There are now dozens of online learning platforms out there that offer online courses in just about everything you could possibly want to learn. If you’re looking for a unique opportunity for professional development in the field in which you are already employed or you simply want to have a fun learning experience in another niche, online learning is the way to go.

Not only can you study at your own pace, but you’ll have access to a variety of courses in any subject. Plus, many online learning platforms offer lifetime access or completely free courses.

Udemy is one such online learning platform. When you take courses on Udemy, you’ll benefit from quality instruction, plenty of subjects to choose from, and a learning environment that is fun and hands-on. Not only that, but many courses come with a certification of completion so you’ll be able to prove your skills to employers (or hey – you could even just use it for general bragging rights!).

Whatever your motivation in taking an online course may be, Udemy is the way to go. In this Udemy review, we will tell you everything you need to know about these quality courses – from the Udemy instructors to the layout of the platform.

 

What is Udemy?

Without a doubt, Udemy is one of the most popular online learning platforms not just in the country, but in the world. It’s similar to other online course platforms, like Skillshare and Coursera, in that you can choose from thousands of courses in dozens of different subjects.

However, Udemy, like all other online services, is not immune to its fair share of criticism. 

But what is Udemy, really?

At its most basic, Udemy is an educational platform that was developed in 2010. It’s the largest online learning platform of its kind, with more than 35 million students enrolled in more than 1000 thousand courses. When Udemy was first created, the founders’ goal was to create a learning platform that would bring new knowledge and skills to people who ordinarily would not be able to pursue an education, whether due to time constraints, financial issues, or location.

As a Udemy student, all you need to do is log onto the platform, register for an account, and choose a course. Then, you can start learning. There are many free courses to choose from, but if you pay a nominal fee you’ll have access to all the courses in Udemy’s vast library of offerings.

Like many online course platforms, the vast majority of Udemy courses are in the IT and business niches. That’s not to say that you won’t find classes in other subjects, too, of course.

Udemy is also friendly for aspiring online teachers. As an instructor, all you need to do is create a profile and upload your courses. When a student purchases your class, you’ll get a percentage of the fees. This is paid out once a month through your choice of Payoneer or PayPal services. 

 

Features and Functionality

Technical Features and Functionality

One of the most important features of Udemy to mention is actually a cluster of features – its technical features. You’ll find that the video player and downloadable content on Udemy are high-quality and easy to work with. They rarely crash (it’s something I’ve never had an experience with or seen complaints about while reading reviews) and are easy to download and work with. 

Plus, when you purchase a course, you’ll receive lifetime access to that course. You’ll be able to return to the downloadable content again and again.

Udemy is compatible with web browsers along with iOS and Android operating systems. You can take classes on your computer, smartphone, or any other device.

Learning Certificate of Completion

Some – though certainly not all – courses on Udemy come with certificates of completion. After completing the class, you’ll be given a certificate of completion that you can print out and add to your physical or virtual portfolio. This may or may not be useful depending on what kind of class you are taking and why. 

Ability to Test Drive

There are some online course platforms that require you to choose a course based on your gut instinct and the course’s advertising alone. You won’t really know whether a course is right for you until you’ve taken the class.

That’s not the case with Udemy – you’ll be able to test-drive a course before you register. You can return a course within 30 days if you decide you don’t like it, as long as you haven’t consumed a vast majority of the course content.

Course Features

Each course comes with standard features that you’ll come to know and love. For example, in each course, you’ll have access to video lectures, text lectures, and audio lectures. Most classes come with quizzes and also with subtitles, if the instructor chose to add them. 

Some also come with supplementary resources and certificates of completion. Most offer the ability to read and post questions, take notes, and post reviews, too.

 

Types of Courses Offered on Udemy

There is a wide range of courses available on the Udemy platform. There are 15 major categories with up to 15 subcategories under each major category, too. 

For instance, in the “Music” category, you’ll find the subcategory of “instruments.” Here, there are dozens of different courses for piano students, guitar students, harmonica, banjo, saxophone, and more. 

These are the categories offered on Udemy:

  • Development
  • Business
  • Finance and Accounting
  • IT and Software
  • Office Productivity
  • Personal Development
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Lifestyle
  • Photography and Video
  • Health and Fitness
  • Music
  • Teaching And Academics

How to Choose Udemy Courses?

Finding the right Udemy course for your needs and preferences can be challenging – but not because there’s a dearth of options available to you. Instead, the process is overwhelming simply because there are so many classes to choose from. 

To get started, go to Udemy’s homepage. You can search for the courses you’d like by keyword or by browsing through the categories listed above. You can shortlist the ones you’d like to buy by marking them as such, and then you can add them to the cart. When you’re ready to go, just buy your chosen courses. That’s all there is to it!

You can also preview a class if you aren’t sure that it’s the right one for you. To do this, you’ll navigate to the class by clicking on its icon or title, then click “preview this course” on the right-hand side. 

When you’re deciding on a course, make sure you read the objectives and course reviews. This is the best way to decide if a course will help you meet your goals – or if you should pass. 

 

Udemy Money Back Guarantee

Udemy has a generous money-back guarantee. If you decide that you don’t want to take a course (or are unhappy with it in any way), you can receive a refund within 30 days. To be eligible, you can’t have consumed or downloaded a large portion of the course. You also can’t request multiple refunds for the same course.

It’s also important to note that a pattern of requesting an excessive amount of refunds by a single student will result in a refund refusal by Udemy. 

 

What Makes Udemy Different than Other Providers?

When you’re trying to find the perfect online course platform, it can be tough to find the right one amidst all the noise. 

Udemy is different from other course providers in several ways.

For starters, it has the largest course marketplace around. There are thousands of courses you can choose from and you aren’t limited to certain niches, as is the case with other online course platforms that specialize in certain topics like computers or business. 

Unfortunately, Udemy doesn’t have the best financial incentives for course instructors, since it’s more or less open season in terms of pricing and marketing. Although there are several tools available to help course instructors market their classes, pricing can be a challenging and unpredictable affair that ends up confusing and occasionally cheating both the instructor and the student.

However, it’s important to note that Udemy is one of the only course platforms that has an open framework to make it easy for Udemy instructors to create, market, and sell their courses. 

With more than 42,000 course creators, 30 million students, and courses in 50 languages, Udemy is a smart option for online learners and Udemy instructors. 

 

Community Features and Interaction

There are lots of features on Udemy that make it an attractive option for students seeking a more interactive, community-oriented platform. After all, just because you’re learning virtually doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to a like-minded community of professionals!

You’ll be able to tap into this before you even take the course. For example, you’ll have access to prior student reviews and ratings before you enroll. That way, you can get an unbiased opinion of whether the course is right for you.

You will also have access to instructor and student feedback. Most courses have an accompanying discussion board that will allow you to post questions, comments, or concerns where both the instructor and fellow students can see these comments and respond to them accordingly.

Many course creators also offer students access to additional channels of communication (like social media pages) or extra resources. This is a great way to keep apprised of additional information and to continue your professional development.

 

The Learner’s Perspective

As a student on Udemy, you’ll likely find a learning experience that is enjoyable, interactive, and beneficial. Every person’s experience will of course be different and influenced by all kinds of factors that are out of your control (and out of the control of your instructor) like your Internet speed, your mood, and your level of experience. 

That said, most Udemy users agree that this platform is fun, intuitive, and engaging. On the platform, Udemy as a brand makes a solid effort to encourage its instructors to keep learning new ways to keep their students engaged. Overall, people are satisfied with their experiences and find that the platform is both responsive and intuitive. 

Udemy has all kinds of features that make taking a class enjoyable and seamless. For example, all students are given a chance to work on assignments so that they can apply their training and improve their skills. You can share your assignments with other students for further feedback, too.

 

The Instructor’s Perspective 

As an instructor on Udemy, you’ll find several benefits to using the platform.

One of the most significant is the course marketing functionality., this feature makes it possible for instructors to promote tier classes and market their unique personal brand to the perfect audience. Udemy uses retargeting ads, email campaigns, search and discovery, and eternal partner promotions to do this.

Retargeted ads are used by Udemy to help instructors reach students who have viewed, previewed, or wishlisted a class – but did not enroll. The advertisement is displayed on websites like Facebook. Email campaigns are also used based on the student’s past purchases and browsing history. 

Udemy also offers instructors a course quality checklist, which helps teachers make sure their classes are professional and well-communicated before actually launching them.

Creating a course with Udemy is easy, but if you want to become a premium instructor, you will need to apply. Applying is free but you’ll have to wait for two days for approval. Then, you can build your course with written content and videos. You’ll need to include at least five lectures and thirty minutes of video content. There can be no links to paid content off Udemy, either. 

 

The Advantages (Pros) of Udemy

Ease of Access

First, let’s start with Udemy’s ease of use. Especially compared to the other online learning platforms out there, Udemy is remarkably easy to use. It’s very user-friendly with an interface that is clear and easy to navigate, even if you don’t have much experience working with computers or taking online classes.

In fact, when you log on to the Udemy homepage, you’ll find that the landing page is very straightforward with a basic promotional banner, a list of classes, and some user reviews. It’s not cluttered and overwhelming, making it a good option for the learners among us who want a more basic approach to education.

What’s even better is that it’s easy to find classes that might interest you. You can search via a category and subcategory or you can type your own set of keywords into the search bar.

Once you select your course, you’ll find that there isn’t much variation between different courses. They all have a similar layout and format so it’s easy to get used to the platform once you’ve taken a class or two.

In general, most pages will have a preview video, a description of the course and its requirements, and user reviews. If you decide to purchase the course, the checkout process is easy to follow. All you have to do is add the course to your cart, sign in, select a payment method, and start learning. Everything is standardized and easy to navigate. 

Quality Courses

Another major benefit of studying on Udemy is the availability of thousands of quality courses. While there are hundreds of instructors on Udemy (and the quality can, as a result, vary a bit between teachers), most are talented and their lessons are worth every penny. 

It would be impossible to take a class with every single instructor on the platform to weed out the good from the bad, but in general, Udemy is home to talented teachers who really know their stuff. 

Built-In Payment Processing

This is a convenient feature both for instructors as well as for students. You won’t have to jump through a ton of hoops to pay for a course, and as an instructor, you don’t have to have a separate PayPal or Stripe account. There are no platform fees, although instructors are charged transaction fees.  

 

The Disadvantages (Cons) of Udemy

Lack of Feedback

One of the most common complaints about Udemy is in its communication platform. Although you can ask questions of instructors while taking a course, it is rare for instructors to actually respond to their students. Many Udemy students have complained about this, making it a sticking point when you’re choosing between taking courses on Udemy or on another more responsive platform. 

It’s not just the instructors who are lacking in their communication skills, either. The staff at Udemy aren’t the best at responding to questions or inquiries for help. 

Confusing Pricing

Another issue with Udemy is its confusing pricing model. Udemy does not price its own courses but instead leaves those decisions up to the instructor. Therefore, all prices are determined solely by the people who create the courses, so there can be quite a bit of price variation between classes (and it doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of the course, either). 

That said, both Udemy and the group of instructors can create promotions with discounted price tags. So if you see a course that is on sale, it could be either party that is responsible.

When you’re trying to decide which classes to take, remember that free doesn’t necessarily equal a low-quality course. It could be free because of a special, limited-time promotion or simply because the teacher is trying to make a name for himself or herself. In general, though, the more expensive courses tend to be taught by credentialed experts, in tougher categories and subjects, or have a longer run time. 

Lack of Credit

Unfortunately, when you take a class on Udemy, you aren’t going to get course credit. Most courses are targeted to beginners with little experience, and expertise is definitely in the eye of the beholder – there is no uniform standard for credentialing instructors on this platform, nor is there a uniform accrediting agency to hold instructors accountable.

Because of this, you shouldn’t expect to get course credit that can be transferred into a college program (or anything of a similar nature) when you take a class on Udemy. 

 

Conclusion

Any kind of online learning platform with the goal of educating people of all backgrounds and abilities in an affordable, accessible way is worth its weight in gold, in my opinion. After all, bringing education to the people who need it most is a noble goal. 

Udemy has a solid reputation as a forward-thinking company and while its ultimate goal is to make money, of course, you’ll likely find exactly what you’re looking for in this user-friendly course platform. 

Hopefully, this Udemy review was helpful to you as you begin comparing course platforms and searching for courses to help you build your skillset. Good luck – and enjoy the ride!

 

FAQ

How Much Does Udemy Cost?

Unlike other course platforms (such as LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare) that charge a set monthly or annual subscription fee, Udemy charges users based on individual courses. 

Because of this, prices vary. You could pay anywhere from $3 to $300 to take a course. This is at the discretion of Udemy (who is responsible for promotional deals and sales) and the instructor of the course (who is responsible for setting the base price of the class). 

Does Udemy Have a Monthly Fee?

Udemy does not have a monthly fee. Instead, you will pay per course. There are also many free courses available. 

The one exception to this is if you are part of a company that wishes to purchase a Udemy team subscription. With Udemy Team pricing, you’ll pay $240 per year (there are larger enterprise packages available, too). 

Is Udemy Free?

In general, Udemy is not free. Most courses offered on this platform have a fee associated with their enrollment. However, there are some courses that are offered at zero cost as well as others that occasionally go on sale for very low prices (or also for free). 

Is Udemy Legit?

With accolades from well-respected organizations and publications like Mashable and Forbes, Udemy is absolutely legit. Millions of people use the platform on a daily basis to learn new skills. 

Although there are sure to be a few bad eggs here and there (Udemy does not have a process in place to vet its instructors, nor does it require them to be credentialed in any way), for the most part, this is a platform worth considering.

Is Udemy Accredited?

Udemy is not accredited. Although the platform offers Udemy certificates of completion that can help you showcase your achievements and accomplishments to potential employers, the platform is not an accredited institution. You cannot use the Udemy certificates to obtain course credit at a university or for any other purpose similar to that.

Are Udemy Courses Worth it?

If you’re interested in a particular subject and are ready to dedicate yourself to the time it takes to complete an online course, Udemy courses are absolutely worth it. With all kinds of affordable (and sometimes even free) titles to choose from, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Udemy. Not only that, but taking a Udemy course in your spare time is a great way to show an employer that you are willing to commit yourself to continue professional development. 

Do Udemy Courses Expire?

When you buy a Udemy course, you can rest assured that you will have access to it forever. Udemy courses provide you with lifetime access, meaning they will never expire and you will always be able to access the materials. 

How Do You Buy a Course on Udemy?

There are several ways you can buy a course on Udemy. Udemy supports several different payment methods, including Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. You can also check out with PayPal. 

You can also pay via cash payment or bank transfer if you’re a student in several different countries (generally those in Latin America, Asia, and Europe). Another option is to pay with the mobile app, which utilizes the Google Play and Apple payment systems, depending on what kind of device you have.

Once you find the course you’d like to enroll in, click “Buy Now” on the landing page for the course. You’ll be redirected to the checkout page, where you’ll see all of these payment methods on display. That’s all there is to it!

Can Udemy Help You Get a Job?

Although Udemy is not accredited – meaning the courses you take on this platform doesn’t necessarily translate to course credit or a college degree – building your skills by taking a Udemy class is a great way to improve your chances of landing a job.

How? Skills are a valuable asset, helping you qualify for a job you want and get promoted to an advanced position. If you don’t have the time, money, or energy to pursue traditional training and education, Udemy is a great way to go. Not only that, but there are many new and developing fields and skills that don’t necessarily have an associated degree – you’ll have to teach those skills to yourself. Udemy can make the process a bit easier.

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Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a writer with a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked both as a college admissions counselor as well as a high school English teacher and has also written extensively on topics related to educational technology and the college selection process.

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