Udemy is one of the world’s most popular online learning platforms.
It boasts a library of over 100,000 courses, and most offered at very reasonable prices.
The low prices and wide choice of courses leads many to ask: is Udemy worth it?
Udemy can be worth it if you select reputable courses on simple topics, and especially during their regular sales promotions. But you really need to do your research, since course quality and value can vary greatly from one course to the next on this platform.
In this article, I’ll go over the pros and cons of Udemy and let you know if I ultimately think it’s worth it or not.
I’ll evaluate the platform based on price, course quality, user experience, and other factors.
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If you’re looking to pick up a new skill, Udemy might be a great place to learn it.
Before I go into more detail, here is a quick summary of some pros and cons of this e-learning platform to consider.
I think that Udemy may or may not be worth it for you, depending on what you want out of an online course.
As a result, you’re likely to hear a lot of conflicting opinions online about the platform.
If you pick some of the best Udemy courses, you’ll find high-quality courses with lots of 4 or 5 star reviews, and you’ll most likely be pleased with your learning experience.
There are some very experienced tutors who teach on the platform and know how to structure their courses, film nice looking lessons and get across their point without waffling.
Udemy is often best for learning more basic skills that can be taught in a couple of hours. It’s not the ideal platform for complicated topics that take weeks or months to learn.
So Udemy might be worth checking out if you want to learn the essentials of Photoshop, or how to speed read.
I wouldn’t rely on Udemy courses to learn an entire programming language, or any similar all-encompassing topic, although you can certainly find these kinds of courses offered on the platform.
Udemy courses are inexpensive and great at teaching basic skills. But they also don’t hold much weight if you want something to put on your resume or CV.
Udemy as a platform is quite well established. They’ve been around since 2010 and have over 30 million members. This makes them one of the largest e-learning platforms around.
So while the platform does offer many low-quality courses that users may be unhappy with, that’s more on individual course instructors rather than Udemy themselves.
Udemy is a legitimate course platform as a whole, and wouldn’t go as far as some reviewers who may even call it a scam.
Udemy fits a very specific niche. It provides important skills to people who may not be able to afford more expensive forms of education or courses.
If that sounds like you, then it may be a course platform worth investigating.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to teach a course on Udemy, then check out our guide: Is Udemy Worth It For Instructors?
Unlike some other online course platforms that use a monthly subscription model, you need to pay for each course on Udemy individually.
Most quality Udemy courses are in the $100 – $200 price range. Although courses range in price from completely free up to several hundred dollars.
Udemy doesn’t price its courses itself. Instead, it’s left up to course instructors to price their own courses.
Generally there’s a pretty good correlation between the price of a course, and the length or quality of material that you’ll receive as a result. Although prices do vary.
There are even free courses on Udemy. While a lot of the free courses available are not much more than thinly-veiled upsells for other courses or products, there are some good ones that are worth checking out.
Some instructors are just looking to make a name for themselves or have a course temporarily free as a promotion, which can actually deliver great value.
It’s worth noting that Udemy frequently has sales where courses go on sale at steep discounts. I have seen courses that normally sell for $100 or more on sale for as much as 90% off.
Either Udemy or individual instructors can put courses on sale, and this tends to happen quite often.
So it may even be worth waiting for a sale, rather than immediately buying a course at full price.
For most 4 or 5 star reviews, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them at a $10 price point. But at full price for $100 or more, it becomes a much tougher decision.
All in all, you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to Udemy. As long as you do a bit of due diligence and read course reviews before purchasing.
Best value for money mostly comes from courses in the $100 – $200 range with a 4.5 star or higher rating.
If you take advantage of Udemy’s frequent 90% off sales, it’s hard to go wrong picking up lifetime access to an online class for $10.
When you’re thinking about buying a course on Udemy, there’s one important thing to keep in mind.
It’s simply a course marketplace where anyone can sign up and begin selling courses, as opposed to a curated and carefully reviewed selection.
So don’t expect Udemy to police course content for you. With over 100,000 courses on their platform, it’s simply impossible for Udemy to quality check all of the material that’s for sale.
So I would take the same approach as shopping on other sites where users can list their own products like eBay or Etsy, and take a more skeptical “buyer beware” approach to what the platform has on offer.
Some Udemy courses are taught by YouTubers, online marketers, or other public figures who have a positive reputation.
If you’re buying a course from someone well-known like that, chances are that you’ll get your money’s worth in terms of course quality.
If you don’t recognize the person teaching a course, take some time to look through the course curriculum.
Look through several of the course reviews, including both 5-star and 1-star reviews to see both sides of the spectrum.
A little investigation should tell you how much content is included in the course, and if the quality is going to be worth the price.
Udemy does also offer a 30 day refund policy on all courses. So even if you do purchase a course and it ends up being a dud, there’s still a way to submit a request for a refund and get your money back.
You can compare Udemy competitors and learn about alternatives here.
Udemy is easy to navigate and find the type of courses that you’re looking for.
You can enter keywords into a search bar, or browse through various categories using drop-down menus if you aren’t completely sure what you’re looking for.
Once you’re on a course page, there is lots of useful information available to you.
You can see the review of the course and how many ratings it has, and how many students have enrolled.
Each page includes a “What you’ll learn” box that explains the outcomes that you can expect to take away from the course. There is also a video preview for every course that you can watch.
A “requirements” section will let you know if there are any prerequisites or prep work that should be done before enrolling in the course. And a detailed description will let you know what’s included.
Some course pages may provide you with a full syllabus of course content, including the title and length of each lecture included in the course.
Every course also tells you how many hours of on-demand video is included, as well as how many downloadable resources you’ll receive as well.
When you go to check out and pay for a course, you’ll be met with the kind of process you’d expect when making any online purchase.
You just add the courses that you want to your cart. Then sign in to your existing account, or register if you don’t have one.
Pick a payment method and complete the transaction. And then you’ll instantly have access to your course to start learning right away.
Once you’re enrolled in a course, accessing the course goes smoothly as well.
From a technical perspective, accessing video content and any downloadable content all performs as expected. You can navigate through everything without much trouble.
Udemy scores quite low when it comes to engagement. It’s a very self-directed way of learning, and you won’t really have interaction with anyone else.
So you’ll have to work through the course material on your own.
There are no quizzes or final exams on Udemy. As long as you watch all of the course material, you receive a certificate of completion at the end.
So it’s hard to evaluate how much you’ve actually learned from a particular course and will be able to apply.
You may or may not be able to ask questions of your instructor if you run into problems. It will largely vary from course to course.
Some instructors will be great at interacting with their students. While others will simply upload their course, never to be heard from again.
However, some courses do offer chat rooms where students can share ideas and help with each other’s questions.
If you’re okay with self-directed learning, then Udemy will be an okay platform for you.
But if you know that you need more support and a more interactive learning experience, then it may not be the best choice for you.
Udemy is one of the leading e-learning platforms when it comes to variety of content.
With over 100,000 courses, it’s hard to do a search for nearly anything and not come up with a result.
Some online course platforms like Skillshare focus on particular creative topics. While others like Coursera take a more formal and educational approach.
But there is really no limit to the types of courses that you can find on Udemy. Everything from knitting to biology to spirituality is available to learn about.
With courses on sale for as low as $10, you can look at Udemy courses almost like buying a book.
So it’s a great way to learn about a hobby or skill you’re interested in, without making a huge monetary or time commitment.
Udemy does offer a certificate of completion for all of their courses. However, these certificates aren’t accredited by any educational institutions or other organizations.
So while you have some proof of completing a Udemy course, it’s hard to say if that really has much value.
On a CV or resume, listing a Udemy course probably won’t hold much weight with prospective employers.
So I would look at Udemy more as a way to pick up specific skills or knowledge for yourself, instead of as a way to prove your credentials to others.
Some e-learning platforms may have specific start and end dates for their sessions. So you could need to sign up and potentially wait weeks until your class starts.
Udemy isn’t like this. All of their courses are on-demand and immediately available when you buy them.
You get all of the course material upfront as soon as you make your purchase, and can work through it at your own pace.
This offers a lot of flexibility. Even if you work or have a family, you can fit Udemy courses into your own schedule.
If you’ve got an extra free hour in the evenings or weekend, you have time to work through a Udemy course at your own pace.
You can plan your course time around the rest of your day, instead of the other way around. You also don’t have to worry about commuting like with in-person education.
Udemy allows instructors to decide if they want their course to be available offline. If this is enabled, you can even learn on the go while you don’t have an internet connection.
The Udemy app allows you to download individual lectures, or even an entire course for offline viewing. The app must be used offline, due to privacy concerns.
If you have internet access, you can use Udemy on your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. That gives you a lot of freedom to learn anywhere that you have WiFi access or data available.
Overall, Udemy offers great flexibility for people looking to learn at their own pace by themselves.
Beginners and those who are new to a particular topic are likely to get the most value out of Udemy courses.
But that isn’t to say that people with intermediate or advanced knowledge of a particular subject can’t get some value out of the platform as well.
There are a lot of industries where constant learning is necessary. Particularly when technology is involved.
Whether you’re a programmer, or just a business person trying to keep up with new software in your field that is coming out.
So Udemy can be a great way to brush up on your old skills and bring them up to date with the latest knowledge in your field.
Instead of making a huge career change all at once, Udemy is one way that you might opt to slowly pick up new knowledge and skills over time.
That could potentially make you more valuable both to your existing employer, and also to future job prospects.
Just be sure to read course descriptions carefully to ensure they aren’t intended for beginners, or full of material that you already know.
There are many sites like Udemy that could be worth checking out depending on what it is that you want to learn.
There are options like Skillshare, which offers similar types of courses but on a monthly subscription basis.
And there are platforms like Coursera, Lynda, Udacity or edX which all offer more structured learning, in-depth courses and certificates.
They key question to ask yourself is what exactly is it that you want to learn, then base your decision of e learning platform on this.
-> Check out our complete guide to the best online learning platforms
-> Compare Udemy vs Skillshare
-> Compare Udemy vs Udacity
-> Compare Udemy vs Coursera
-> Compare Udemy vs Lynda
-> Compare Udemy vs Pluralsight
Everyone will have a different experience with Udemy. Depending on what subject and course you’re studying, what you expect out of it, your learning style, and other factors.
However, overall I’d say Udemy is a worthwhile way to learn online. Most users seem to be satisfied with the course material on the platform.
And the company seems keen to improve the learning experience of students.
Before you sign up for a Udemy course, just make sure to review the ratings. That will give you a good impression of whether a specific course is worth it or not, more than anything else.
If you manage to get a course during one of Udemy’s frequent 90% off sales, it’s hard not to think that you’d get at least $10 worth of value out of many of the courses available.
Just like with books or any other learning medium, there are good and bad Udemy courses, so you’ll need to filter through.
Worst case though, the platform does offer a 30 day refund policy unless you’ve downloaded every lesson in the course. So if you find a course that you like, I think Udemy is worth giving a try.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.
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