A Udemy Review for Instructors

Is Udemy legit?  Is Udemy worth It?  Is Udemy a scam? 

Udemy reviews often attempt to answer these kinds of questions.   Whether you are contemplating becoming a Udemy instructor or you already have courses on Udemy, such questions could make you wonder if you have made a good choice with Udemy as a way to spend your time and earn income. Online Education is becoming more and more widely accepted leading towards online learning platforms to experience a huge boost.

You should have a good idea of how Udemy is viewed from both a consumer and instructor perspective and what are the pro’s and con’s of selling courses on Udemy. This can help you be more strategic in your decisions and manage your expectations as a Udemy instructor.  Traditional Educational Institutions like Universities and Community Colleges are becoming more and more hassle to the regular man especially with the everyday struggle associated with life. This is why Online Learning, thanks to Online Learning Platforms, has become popular both among college students and working people.

Teachinguide has scoured the internet for Udemy reviews, discussions about how valuable Udemy courses are, and whether Udemy courses are any good. We’ve put together some food for thought that we hope will provide some guidance on what to expect as a Udemy instructor or course creator.

 We’ll start with the consumers’ view of Udemy.

Is Udemy Legit? – A Common User Question

Quora and Reddit are  filled with similar questions to this, with many also asking “are Udemy courses any good?”.  Even after several years of high growth, success and brand recognition, some consumers are still unsure whether education platforms (or elearning platform) that provide supposedly valuable content for such low prices is really “legit”. They naturally wonder if Udemy courses are a scam.  Let’s look at some common concerns.

Are Udemy Courses Worth It?

This is an important factor to consider when choosing Udemy as your online course platform – will consumers feel that your course is “worth it”?  This is one reason Teachinguide has promoted the importance of creating high quality instruction in past articles.

One key issue driving this question for consumers of online education is that Udemy course completion certificates are not recognized by employers because Udemy is not an accredited institution.  If you are an instructor working or teaching in a field that lends itself to accreditation, you might consider finding an accreditation association to back up your course.  Here is an example of an accredited Udemy course – Professional Fully Accredited NLP Certification Course. 

Accreditation for just $9.99, or even $99 is something few people could say is not “worth it”.  If you can’t find a way to get an accreditation, depending on your field, the next best step would be to create a course that prepares students to obtain a certification.

There are obviously a lot of other factors that go into a consumer’s determination that a Udemy course is worth it – price being one of them.  Many other factors, such as course quality, engagement and updates, are in your control. Others are not.  The bottom line is that it is important to understand that Udemy is not just a “build it and they will come” platform. Many consumers are skeptical, so do your part to reduce this skepticism.

Online Udemy Review

Given all the success some Udemy instructors have had, which Teachinguide has written about, we were quite surprised when a search turned up quite a few negative reviews and complaints about Udemy being a “scam”.   It’s important to keep in mind that, as with most review sites, it is typically those who have had a problem who go online and leave a review.  Most negative reviews about Udemy seem to revolve around Udemy’s operating platform bugs and poor customer service.

Negative Udemy Review

Some negative online reviews about Udemy included:

All my courses deleted and the same thing happened to my purchase history.  (December 2018)

I placed a course in my shopping cart priced at $10.00. I began to start to pay when I realized that they were trying to charge me $14.99 and that’s the last straw. (December 2018)

I purchased course from Udemy app on 12/12/2018. The bank account got debited but there were no history found in Udemy or in Google play or in DirecPay. (December 2018)

The takeaway here is that if a student reaches out to you with a problem about the Udemy platform, even if you have no power to fix the problem, don’t ignore them.  Instructors need to pressure Udemy to do better by customers, bottom line.

Middle of the Road Udemy Review

Then there are “middle of the road” reviews about Udemy:

There are some really good courses on here. I don’t know why they have to keep changing the cost of the course – just set a price, the same for everyone, and leave it. It is now well enough established they don’t have to annoy people with gimmicks. I have purchased several courses and they were really good. (December 2018)

This course is WONDERFUL! Just what I needed. I do have one issue, however. I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding the instructor. His accent to me makes it difficult to comprehend all the terms. I’m getting used to it now but I could use it a bit clearer. – (February 2018)

Some instructors will answer question and some just never do. A case in point is an instructor Melanie who runs a course How To Sell Your Art Online With Etsy. After several attempts, I contacted Udemy who had this to say, “Unfortunately, every once in a while, an instructor will publish a course but not return to the course often, or immediately respond to messages from students. While we encourage instructors to stay engaged with their students, ultimately, we don’t have control over responsiveness.” – (December 2017)

The mixed reviews about Udemy seem to mostly ding Udemy for their constant and confusing promotions and pricing. The others seem directly related to the lack of instructor quality and engagement.

Positive Udemy Review

Luckily if you are a Udemy instructor, positive reviews about Udemy are plenty. The user ratings of Udemy is so much higher just showcasing how satisfactory the Udemy company is. Here is just a sampling of positive reviews found outside of the Udemy platform:

The E-Color learnings and online course was easy to navigate and I could come and go at times that suited me and my schedule. The presentation and content was great with ease of use, with the contestant temperature checks to ensure that you understand the content before moving forward. This is definitely well worth it.

A really good website to learn new topics I have been learning java from this site and found it really useful.

Have had a great experience so far on Udemy. I’ve signed up to a number of courses and I’m progressing through them at my own pace, which is so handy.

The content on the courses I’ve done has been really good, and I’ve even started using what I’ve learned in my daily work life, which has been great – I’ve been getting a lot of recognition from seniors regarding my work.

Obviously, as an instructor, you must consider that you are in control of how you support your students acquire new skills and your quality of teaching, but, you are not in control of how the Udemy platform operates and the quality of its customer service.   This gives even more reason to focus on engagement with your students, honing their skill sets, providing educational support and providing valuable content if you want to be taken seriously on Udemy.

Udemy Course Ratings

After reading through a lot of reviews, we decided to check the Teachinguide database to find out what percent of courses on Udemy could be viewed “valuable” or “quality”, as indicated by user rating.  We considered a rating of 3 or higher to indicate acceptable to high-quality courses.  38% of over 50,000 Udemy courses in our database were rated 3 or higher.  After the course, most course providers ask their students to rate the course.

If you factor in that a certain amount of courses rated < 3 are in fact lower rated because they are new to Udemy and don’t have enough students to be highly rated, the percent of “quality courses” could edge closer to say, between 40% and 50%.

What this means is that perhaps half, or even most, courses on Udemy are rated rather poorly. And this is likely driving some of those poor reviews online.  What does this mean for instructors?  Well, if you are genuinely trying to produce good quality content in the form of valuable courses and video lectures, you will definitely stand out on Udemy. You will be in an elite group of 38% of instructors who doing a really good job and experiencing success.  Despite the large number of courses on Udemy, if you are a very good instructor, your competition is actually not all that bad!

If you are producing poor quality courses, well then you will pay the price with your ratings. Ratings Systems will definitely distinguish good online course providers from bad ones.

It should be noted that most low rated particular courses in our database have very few enrollments, perhaps in the hundreds, compared to highly rated courses who have thousands of students. So remember, quality matters!

Pros to Using Udemy for Consumers

If any skepticism we uncovered above has you doubting the value of putting your courses on Udemy, have a look at our list of pros for consumers:

Pricing – The old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true on Udemy. Everyone knows that often courses are discounted to < $20. (Teachinguide has a new tool for finding Udemy class coupons.) For that money, it would be really hard to think that even the worst courses don’t provide at least some value. And a “masterclass” of content for just $10? You can’t even purchase a book covering all that material for $10. Udemy is actually great as it features online courses from beginner to advanced helping students learn new skills.

Free courses – Even though some may receive criticism for being soft on content, if you are a consumer wanting to test your interest or capability to learn a new topic Udemy free courses are a perfect way to do so. Use this link to search Teachinguide’s database for current free courses and see for yourself!

Lifetime access – For just $10 consumers have lifetime access to their courses. This means they will always have courses available as long as the Internet lives. The skills developed thanks to Udemy will also stay with you for a lifetime.

On the go learning  –  Consumers can learn when and where they want.  Udemy courses are broken down into neat and short modules that can be consumed here and there if need be. And their Android app makes it possible to learn on the go.

Instructor engagement – students most often can interact with instructors and ask questions.  Many courses offer chat rooms for sharing of questions and ideas.

Thousands of ratings and reviews – you can’t argue with the transparency of ratings and sheer number of reviews for Udemy courses.  Udemy’s ranking engine using top-of-the-line data science also makes sure that those courses that are the best move to the top. This is good for both consumers and instructors.

Updated course content – if you purchase a course on Udemy you can typically expect the content to be updated and improved over time because Udemy allows and encourages instructors to do so. This means that whatever course a student chooses to enrol at, be it Microsoft Excel, Financial Modeling, health and Fitness, Computer Science, Finance and Accounting, or Software Engineering, it will always be updated with the most recent discoveries of the field.

Immense variety – platforms such as Coursera focus on “educational institution” courses.  On Udemy, the sky is really the limit as to what you might find of interest to learn about. This is perhaps the strongest point from a consumer perspective. At $10 a course, which is less than many books cost, a consumer can dabble in a new hobby or improve their skills on an ad-hoc basis in anticipation of a potential career change with no pressure to meet a deadline or make a certain grade.

Certificate of completion – even though most courses on Udemy do not offer accreditation, you still have some proof that you absorbed the knowledge. After the course, students receive Certificates of Completion as proof that they were able to finish the online course. Udemy, as an online alternative to college classes, is definitely a possibility.

Is Udemy “Worth It” for Instructors?

After looking at consumer sentiment towards Udemy, we turned our research to instructor sentiment.  Udemy has a long history of ups and downs with instructors.  Nevertheless, a look on Quora produced, by our guestimates, more positive reviews from instructors than negative ones. They also give a perspective on the pro’s and con’s of being a Udemy instructor.

Positive Udemy Instructor Review

I’ve had a good experience teaching on Udemy and get a small quite regular income from my courses. (May 2018)

Their biggest benefits are their student base, their instructor training and how you don’t have to pay monthly fees. They do some marketing for courses themselves and, in a sense, are their own little search engine for courses. (May 2018)

If you think of creating online courses as learning how to ride a bike I’d say Udemy is learning to ride a bike with training wheels. Personally I’ve had a great experience teaching on Udemy until I outgrew the platform. (November 2018)

Udemy is really a great platform, one can teach anything. Wonderful to be on a platform like this, recording more courses and looking forward to have more students from across the globe. (July 2017)

There are some really good points made in just these few reviews about why Udemy is worth it for instructors – student base, learning, you can teach anything, global students, regular income, etc.

Reviews Showing Pro’s and Con’s

Despite the many positive reviews from instructors, some reviews submitted both pro’s and con’s to being a Udemy instructor.

If you’re interested in creating online courses as a hobby, or even a side business, then go with a hosted platform such as Udemy.  The reason is, as soon as you upload your course you’re probably going to make some money almost instantly. And it may not be a ton of money, but it is going to be something and that can be fun for you as a hobby. Or if you do invest a lot of time and make your course better than your competitors. Then you can make decent amount of money from hosted platforms such as Udemy.

But if you want to create online courses to create a life changing amount of money, then definitely go with self hosted platforms such as Teachable. Even though you have so much more work to do, because you’re in charge of marketing the course yourself, there is much more money to be made. (February 2018)

When I started on Udemy, I didn’t have any audience…It takes marketing to become successful on Udemy now (more so than in 2014). I would definitely recommend Udemy courses for anyone looking to learn anything online…There are many reputable names on the Udemy network (including myself). When it comes to finding quality courses on Udemy, it’s all about looking into the reviews posted and seeing which courses have the most students enrolled. (October 2017)

On the whole, Udemy does seem to be “worth it” – as judged by many comments made straight from instructors’ mouths.

Udemy Website’s Year in Review

Despite many negative reviews about Udemy, the platform just keeps racing ahead.  Here are the stats from Udemy’s own “Udemy 2018 Year in Review” article.  It says “Check out how much we’ve grown in just the last 12 months”:

January 2018December 2018
Students20 million30 million
Instructors30,00042,000
Courses65,000100,000
Course enrollments125 million190 million
Minutes consumed13 million22 million

While these numbers are indeed impressive, if you crunch the numbers a little, Udemy’s average number of students per course offered, and the average enrollments per course are relatively the same year to year (300 and 1900 respectively).  So even though the number of students on Udemy has grown tremendously, so has the number of courses. More reason to focus on creating courses that are competitive!

The General View on Udemy’s Value for Instructors

While there are many exceptions to these suggestions, following are frequently cited reasons to use Udemy as your online teaching platform:

  • Great for those new to teaching – as one instructor on Quora put it, “Udemy is like learning to teach with training wheels on”. The platform really does do a good job of hand-holding you through the entire course creation and sales process. And its extensive ranking, rating, badging, upselling and reviewing mechanisms will teach you quickly what you are doing right or wrong – if you care to learn, that is.
  • No marketing necessary – With its millions and millions of viewers and users, it really does take the headache out of marketing your course.
  • You’ll likely make “something” – Udemy doesn’t advocate poor quality courses, but with the sheer volumes of users, if you make a decent quality course and do some other things right you are likely to make some money.

And here are some cited reasons not to use Udemy:

  • The all too frequent discounting – sure you can opt-out of fixed price promotions, but most Udemy instructors will tell you this is where they make most of their money. So if you do actually have a lot of followers, you may be better off income-wise not sharing your revenue or greatly discounting your courses on Udemy.
  • You don’t “own” your students – it’s hard to build your own community of students outside of the platform.
  • Competition is fierce – As mentioned above, even though the number of students enrolled in Udemy courses keeps growing rapidly, so does the number of instructors and courses.  It is becoming difficult to compete, even for high-quality instructors.  This is why Teachinguide created our tool!

Is Udemy “Worth It” Then?

In the end, and overall, Udemy has good things, bad things, and ugly truths (consumers losing money and courses is simply unacceptable!).  The good things are the opportunity to make money even without teaching experience, and all that that brings personally. Students learn. Even lives can change for the better. The bad things are that Udemy may not serve everyone in the same way. The platform has made some questionable decisions over the years that bring criticism.  The ugly thing is that many consumers receive poor outcomes from Udemy and that hurts instructors. 

It is important to take all of these into consideration as an instructor and decide in fact if Udemy is worth it for you personally. We think on the whole it is.

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