissions.
How Much Does Udemy Take?
Udemy is an online platform that is in the business of making money. As such, you as a content creator will need to engage in a profit-share agreement with the platform. In Layman’s terms, this means that for every course you sell at the platform, Udemy will take a commission.
This is no different to YouTube taking a cut of your advertising revenue, even though it was you that did all of the hard work. As such, this is just the name of the game.
Nevertheless, the profit-sharing model at Udemy is somewhat confusing at first glance, as it depends on how the student found the course.
- Organic: If the student finds your course naturally – such as finding it through the search function, then there is a 50/50 split with Udemy. However, if the sale is made via the iOS or Android app, Apple and Google both charge a 30% fee on gross revenues
- Instructor Promotion: If you were able to bring a new student to the Udemy platform yourself, and they proceed to purchase your course, then you get to keep 97% of the revenue. However, the student will need to enter a specific coupon or referral link to qualify. This is a win-win situation, as although Udemy gets less revenue, they have effectively acquired a new customer that might end up purchasing other courses.
- Paid User Acquisition Channel Sales: Udemy partners with a number of third-party affiliates in the online space that will promote the platform. If the new customer ends up purchasing your course through one of these affiliates, then you will only get to keep 25% of the revenue.
As you can see from the above, there is quite the disparity in how much of your revenues you get to keep. Sitting anywhere between 25% and 97%, it really depends on how your students come across your course.
Is the revenue model fair?
Potentially, especially when you consider that you do not need to pay any fees to create or launch the course, so the only risk you are taking is your time. Crucially, when you do launch a course, you gain access to a platform that is home to more than 50 million members.
Udemy Public Reviews and Ratings
Taking into the account the numbers that Udemy publishes on its website, it’s clear to see that the platform is hugely popular with both content creators and students alike. With that said, it’s always a good exercise to see what reviews and ratings are like in the public domain.
Over at TrustPilot, it is somewhat surprising that the platform has a 3/5 ‘Average’ rating. This is only across 495 individual reviews though, which is very low when you consider the 50 million+ members that Udemy claims to have.
Things are also a bit non-descript over at the Consumers Affairs website, with Udemy currently on a 2/5 rating. However, this is based across just 92 individual reviews, so this does need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
The good news is that the Udemy reviews are a lot more valid at Google Play, with more than 212,000 individual ratings. This yields a very impressive score of 4.4/5. Things also look good for Udemy on the Apple Store, with a 4.6/5 rating across 17,000 individual reviews.
Best Blockchain Courses at Udemy
So now that you know the ins and outs of how Udemy works, we are now going to discuss our some of the top blockchain courses that are currently available at the platform.
Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals by George Levy
If you’re looking to learn the key elements of blockchain technology, a great starting point would be to consider the Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals course by George Levy. Priced at just $16, the course is an absolute steal.
The main premise of the course is split into three key segments. Firstly, you’ll obtain a strong understanding of what blockchain technology actually is. Next, you’ll then explore key vocabulary and concepts in the context of Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain protocol. Thirdly, you’ll then dive deeper into the fundamentals of Bitcoin.
The course consists of 3 hours of on-demand videos, alongside a small number of downloadable resources. The course has been extremely well-received by Udemy students, with more than 58,000 individual enrollments. Over 17,000 reviews, the course holds a strong rating of 4.5/5.
The Complete Cryptocurrency Investment Course by Mohsen Hassan
If you’re more interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology from an investment perspective, it might be worth exploring the merits of the Complete Cryptocurrency Investment course by Mohsen Hassan. As the name suggests, you will be guided through the end-to-end process of becoming an effective cryptocurrency trader.
This starts at the very offset with advice on how to buy cryptocurrencies via an exchange or broker, and then moving swiftly on to fundamental research. After that, you’ll learn how to safely secure your investments, perform technical analysis, and create a risk-averse cryptocurrency portfolio.
Although the course was recently launched, it has already been undertaken by 2,846 students. Over 434 reviews, the course is rated at 4.7/5. Crucially, you can get your hands on it for just $16. This includes 12 hours of on-demand videos, which you can access across your mobile, desktop device, or smart TV.
Blockchain A-Z: Learn How To Build Your First Blockchain by Hadelin de Ponteves and Kirill Eremenko
If you’re looking for a serious career move into the world of blockchain technology, have a look at the Blockchain A-Z: Learn How To Build Your First Blockchain course. Created by Hadelin de Ponteves and Kirill Eremenko, the program gives you the full low-down on how to build your very own blockchain protocol.
You’ll learn a bunch of theory behind cryptocurrency transactions, smart contracts, and the wider blockchain ecosystem. You’ll then learn about creating a new cryptocurrency, and deploying smart contracts. In order to be suitable for the course, it’s best that you have basic knowledge of Python.
This is because you will need to understand the language to complete the practical side of the course. Once again, you’ll pay a fee of just $16 for the program, which gives you lifetime access. This consists of 14.5 hours of on-demand video, 11 articles, and 3 downloadable resources.
Blockchain for Business 2020: The New Industrial Revolution by 365 Careers
An additional mention goes out to the Blockchain for Business 2020: The New Industrial Revolution course by 365 Careers. As the name suggests, this particular course is aimed at real-world businesses, and how they can benefit by embracing the blockchain phenomenon.
The course starts with an overview of what the blockchain is and how the fundamentals work. After that, you’ll get an inner understanding of key concepts surrounding mining, decentralization, smart contracts, and cryptography.
Once you have undertaken the technicals, the course then swiftly moves on to the business side of blockchain technology. This includes some examples of potential blockchain applications that could take your business to the next level.
Udemy Review: The Verdict
In summary, it’s clear to see how Udemy has attracted a membership base that now exceeds 50 million users. This translates into more 295 million individual course enrollments, which is nothing short of uncanny when you consider the platform was only launched in 2009.
From the perspective of content creators, you have the chance to market your skills, knowledge, and real-world experiences via the Udemy platform. In doing so, although you will need to engage in a revenue-sharing model, you are effectively gaining access to a multi-million student base where your potential earnings are limitless.
At the other end of the spectrum, students have access to over 150,000 courses at the click of a button. These courses cover virtually every subject area imaginable, so there’s sure to be something to suit your requirements. Not only are most courses reasonably priced, but you’ll benefit from an eBay-style rating system. This ensures that you pick courses that have been pre-vetted by prior students.
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