A Comprehensive Udemy Review for Students and Instructors

As high-speed internet access works its way around the globe, the tech community has gotten more and more excited about the promise of online education. Top level courses, taught by the best instructors in the world used to be reserved for the privileged. With online education platforms, these learning opportunities are now available to anyone with an...

As high-speed internet access works its way around the globe, the tech community has gotten more and more excited about the promise of online education. Top level courses, taught by the best instructors in the world used to be reserved for the privileged. With online education platforms, these learning opportunities are now available to anyone with an internet connection and a working computer.

Udemy is an online learning platform that offers in-depth courses for people looking to learn new skills that will aid in their professional development. But it’s just one offering in a crowded field of online learning resources, and many prospective online students (and instructors) may be wondering what sets it apart from others.

In this article, we’ll provide a fair and balanced Udemy review, looking at the quality of courses offered on the platform and how the platform encourages student learning. We’ll also look at how the platform works for instructors and answer some frequently asked questions.

What Is Udemy?

Udemy.com is an online learning platform that allows people to design, develop, and post online courses aimed at professional adults.

Students can find these courses through Udemy or through Google searches. They encourage online learning of new skills, especially skills that can help with professional development. Course offerings can cover anything from how to effectively manage a team, to how to use Microsoft Office, to how to do web development with Python.

Udemy allows students to catch up on coursework via Android or Apple devices. (You can read more about Udemy’s various platforms and features here.) Courses can be a mix of online videos of lectures, worksheets, and readings.

What sets Udemy apart from some of its competitors is that it encourages educators to post courses and charge students tuition for each individual course. Coursera and Skillshare, on the other hand, push students towards subscriptions. Khan Academy, another competitor, is free.

Udemy Review for Students

There are over 100,000 Udemy courses available on the platform, so it’s hard to summarize the effectiveness of all the courses with broad strokes. Like any large online platform, there is excellent content, good content, and not so good content. The key is knowing how to find the good stuff.

Find the Best Courses

While having so many courses may seem overwhelming, the site does try to make it easy to find the best courses available. The Udemy review settings allow you to easily see the course quality when searching for a course, and push higher quality courses to the top of search results.

Here’s an example of a Udemy search:

Udemy review: course search results on the Udemy site

As you can see, courses are evaluated on a five-star rating system, which is clearly displayed next to the results, along with the number of student reviews compiled. If you click on the course itself, you can scroll down and then read both positive and negative reviews in more depth. A course with a higher Udemy review rating from more students will likely be a better course to invest in.

The student reviews let the users create a meritocracy where you can quickly sort through a variety of courses and find the best ones available.

Putting In the Work

Like anything, what you get out of these courses is often reliant on what you put in. Udemy courses have no deadlines and no set schedules. You sign up for the courses you like and take them at a pace you feel comfortable with. Udemy courses are available 24/7, which makes them convenient to take whenever you like, but there are no one-on-one meetings with instructors to hold you accountable.

If you are the type of person who can dive into a subject and stay on task, Udemy’s wide range of courses should be fantastic for you. And while Udemy does charge for some of its best courses, some students say that paying for the course gives them an incentive to take it more seriously and complete it.

Are Udemy Courses Worth the Money?

While there are plenty of free courses available on Udemy, there are also courses that require payment. Some sites like Skillshare and Coursera offer subscriptions, but Udemy asks students to pay for individual courses, so you’re only paying for exactly what you need.

This can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on why you’re interested in online learning. If you have a wide range of topics that interest you and are always eager to learn new things, a subscription to a site like Skillshare — where you can study up on DSLR photography in the morning and watch a lecture on giving the perfect Powerpoint presentation in the afternoon — might make more sense.

Udemy courses, on the other hand, tend to be much more in depth and offer people looking to develop professional skills a chance to dive deep into a topic. For $19, you could take a coding masterclass with 42 hours of instruction spread across 228 mini lectures. If you’re looking to develop a new skill and master it, Udemy courses can be an effective way to spend your money.

Udemy Review for Instructors

Udemy has proven to be great for students with initiative who are driven to learn about a new topic. But what about instructors?

While many platforms offer instructors some form of compensation for designing and building courses, Udemy allows instructors to charge a tuition fee for each and every student who takes the course. Based on many a Udemy review, this can be both good and bad.

If you design a course that becomes the authoritative course on a given topic and earns tons of sign ups, you can make quite a bit of money. If the course doesn’t do well and struggles to find an audience, however, it can be tough to recoup the time and energy that went into making the course.

Udemy Course Requirements

Udemy courses are generally video based. The best courses offer engaging lectures that show a deep knowledge of a topic, and supplement those with exercises and assignments that build a rich learning experience for the students.

To ensure that these courses meet a standard of quality, Udemy insists that courses have:

  • At least 30 minutes of video content
  • At least 5 lectures or “learning modules”

Learning modules are a Udemy feature that allows you to test students on a topic or give them a space to practice coding, writing in a foreign language, or working out SAT math questions.

Additionally, Udemy lets instructors create an entire course to test students on a given topic. These Practice Test courses are made up solely of practice questions and are meant as a follow-up to a lecture-based course. (Learn more about Practice Test courses on the Udemy site.)

How Udemy Pays Instructors

Udemy is unique among websites in that it allows online instructors to post courses with the intent of earning money via student tuition.

Anyone can post free courses to the platform. To charge students a fee for your courses, however, you must be registered as a Premium Instructor. The good thing is: Applying to become a Premium Instructor is free, and the site says you’ll usually get a decision within two business days.

How to Become a Premium Instructor

To apply to become a Premium Instructor, you have to start building a course. Once you’ve begun the process, you can click on “Price & Coupons” on the course management page.

There, you’ll see an option to click to complete your Premium Instructor application.

It looks like this on the site:

Udemy review: the webpage to sign up to be a premium instructor

After you’ve clicked the link, you’ll be prompted to provide:

  • Your name
  • A description of your expertise
  • A short bio
  • A billing address
  • A phone number
  • A profile picture

Accept the terms and conditions, and all that’s left to do is choose your payout method. Udemy offers money via PayPal or Payoneer. To get paid, you’ll need to set up an account with one of those platforms. Do that and you’re all set to earn.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve covered Udemy for students and instructors and given an overview of the platform. Let’s get to some frequently asked questions about the site.

1. What is the revenue sharing model for instructors?

What’s nice about Udemy is they’ve built a revenue sharing model that makes sense: Basically, if you bring in the student and they sign up with your instructor code, you get to keep the vast majority (97%) of the tuition fees. If the student is brought in via a Udemy search or via a paid promotional campaign from Udemy, they will take a bigger cut (50-50 via search, and 25-75 to the instructor and Udemy, respectively, in paid user acquisition).

If you have a large social media following and can promote your course content to a wide audience, selling courses through a company like Udemy allows a clean platform to post your course and the chance to keep almost all of the fees from the students you bring in.

2. As a student, can you get a refund if the course isn‘t what you’re looking for?

Yes. Udemy courses can be refunded within 30 days. You can make a request for a refund or learn more about their policy at their website.

3. What is Udemy for Business?

Udemy for Business is a subscription model aimed at large companies who want to give their employees an online learning resource. Companies like Lyft, Century 21, General Mills and more offer Udemy to their employees as a perk of working there. Learn more at Udemy for Business.

Getting the Most Out of Udemy

Udemy can provide a high-quality learning experience for students who are looking to master a skill and dive deeply into a topic. While it may not make the most sense for casual learners looking to take online courses on a number of topics, Udemy can be a great platform for people seeking to learn a new skill to help with their professional development.

Likewise, if you’re an expert on an in-demand subject matter, you can bring in money and start a nice side hustle by offering your own courses through Udemy. We hope this comprehensive Udemy review helped you take your learning to the next level.
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Owner of Gigworker.com 

Brett Helling is the owner of Gigworker.com. Since an early age, he has started business ventures and worked various side hustles in many different niches. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber and Lyft. In 2014 he started a website to share his experiences with other drivers, which has now become Ridester.com. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche by building and growing Gigworker.com. As the site grows, his insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more.

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