Udemy review: the money machine

Udemy is a course marketplace.Listing everything from business, marketing and management skills to cooking, sports, and guitar classes. With over 22,000 courses to look at, you’ll have quite some choice of courses.

Although I am sure there are great quality courses, I think it is difficult to know which one is the best. So many courses have a high number of students, ratings are almost 5 stars independent of courses and pricing is very different although it shouldn’t.

It seems like each instructor puts in the greatest effort in the sales & marketing of the courses, and not in the quality. Instructors choose their prices, ratings almost always shows 5 stars, and Udemy itself gives out massive coupons to sell their courses. I have the impression that the platform is more about sales than quality!

For instructors

Considering the traffic Udemy has, if you know how to teach & if you are looking at making good money, this is a very interesting platform because it has a big audience. Great for good exposure!  Besides time,  it doesn’t cost anything to make the courses. And you don’t have to be academic to be an instructor. The most important is that you know your stuff and that you’re able to communicate it clearly.

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Ease of use

One of the things that are great with Udemy is the search course toolbar. The results, reviews and course students are helpful in choosing your course. Design is good as well. On the other hand, with too much choice, it is difficult to decide on a course. You also feel that you cannot trust the ratings too much (everyone has from either 4- 5 stars, mostly 5). I also think the platform could be a little more intuitive. Often I found myself searching for menus and back buttons. I think loading time can be a bit slow as well.


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Content quality

Although I believe most courses are good, I believe they vary a lot. Every course goes through Udemy’s quality standards and is reviewed by the Udemy course quality assurance team.

I believe there are some interests that are not aligned, that is the quality of content and the business model.

  1. First we have to remember that Udemy is a course Marketplace (the more courses Udemy accepts, the more money they make).
  2. Considering the amount of courses they offer, I doubt they have the possibility to review courses to optimize for quality.
  3. Sales & marketing is done by instructors. Because instructors drive sales, there is little incentive to block lower quality courses as long as the instructor is good at driving sales.

Completeness of features

Video quality is OK and they load very fast which is great! On the other hand, it would be nice if forums were active. Most questions are addressed directly to the instructors and are not solved by others than the instructors. Also, many questions are left unanswered. Team treehouse knows how to engage users with good gamification. Udemy could benefit from their example!

Learning experience

It depends on the quality of the instructors. Classes are mostly video based and provide little resources besides that. I wished there were other resources besides the videos. And I would have wished there were exercises. Take Photoshop courses, I would have enjoyed if the pictures instructors use would be available for students to practice.

Price/ Time

You pay per course, so you can find something for every price. You even have many free courses.

Udemy reviews

And just because classes are free, doesn’t make them poor. Remember that this is a marketplace where price is a marketing tool. A high price doesn’t mean great quality, the same way that a low price doesn’t mean poor quality. How often a course is seen by students depends on instructor’s ability to brand themselves. Many free courses are available because instructors have to start with giving their courses for free to start their marketing and branding.  And you should be careful, course length varies a lot. Some course lasts 30 minutes, and costs 25$. Remember that prices are decided by instructors.

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The most used Photoshop course, as well as the most expensive, is Berin Christian Doru’s course . Whether the quality is that much better, I have no idea. I looked at some of the reviews and looked like someone had gotten paid to write it…

Udemy is good to find relevant courses where you lack competence. But which courses are good is difficult to say. Unfortunately, I feel that this platform is more about the profit than the quality. I read that the three founders had backed down from their leading positions. Typically that happens when founders are constrained by investors and no longer have the freedom to pursue their visions of building something great!

As well, learning experience is not optimized. And instructors could provide some exercises or a photo database to assist classes (especially Photoshop classes). Udemy is a decent eLearning platform, but I wouldn’t take a course on their website unless close acquaintances recommended the course! Hope you enjoyed the Udemy review s and please share if you liked it!

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