Udemy Review: Is it The Right Elearning Platform for You?

Catherine Cooke

14 October, 2020

You’ve probably already heard of Udemy, Right?

Well, it’s one of the largest online educational platforms out there.  You will be pleased to know that they offer over 150,000 courses and more than 50 million students. Pretty impressive huh?

Udemy describe themselves as ‘The leading global marketplace for learning and instruction’.  They provide access to thousands of courses produced by independent instructors to millions of students.  Udemy provides access to training courses for individuals, to businesses and provides a platform for instructors and experts to host their own course content.

Sounds pretty good right?

Udemy Review

However, it doesn’t mean that Udemy is the right educational platform to enhance your knowledge and skills. Is Udemy’s content exactly what you’re looking for?

Let’s find out what all the fuss is about in this in-depth Udemy review.

Affordable

Courses range from $19.99 to $199.99 making it accessible for most.

Free Courses

With over 6,700 free courses, Udemy is a great way to learn for ‘nada’.

30-day Refund Policy

If the course wasn’t what you expected, Udemy will give your money back no questions asked.

Lifetime Access

Udemy will grant you access to every course you’ve purchased for life.

Wide variety of courses

With 13 categories and dozens of sub-categories you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Certificate at Completion

Although the courses aren’t officially accredited, you’ll be given a certificate of completion – for paid courses only.

 

Non-Accredited Certificates

If you are looking for an official certification Udemy isn’t for you. Alternatively, check out Coursera or edX.

Doesn't create course content

With Udemy the course instructors are responsible for creating its content which can impact the quality of the course.

Quality Control of Courses

Udemy runs a quality control of the courses, but with so many how thorough can this really be.

Udemy Review Verdict

Udemy is an online learning platform offering thousands of online courses where users can learn new skills or improve existing ones. Certificates are given at course completion, but those aren’t officially accredited. Any Udemy purchased course comes with lifetime access and 30-day refund policy. There are also a bunch of free courses.

Who Is Udemy for?

You are probably asking yourself, is Udemy right for me?

If a variety of courses is something that you are looking for, then you are considering the right elearning platform. Udemy offers such diversity of courses, there really is no limit to what you could learn with categories like ¨Finance & Accounting¨ to ¨Lifestyle¨.

If you are thinking of a career change and gaining a new professional skill like coding knowledge or maybe you want to dabble in an exciting new hobby like cake decorating, then Udemy has it all.

Udemy Cake Decoration

Its courses vary from beginner to advanced levels so you will certainly find a course that is suited to your skills and ambition. The diversity of its courses really makes Udemy stand out from other competitors like Skillshare or Pluralsight. The fact is that Udemy is open to everyone, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any prior experience.

In short, Udemy is good for:

  • Professionals looking to gain skills
  • People looking for a career change
  • Students looking to complement their studies
  • Those looking for free courses
  • Individuals looking to publish their own courses
  • International students looking for courses not just in the English language

Note: That Udemy certificates are not recognized by employers because it’s not an accredited (official) institution.

How Much Is Udemy?

There is quite a range of prices with some courses starting at $19.99 and others going up to $199.99. All of Udemy courses are a one-off payment which is made when you purchase the course and you get given lifetime access, so even after completing the course, you can go back as many times as you wish.

A course with more information, harder subjects and longer run time will be, on principle, more expensive which is pretty understandable. It is important to keep in mind that Udemy is not the one setting the price, that is the job of the instructors. The reputation of the instructor will also have an impact on the price tag.

Once you have an account with Udemy and are signed in you will quickly notice a high number of discounted courses. When I say discounted I mean heavily discounted, with some courses originally priced at $194.99 and are now $13.99. Its courses are on a constant year-round promotion of 90% to 95% discounted off the original price.

Udemy Prices

Udemy courses discounted

So why does Udemy’s marketing strategy include such heavily discounted courses?

Their pricing model is focused on offering a wide range of courses for a lower price so that millions of students enrol, vs offering courses with higher prices with fewer students.

It’s a pretty simple pricing model when you break it down – a lower cost of entry for the many compared to a higher cost for the few. Because Udemy doesn’t provide accredited certificates the course costs are lower.

And if you are on a tight budget, Udemy offers over 6,700 free courses for you to enjoy – who doesn’t love freebies. It is a great way to test your interest and capability in learning a new topic for no cost.

 

If you don’t want to find out more on Udemy’s free courses, then check out this post on what not to miss out on.

 

If you are looking for a gift that is a little different for a friend or loved one, then Udemy offers the option to Gift this course. The course will be sent (via email) to the recipient as a gift, you can decide the date and even leave an optional personalised message.

Udemy Gift

Udemy ‘Gift This Course’ option

If for whatever reason you aren’t satisfied with a course, you’ll be able to refund the course within 30 days. Most refunds are returned via the original payment method (e.g. credit card) and take between 5 to 10 business days to arrive to your bank account.

If you are looking for something to help your workforce, then ‘Udemy for Business’ could be right for you and your team. It is on-demand learning for teams of 5-20 to help improve skills in business, tech, design and more. If you are curious to know more they offer a 14-day free trial.

How To Open A Udemy Account?

The registration process for Udemy is really intuitive. The design and layout of their platform is user-friendly and easy to follow. But let me show you how the registration process looks like:

  1. Open a browser and visit www.udemy.com
  2. Click Sign Up in the top right corner
  3. Add your Full Name, Email and Create a Password
  4. You’ll be sent a confirmation email

Udemy Sign Up

Udemy Sign Up

Once you are signed up you can click on Categories and begin browsing the different courses on offer.

Udemy Categories

Udemy Categories

After selecting a category you can pick one of the subcategories which will take you to all the relevant courses. You can then begin to look at each course individually and read a little more in-depth.

Examples Of The Most Popular Udemy Course

I thought it would be interesting to research which courses are the most popular out there so you can get a feel for what to expect.

  1. Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python 3 (All Levels) – This course is to learn Python, a popular programming language, has had over 800,000 students enrolled. It comes with 185 lectures and 24 hours of on-demand video. It’s a bestseller with a 4.5 (out of 5) rating by students with over 450,000 reviews.
  1. C# Basics for Beginners: Learn C# Fundamentals by Coding (Beginner) – over 103,000 students, 87 lectures and 5 hours on-demand video. It has a 4.5 rating by students and an instructor with 2 decades of experience.
  1. Japanese Course for Absolute Beginners (Letters, Alphabet)  – over 30,000 students, 45 lectures and 6.5 hours on-demand video. It has a 4.7 student rating with instructors that seem to provide high-quality teaching and interaction with students.
  1. Ultimate Photoshop Training: From Beginner to Pro (Beginner) – over 90,000 students, 176 lectures and 14 hours on-demand video. It’s a bestseller with a 4.6 student rating with an instructor who is an Adobe Certified Instructor and Certified Photoshop Expert.
  1. Microsoft Excel –  Excel from Beginners to Advanced (All levels) – over 300,000 students, 195 lectures and 16 hours on-demand video. It has a 4.6 student rating with an instructor who has over 15 years of experience working in Finance and IT departments.

7 Tips To Find The Perfect Udemy Course

If you are now umming and arrrhhing about which course is right for you. I have thought about some tips which may help you to choose the perfect course.

Udemy Filter Selection

A very useful feature to use is the filter. When you click on this (see image above) it allows you to narrow down your search into the specifics that you want from your chosen course. For example, if I have searched for Graphic Design in the initial search bar, I could then select some filters and decide on aspects like the topic, course level, language, price, etc – see image below.

Udemy Categories

Udemy Filters

Look at the course content and profile

You are able to check out the course content, see what lectures are included and how long each of the on-demand videos are. This gives you a comprehensive overview of the course and shows you how the various course modules are organized.

Udemy Course Content

Udemy Course Content

Read reviews at Udemy

Every Udemy course has reviews and ratings from past students in the student feedback section that you can check out to see what others think about it. Their review system will allow you to also search for certain keywords within the Search reviews box (e.g. ‘responsive instructor’).

Udemy Search Reviews

Udemy Search Reviews

Check out the instructor

An instructor bio is included in each of the courses. You can read a small blurb about him or her, their prior experience, feedback and evaluations from other students and the courses they teach.

This is an ideal way to find more about who will be teaching the course, and some are even open to letting you contact them personally to ask particular questions.

Udemy Instructor Bio

Udemy Instructor Profile

Instructors may also add teaching assistants to their courses, who can help them with their course materials and respond to students’ questions. Even though a teaching assistant profile may not appear on the course, they are also experts in the course subject.

When was the course launched

Udemy courses are (should be) regularly updated and you can find when it was last updated in the header of the course (see image below). This is especially important if you are learning a new software application such as a program in the Adobe Suite as you will want to be learning the latest version of the software.

Udemy Last Updated

Udemy Latest Course Updates

Quality of the course preview

Another great feature is that you can preview the course before purchasing. I think this really is one of the best ways for you to get a feel of what to expect from the course, it’s very useful being able to check the quality of the course preview to give you a taste of what is to come.

Udemy Preview

Udemy Course Preview

Your budget

Due to Udemy’s pricing strategy with most of its courses heavily discounted its courses really are affordable for most. So if you are looking at it from a financial standpoint it really shouldn’t leave you out of pocket.

Udemy Popularity Selector

Udemy Sort By Pricing

A good tip, if you are on a tight budget, would be for you to list the courses by price from lowest to highest price (see image above). Remember there are also a bunch of free courses.

CriteriaComment
Ease of use

The registration process is really intuitive, you’ll only need to add your name, email and create a password. The design and layout of their platform is user-friendly and easy to follow, I particularly like how the courses are organised by categories.

Convenience

Udemy courses are completely on-demand, that means you can enrol in your chosen course and learn at your own pace. You have the flexibility to begin the course when it is convenient for you and there are no deadlines for completing the course either.

There is also an option to preview the course before you buy it where you can watch a variety of lectures before purchasing.

Available platforms

Learning with Udemy allows you access to all purchased courses using different devices including desktop/laptop, an Android app and an iOS app. There is also the option of downloading an entire course for offline viewing on both the Android and iOS app. The Udemy app has a 4.6 rating with both Android and Apple.

Official certifications:

Once you have completed an Udemy course you will receive a certificate completion. Be aware that Udemy is not an accredited institution, therefore the certificate cannot be used for formal accreditation.

Categories

Udemy offers over 150,000 courses taught by experienced instructors. The courses range from business and entrepreneurship, health and fitness, language to music: There can be found more than 12 categories and dozens of subcategories.

Free courses

Yes, Udemy offers a bunch of free courses that you’ll have lifetime access to. Being 100% honest, it’s one of the platforms offering more courses for free. Check out the Free Udemy courses not to miss out on.

Content quality

Every Udemy course will go through a Quality Checklist. All courses are required to have HD video, good audio, 5 lectures or more, and at least 30 minutes of video content.

Languages

Udemy courses have a wide range of languages available which include the following: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai. You are able to set or change the language of your course and Udemy account.

Instructors

Every Udemy course is created, owned and managed by the instructor(s). There is no formal approval needed to get started as an Udemy Instructor. If you would like to become one, you are free to choose any topic to teach.

There is, of course, a small number of restricted topics like sexually explicit content or content promoting violence.

You can see who your instructor is for each of the courses and review information about them by scrolling down to the About The Instructor section on the course landing page.

Instructors may also add teaching assistants to their course who can help them with their course and respond to students’ questions in the Q&A. Any questions can be answered either by contacting the instructor via direct message or checking previous Q&A’s.

Course requirements

All Udemy courses have a general structure to follow, all Udemy courses are video-based. Courses must have at least 30 minutes of video and at least 5 lectures or learning modules.

There is a Quality Review Process that all courses go through to ensure that students are having the best learning experience. For example, HD video quality (720p or 1080p), clear course goals, etc.

Course structure

The structure of Udemy courses are lectures, that can include videos, slides, text and additional resources. In addition, the instructor can add quizzes, practise tests and assignments to help accompany the learning of the course for the student. There are no deadlines students need to meet.

Quizzes & tests

The instructor may add quizzes and practice tests, but it isn’t compulsory within the course structure of Udemy.

Payments & refunds

Udemy is supporting several payment methods, The following methods are available: Credit and Debit Card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover), Paypal, Cash Payments and Bank Transfers, Apple Pay Store and Google Pay.

The cost of Udemy courses vary widely depending on the course information, subject matter and duration of the course.

All courses purchased on Udemy can be refunded within 30 days no questions asked.

Support

Udemy offers help and support and a useful FAQ section you can access from the footer of the site. If you have any specific questions you can contact them at support@udemy.com.

Overall rating

Udemy has a mix of strengths and weaknesses like any other elearning platform. A few of its strengths are the fact it offers such a wide range of affordable courses (even free) that are available in many languages. Sadly, none of its courses are officially accredited and the course quality can’t always be guaranteed.

Will Udemy Help Me With My Career?

Udemy courses are ideal for someone wanting to learn or improve their personal development or possibly looking for a career change. It can help you with qualifying for a job if you are lacking skills or even help you to be promoted.

With all paid Udemy courses, you will receive a Certificate of Completion, which you can share with co-workers and potential employers. The certificate demonstrates your accomplishments and the skills you have learnt.

Udemy certificate of completion

Udemy Certificate of Completion

Remember though that Udemy is not an accredited institution, so if it is an employer asking for an official certificate you won’t be able to provide them with one.

Note: If you are actually looking for officially certified courses, you can check out platforms like Coursera or edX.

Is Udemy Legit?

A question I keep being asked is: Is Udemy legit?

That’s normal, especially when a course can cost under $20, you may be inclined to think that Udemy is a scam.

To put your mind at rest, Udemy was launched in 2010 and its headquarters are located in San Francisco with satellite offices all over the world, so its a well-established organization. It has had over 295 million course enrollments and more than 42,000 instructors and the number is still growing.

Udemy is part of the growing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement that empowers everyday experts to create courses on topics they are passionate about.

Udemy’s marketplace model attracts thousands of instructors, it means that new courses are being added all the time and updated regularly.

In terms of the course quality, I think you have to really consider the purpose of pursuing a course with Udemy. If it’s for your own personal development then why not, but if you are wanting the course to prove something on a more professional level (e.g. with an official certification) it may not be for you.

Anyways to clarify, Udemy is legit and it’s safe to use, you won’t be scammed.

Publishing A Course At Udemy

As well as taking a course on the Udemy platform, it also allows anyone to be a course instructor which of course can be a great thing (or quite the opposite!). Many of the Udemy instructors are professionals and experts in their field but this can’t be guaranteed as pretty much anyone can join.

If you are planning to become a course Instructor it is important to prepare your course in the following ways;

  1. Choose your topic: You can teach anything. Udemy will help you to identify topics that are in demand and guide you on creating relevant courses.
  2. Identify your target student: It really is important to think about who the course is for. It will really help you to identify the learning objectives and create the right course for a specific audience.
  3. Decide your learning goals and course structure: Deciding what the course objectives are is the most important part of creating a well-structured course.

Once your course has gone through the quality review process, the Udemy team will evaluate and provide necessary feedback. Then your course will be ready to publish on the Udemy platform.

Note: That if you are looking to publish at Udemy, your course will need to have at least 5 lectures and a minimum of 30 minutes of (HD) video content.

Last Thoughts: Is Udemy Worth It?

Let’s break it down as to whether Udemy is worth it.

If you are wanting to learn a hobby then Udemy is definitely the right platform for you, and if you look at it from a value for money perspective then hands down YES. It’s also a good option for personal and professional development (e.g. get solid Excel knowledge).

However, if your learning is for an academic or professional purpose then platforms like edX and Coursera are probably a better fit as their courses are accredited by universities.

You will love Udemy because of:

  • It’s affordable prices
  • The diverse range of courses
  • Wide range of available languages (e.g. over 65)
  • It’s learning flexibility as it doesn’t have deadlines
  • Its lifetime access and ease-of-use

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.

Udemy Alternatives

Skillshare: offers on-demand learning which specialises in 4 main categories Creative, Business, Technology and Lifestyle within these categories there are 1,000 courses. The main difference is they work on a monthly subscription model instead of 1-off payments

Pluralsight: offers over 6,500 courses that range from software, IT, creative design and business. Its courses are organised into 3 paths; Beginner, Intermediate and Expert to help you decide which is right for you.

LinkedIn Learning: offers over 16,000 courses in Business, Technology and Creative skills. Ann annual subscription will give you access to all courses, which you can watch at any time.

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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