Finding an affordable, reliable means for professional development courses online can be trying. Some online universities can be a wise option, but the price they charge might be astounding. There are other options available, though. One of these options is Udemy, a one-stop shop for online courses of all kinds.
What is Udemy?
According to the about section of Udemy’s website, this service is a “global marketplace for learning and teaching online [ . . . ]” It pairs together expert instructors with students looking to improve various skills. These students do not have to be seeking a certification. They can simply be professionals looking for developmental and supplemental classes to enhance skills they already have. For some professionals who are required to undertake developmental courses to maintain a certification, this “global marketplace” can be a miracle. Currently, Udemy offers over 22,000 courses.
They offer a huge range of topics from learning to code, Photoshop training, learning music and many many more. In this Udemy review, I’ll break down the core subjects so it’s much easier to see what they have on offer. What I like about Udemy is their one-time fee per subject, sometimes free. You can even teach a course yourself. Udemy now has over 8,000 courses covering a huge amount of courses. It would be beyond the scope of this review to try and cover each one so I’ll pick my favorites along with some random courses to show you what the Udemy courses are like. Let’s get started with this Udemy review.
While I’ll focus on the courses I’m interested in there’s a huge range of courses that I just can’t cover. To find out more about different subjects in Udemy use their browse feature to help drill down into the courses you’re looking for.
The bottom of the post will show inside Udemy and what you’ll be working with.
As mentioned earlier Udemy offers a wide range of courses from the above categories. For the purpose of this Udemy analysis, I’ll focus on the category which I’m most interested in, technology. These are the most popular courses at the time of writing. As you can see there’s a wide range of courses to suit whatever subject you’re interested in. As well as a one-off payment, Udemy also offers free courses which are a great way to test the water in a subject to see if you wish to progress further.
Although the teaching style will differ from course to course I wanted to try and show you a video of Udemy which will help you decide if this method of learning is for you.
But let’s look in more depth for the Udemy courses with the following subject.
- Over 238 lectures and 41 hours of content
- 8 Chapters covering the most popular programming languages in Web Development nowadays
- More than 220 video lectures!
- Final Projects for each Chapter like creating a Basic Static Website, build a CRUD SYSTEM test site with PHP and MySQL, build a fully functional Register/Login system with PHP, MySQL, AJAX and jQuery and more
- Each Final Project will have the source code available for download
The pricing is excellent, for $200 you get access to all of this but for a one off fee and lifetime updates it’s hard to find a similar course on the Internet that’s so in depth and constantly updated as technology progresses.
One time fee vs continual learning
Although Udemy offer a wide range of course for a one-time fee, many of the courses e.g learning code will only give you a sample of how to become a web developer etc. To complete your learning you’ll either need to advance on your own through resources on the web or get more courses to complete your learning. While this doesn’t apply to some courses, e.g dog training others you’ll have to decide if your one-time investment will cover what you want to learn.
If you’re struggling to decide where to go next I’ll cover some courses that work well together depending on the subject you wish to learn.
Web Development Courses
The following courses will work together to develop your knowledge as a web developer:
Become a Certified Web Developer – 183 lectures – 12 hours of content
Learn Node.js by Example – 28 lectures – 3 hours of content
iOS Development Code Camp – 136 lectures – 13.5 hours of content
Internet Marketing Courses
Local Marketing Blue Print – Presented by ShoeMoney 46 lectures – 4.5 hours of content
The ClickMinded Search Engine Optimization Training Course 66 lectures – 5 hours of content
In my opinion, these are the courses that will work well together depending on the subject you wish to learn. As discussed above, Udemy offers just too many different courses for me to cover them all, thus, I’ve focused on the topics that interest me.
Although Udemy on time fee is pretty attractive to development your skills, you’ll have to ask yourself just how much learning would be involved to get to where you want to go. If using Udemy exclusively it could get pretty expensive. Either way, use the reviews on the Udemy page to see what others are saying. But you will find that most of the courses are in-depth and will be helpful towards your learning depending on where you wish to go.
Once you sign up for a course you’ll see these listed in the my courses section and it will look like this:
These are the courses that I’m currently taking.
Coding for entrepreneurs – excellent
When you start your course you’ll see all the videos you’ll learn like the following for the Coding for entrepreneurs course I’m taking.
Each one is a video on the course. It’s a good way to see how much of the course you have left and to see how far you are progressing. The section on the right is where you can ask your teacher any questions if you get stuck or chat to other people studying the course.
The video section looks like the following screenshot:
The videos have the option of 720p or 360p and as you can see the right sidebar you get 3 options. Materials, Questions, Notes.
In these sections, if the video has any materials to accompany it you’ll find this in the materials section.
One of the most helpful tabs is the questions area. You’ll see questions from students who got stuck on the video and hopefully you’ll see a solution to the problem helping your learning further.
Many online universities charge fees per course hour taken. For graduate level courses, this fee can cost hundreds of dollars for just one credit hour, which is alarming when most courses consist of three or four credit hours each. Also, these fees do not include the price of textbooks or other materials that might be needed. Udemy, on the other hand, charges one, flat fee for all courses. This fee is only paid once for a lifetime of use. This fee is only $200.00 per subject.
The Downside to One Price
Although Udemy offers a wide range of courses for a one-time fee, many of the courses will only give you sample lessons. To complete your learning, you will either need to advance on your own through resources on the web or get more courses to complete your learning. While this situation does not apply to some courses, others require a decision of whether or not your one-time investment will cover what you want to learn.
Many subjects are available in this learning space. Some examples of subjects covered by Udemy include the following:
- Arts and Photography
- Crafts and Hobbies
- Health and Fitness
- Math and Science
- Social Sciences
There are too many courses to cover in one setting. They all are in depth and offer a wide variety of courses within each subject for various skill levels a person may possess.
Udemy is not necessarily the best idea for people who need a lot of guidance in teaching. Most of the courses follow a self-teaching module. Therefore, many students can register for the same course, which means the experts leading the course might have to split their attention multiple ways. Therefore, they may not be able to devote individual attention to a student who cannot start off with teaching themselves alone.
Ease of Use
The course search toolbar is one of the greatest assets Udemy has. It allows access to results, reviews, and course students in a way that is helpful in choosing a course. On the other hand, with too many choices, it can be difficult to decide on which exact course to take. The rating system seems to be unreliable, too, as most classes have four and five-star ratings.
The menu and other bars can be difficult to navigate as well. Buttons and back buttons are not always streamlined, so it can be difficult to acclimate to the layout. This concern is something that can certainly be improved upon in the future.
Why So Many Stars?
Most of the courses claim to be worthwhile, especially given their four and five-star ratings that were previously mentioned. Udemy has certain quality standards that courses must meet to be published through their marketplace. Therefore, a course quality assurance team exists to make sure all courses meet these standards. This team’s existence creates a concern for whether or not some interests that are aligned since content quality might not exactly match what is laid out in Udemy’s business model. There are a few things that complicate this situation.
First of all, Udemy runs as a marketplace, so the more courses they accept, then there is a greater chance they will make a profit. There is also a concern of how well these courses are being reviewed. What is being left in the dust regarding quality for the sake of having enough courses to make money from? The answer to this question is unclear. Finally, another key thing to remember is that sales and marketing are handled by course instructors because they are the ones who drive sales. Hence, much incentive does not exist to prevent lower quality courses from existing in the marketplace if the instructor succeeds at driving sales.
Udemy is a platform worth considering for people who are looking to add on to skills they already have. For people wanting to explore hobbies or topics for personal use, the fee is well worth the time invested for the sake of the self-teaching module. There are many things that this service can improve upon, though, and the business model is off to a great start on offering superb services in the future.