Is online education the future? – A review of the Udemy platform
The variety of courses is endless, from learning Java Script or developing an internet business to becoming an efficient learner or how to relax and be happy. Read our Udemy Review to explore popular topics, conditions, pricing and finding a suitable course.
1. Udemy – Overview
Mission – Udemy’s mission (view website) is to help anyone learn anything. They have more than 10 million students enrolled in various courses with the price ranging from free to about $300. It’s a competitive market where instructors create their own material and price it at whatever cost they want to.
Instructors – In this, every instructor needs to create content that is a notch above the others to get students to join, and especially to pay, money. Although every course is different, most comprise of a series of video lectures with perhaps some supplementary material such as games or quizzes.
Students – The platform is interactive where students are encouraged to start discussion threads about the material and each video comes attached to a note-taking feature so one can get to grips with the material.
2. Udemy Review – Popular Topics
Udemy has a variety of courses broken up into sections. These include:
- Business and entrepreneurship
- IT & software, programming
- Academic subjects like math and science
- Arts subjects, e.g. languages, music and photography
- Lifestyle, e.g. health and fitness, yoga and travel
You can also filter these courses further by:
- Level (beginner, intermediate and expert)
- Features, e.g. quizzes, closed captions, exercises.
Variety – As courses are designed by anyone who wants to make a course, there is a choice of many different areas of expertise. Anybody who has an interest in anything could possibly find a course that would spark his or her interest.
What are popular courses?
Business – Business courses are the most popular and comprise of almost 25% of all courses. Topics under business include entrepreneurship, branding for companies, freelancer guides and many courses on business systems.
Development – The second most popular subject is Development, which has courses such as IT, and computer programming and almost 15% of all courses fall under this category. In every category you can find very specific courses on a particular issue relating to it or broad courses covering basic tools one needs in that subject.
3. Udemy – Skill Levels
All levels – To do about 80% of Udemy courses you don’t need to have any prior knowledge as the vast majority of courses (and most of the free ones) are for beginners or all levels. The diminished amount of expert courses exemplifies that Udemy is a good platform to introduce someone to a new subject or avenue of knowledge but will not give anyone any real depth into a subject.
4. Udemy Review – The User Interface
Videos – The course is designed with a list of video lectures on the left side of the screen. When one clicks on a video, viewers can see a list of comments next to it so practitioners can see the questions of other students and the response of the instructor.
Quality – As courses are created by anyone, some instructors are more attentive than others. If an attentive instructor is important to you, research whether an instructor us actively replying to comments as during the course preview one can see the comments and replies for each video.
Interaction – Students can also get in touch with other students to discuss the course material. This can help people to learn from other student’s questions as well as understand that their frustration in learning is not alone. On the right hand side, there is a tab for instructors to share announcements or extra cutting edge material for students to gain a deeper understanding of their subject.
5. Exercises, Homework & Bonus Material
Courses vary widely as to how much supplementary material is given. It may include:
- Extra readings
- Extra videos
Testing? – It depends entirely on the instructor whether there will be extra material or simply a series of videos to watch. Some courses offer tests to review the material yet the passing of the test does not determine whether you are ready to proceed.
Self-discipline – In that, there is no accreditation given, so learners can progress to the next level regardless of performance. This means that Udemy students have to practice their own self-discipline and if they want to retain the information learned, they need to set up their own systems to keep the new knowledge in mind.
6. How to Find a Good Course
It is important to remember that courses on Udemy aren’t checked for quality thus it is up to the user’s discretion to pick a course that will bring value to them. Student’s should:
- Watch the introductory video
- Read the information given about the course
- Review current student’s comments and star ratings
- Explore the courses 5 minute preview
- Read the instructor’s profile
- Check if the course goals match their own ones
Intro video – Each course has an introductory video that serves to advertise and explain what the course is about. The written information provides prospective students with the number of lectures, hours of content, supplementary material and what a student can expect to benefit from in the material.
Preview – The preview allows students 5 minutes to explore and watch any part of the lectures in any course. By watching a preview of the course material one can see if the teaching style of the instructor is a good fit for them. Information is also given on the instructor themselves and why they are qualified (or not so qualified) to teach the information on hand.
Reviews – Students who have taken the course leave their reviews on the course and this can be very informative as to the caliber of the material in the course. If there are many people with positive feedback and the course has a highs star rating, one can be pretty sure it is a pretty great course.
7. Device Compatibility
Every course requires an internet connection to view the videos and download course material. It is accessible for Mac and PC and includes an app that can be viewed on android, iPad and iPhone. Offline use is being supported.
8. Money Back Guarantee
It is never really too much of a risk enrolling in or paying for a course as students are allowed a 30-day money back guarantee provided the payment was made on PayPal or from an account. However, Udemy will not refund a user that used their mobile app to pay.
9. Udemy Review – Pricing
The prices of Udemy courses vary widely. A third of all courses, are in fact, free but paid courses range from $10 to about $200.
Free – Free courses are still allowed yet any paid course must adhere to this range. This move was made to enable the Udemy student society to do more courses in the future. Currently, the pricing and discounting is a bit messy as, if you want to do a course and it is too expensive, it is easy to find a 90% discount on another site or one can simply email the instructor and ask for a discount which you will normally get.
Furthermore, if an instructor wants to give a discount, it can only be one of 50%.
10. Udemy Pros & Cons
Many Free Courses
- Anyone can create a course and share their knowledge
- Wide range of subjects
- Pay for each course individually so no monthly subscriptions
- Courses are not checked for high quality
- Many courses are too short to really provide a proper grasp of the subject
- Assessment is not regulated and often not even a feature of most courses
- Pricing is not regulated
Udemy Review 2016 – Verdict
Udemy (view website) is unique in that it is an online learning platform created for anyone, by anyone. As there are large amounts of varied material, signing up and completing a range of courses will lead to obtaining a great wealth of information.
Learning Value – However, it is imperative that users engage their discretion in picking the best courses, as some courses are not necessarily of a high standard. As prices range from free to about $300, most topics are accessible in some capacity to all people, but as most courses are aimed at beginner level, if you really want to get to grips with deep subject matter, you should know what the course value will be like.
Reading Improvement – If you want to improve your reading and memory performance you may want to check out the Become a SuperLearner 2 course, which I have taken and found to be very effective. Alternatively, we also have a round-up of the best speed reading courses if you want to look elsewhere.
So, is online learning the future? Yes, definitely. The raise of platforms such as Udemy and also Lynda, Coursera, Codecademy, Udacity or Thinkful offer a great chance to bring education to the homes around the globe. That doesn’t mean teachers will obsolete, actually the opposite is true, this review shows that the value of a course will raise or fall with the quality of its instructor. Only choose the best.
What is your experience with Udemy? Please share your opinions int he comments below.
Infographic Udemy Business
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