Udemy is one of the most popular online course marketplaces that can currently be found on the internet. They have more than 20,000 courses that can be found in their library with more and more arriving on a regular basis. One of the problems that you should be aware of before you read further into this review is the fact that some of the courses that can be found on the platform are amazing, but some are quite clearly terrible.
Instructors can use Udemy to offer courses on a wide variety of different topics, but most of the instructors who use the platform seem to spend more of their time doing marketing and attempting to sell their courses than they do perfecting them. Today we are going to be discussing the nature of the platform and all of the positive and negative factors that come with it to see if it is the right option for you.
What types of courses can be found on Udemy?
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to the content that can be found on the Udemy platform. You could spend your time learning another language, honing in on your business skills or getting to grips with a new piece of equipment that you are unfamiliar with. The courses that are present in the marketplace really do seem to touch on every area of a massive spectrum as if Udemy is trying to make sure that there will be something that suits your needs.
While there is an endless flow of variety when it comes to the subjects that the courses cover, you need to concentrate more on the longevity of each individual course than you do on the topic. Some will only take a handful of hours to complete even though they are advertised as though they include an endless amount of information, while some include that much information that they take weeks to complete. You should be aware of the fact that Udemy has no control over the longevity of each individual course; the instructor who created it does.
A lot of people would then immediately say that you can return to the marketplace and find another course that suits your needs if one did not offer you enough information. But, at that point, you would be spending more money to find the extra information that should really have been present in the first course. Should you really have to do that?
Are the courses on Udemy high quality?
One of the main things that you need to be aware of before you decide whether or not to go ahead with a Udemy course is the fact that their courses are known for being quite inconsistent with regards to their quality. No real editorial guidelines exist on the platform, and while Udemy claims that a quality assurance team is in place to check every single course before it is published, the evidence points in the opposite direction.
As you sift through the list of courses that are present for your desired subject area, you will find that it can be impossible to tell which courses are really good and which courses are really bad. The structure of a lot of the courses that are present on the platform is worrying because it can start to become confusing as you try to learn.
This is because the way that the course is laid out depends entirely on how the individual who created the course has pieced it all together. You have to remember that a lot of the people who create their own courses are not professional teachers, nor are the majority of them professionals in the field that they are trying to teach you about.
You can see further evidence of this if you enroll in a course of your own on Udemy. You will begin to notice an array of silly spelling mistakes, grammar errors and even whole lessons that appear to be out of place and completely irrelevant. If every instructor was forced to use an editor, then this would not be a problem. The overall lack of an editorial guideline for the platform means that there is a lot of room for error.
There are a few things that you should be aware of with regards to the way that Udemy works as both a platform and a business, they include:
How does Udemy choose which courses to publish and which ones to refuse to publish?
Udemy has been specifically designed as a functional course marketplace to make as much money as possible. The way that this money is earned directly involves the sale of courses. This means that the business people behind
Udemy will rake in higher profits if there are more courses on the site that people are purchasing. Why would they want to disapprove a course?
Given the sheer number of courses that can be found across the Udemy marketplace, it would also be practically impossible for a team of quality assurance agents to review them all and make sure that they are all optimized. This is why most of the Udemy courses appear to have a number of small errors, inconsistencies and sections that do not relate to the actual course.
How do the course instructors earn their money?
All of the marketing that is done to sell and promote each individual course has to be done by the course instructors. Udemy only tries to influence people to purchase courses that it already knows are selling well. Each instructor has his/her own methods that they use to drive as many sales as possible so that they can make as much money as possible. This means that Udemy does not have to do any of the “real” marketing work.
If an instructor is good at driving sales, why would Udemy ever stop the course from being published? Their business model directly involves making money. This means that they are responsible for knowingly letting a lot of terrible courses slip through the net so that they can profit from them in the long run.
How could Udemy improve?
Udemy could go from being a rather mixed-up platform to a brilliant one by simply bringing in slightly stricter regulations with regards to the quality of the content that is being published on the website. Right now, Udemy does not even require their teaching instructors to submit their official teaching credentials, meaning that just about anyone could create a course for the platform. This means that they are lagging behind other marketplaces where instructors are required to do this.
The platform could also be improved by drafting in an actual team of quality assurance agents to ensure that everything on the site is edited to a high standard. This would also involve fact checking to make sure that everything that is stated in the courses is correct.
Are there hidden gems?
Of course! There are actually some fantastic courses on Udemy, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between a fantastic course and one that simply should not be there. The sheer number of terrible courses also depreciates the value of a fantastic course. You should make sure that you do your research before investing in your own course.
All of the answers to these questions should show you that the business model that Udemy follows as a company is completely different to the idea of producing quality content in the form of online courses. As a consumer, you have to be aware of this. If you are purchasing a course, then it really should benefit you. This all shows us quite clearly that Udemy has no real reason or incentive to make sure that all of the courses that can be found in the library are of a high quality.
Does Udemy offer a good level of student support?
Unfortunately, as a platform, Udemy has little to no control over the amount of support that you would be able to access as a learner when completing a single course. The support that you are offered is actually down to the individual teachers and instructors who created the course. This means that the level of student support can vary dramatically from course to course.
A lot of the people who publish their courses on Udemy are really good at responding to any questions that their students have and helping them in any way that they can, but some of them appear to be non-existent from start to finish. A lot of questions go unanswered. This is something that you need to be aware of because it can be difficult to tell what type of instructor you will have before you have enrolled on the course.
If you are the type of student who needs a lot of 1:1 guidance while learning about a new subject area, then Udemy might not be the best for you. A lot of the courses require you to do a lot of self-teaching due to their popularity. Most of the time, the instructors simply do not have the time that they need to devote their attention to each individual student.
How does the pricing work on Udemy?
You can really benefit from the pricing model that exists on the Udemy platform if you learn how to use it to your advantage as a member. While most of the popular courses can cost up to £200 each, Udemy frequently holds sales for both new and old members that see the prices drop down to more than 75% less than that original number.
Some people might find that the option of paying a flat fee like you do to access each individual course on the Udemy marketplace is much better than the alternative of paying on either a monthly or an hourly basis. But, paying one price also comes with a real downside. A lot of the courses that are featured in the library only give you complete access to a handful of lessons. This means that you then have to go and either purchase another course on the marketplace or scour the internet looking or the extra information that you need.
Positive and Negative Factors
When it comes to any platform that operates in the same manner as Udemy, there will always be a massive handful of positive factors and an even larger handful of negative factors. You will often find yourself having to search quite hard to find all of the negative information that you should be aware of as a consumer. Here is our breakdown of the positive and negative factors that can be found throughout this article:
Udemy is a massive online marketplace full of a variety of different courses. You can use it to find a course on just about any topic. This means that there should be something in the marketplace that is suitable for your needs.
The courses on Udemy are all quite self-paced. This means that you have the opportunity to learn at a pace that suits you without having to rush.
You can occasionally tell whether or not a course is good on Udemy based on the number of reviews that it has and the number of people who have enrolled on the course. It is also worth noting that you would have a hard time spotting this if it came to a course that featured fewer reviews.
Udemy is rather easy to use. You can use the search toolbar to quickly find exactly what you are looking for and you can also clearly see the reviews that have been written by other students.
Unlike a number of competing services, Udemy does not require course instructors to submit any official teaching credentials to prove that they know enough about the subject to be teaching it.
Throughout the platform, there is a real lack of personalized feedback. This can be a real problem if you are learning about a new topic. You need personalized feedback to know whether or not you are doing well in a subject, or whether you are struggling in certain areas.
You have to remember that Udemy follows a business model that means that they directly benefit from presenting as many courses on their marketplace as possible.
The quality of the content on Udemy is not where it should be, despite Udemy claiming that each and every course is thoroughly checked by their quality assurance agents.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not Udemy is the right platform for you to use. You can find some amazing courses on the platform, but you might find yourself having to do three or four terrible courses before you manage to find the one that is worthwhile. Always do your research before you enroll in a course and make sure that you are not wasting your own time.