The explosive growth of online learning should not surprise anyone that has followed education news since the turn of the new millennium. Online education programs allow students to learn in the most favorable environments, such as the comfort of your home or inside of a bustling municipal library. The self-paced curriculum offered by online education programs offers students the flexibility to hold a full time job, while studying before and/or after work. The lower costs of online education programs have transformed how many college students realize their academic dreams.
All of the benefits of an online education have spurred growth in the institutions that offer online learning programs.
One such institution has recently arrived on the online education scene.
An Overview of Udemy
California-based Udemy.com is an online learning marketplace founded and launched by entrepreneurs Gagan Biyani and Oktay Caglar in 2010. The online learning marketplace has witnessed robust growth in just over six years since the institution’s inception. As of May of 2017, more than nine million students are enrolled in 35,000 thousand courses led by expert instructors who specialize in one field of academics. Every Udemy course is taught by downloading on-demand videos. Topics cover a wide variety academic disciplines, including hobbies, business, technology, languages, and personal development.
Initially funded with with $48 million from a round of investing, the co-founders of Udemy quickly secured a substantial amount of startup money to create a technological platform “that allows novice instructors to plan, design, and produce video how-to instructions for almost any subject.” With the mission “to help anybody learn anything online,” Udemy operates on the principle that anyone can teach and share what they have learned. The online learning marketplace targets students and instructors, as well as organizations that utilize online learning to develop employees.
Udemy has attracted more than 10,000 instructors that help add more than 1,000 new courses every month. The quickly growing base of students watches more than 80,000 lectures each day that unfold in 10 different languages within about 190 countries. Udemy offers many free courses, with most classes costing students less than $200. However, some courses, such as “The $400k Crowdfunding Launch Formula” and “How to Trade Stock Options: Profiting in Up and Down Markets” run close to $1,000. Most Udemy courses provide students with a certificate of competition, with a select number of courses providing credits for continuing education. The real value of taking Udemy courses is not the diploma, but the knowledge acquired that helps students professionally.
Key Academic Features of Udemy:
As of 2017, Udemy offers 15 main categories of classes that range from art to computer software development. Up to 15 subcategories comprise the curriculum found within each academic category. In some subcategories, students have up to 30 classes to consider for enrollment. For example, the main Music category contains a subcategory called Instruments. Within the Instruments subcategory, students select among 30 courses listed for piano students. Moreover, many courses include three levels of instruction: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced
Udemy classes share several common attributes that make the online learning marketplace a popular online education venue:
No prerequisite(s) – Students can take any course that interests them, without having to pass a preliminary test or advanced through a preliminary class.
Courses viewed on every type of Internet connected device – You can view Udemy classes on a desktop, laptop tablet, and smartphone.
Free or low tuition – Udemy offers 10% of its classes at no charge to students. Most of the remaining classes cost less than $200.
Immediate access – After enrolling in an Udemy class, students do not have to wait for the first day of school to get started academically. Students have instant access to PDFs, syllabuses, checklists, and guidelines, since the entire curriculum is recorded and available for quick download.
Lifetime class access – Students can retake any part of a class or take an entire class over. This allows students to master difficult topics, regardless of work schedules or other obstacles that disrupt learning.
30-day money back guarantee – students that want to opt out of a class before the end of 30 days receive a full refund for the class.
Access to Student Reviews – Potential students gain access to read student reviews and ratings for virtually every class offered by Udemy. Moreover, several classes offer potential students curriculum previews to help students make class enrollment decisions.
Self-paced – Udemy class lectures range in length from 5 to 15 minutes. After watching any Udemy class lecture, students can replay some or all of the lecture to absorb the information. Self-paced classes often include a number of quizzes that help students determine whether they have mastered the curriculum.
Certificate of Completion – Most of the courses at Udemy award students with certificates of completion. A few classes offer students credit for continuing education. Certificates of certification verify that students have acquired the knowledge to master a class topic.
Experienced Instructors – Udemy instructors invariably have worked in the field that they teach. Practical, hands-on knowledge helps students adapt quickly to their chosen careers. The “been there, done that” approach to instruction teaches students valuable lessons they can use during in their occupations.
Udemy receives virtually universal praise from both students and online learning experts for its well-organized website layout. The websites presents section that once you click, reveal many subsections that immediately give visitors access to what they want to read.
Course headings and subheadings appear in the subsections part of the Udemy website. You click on a class and read a longer description that provides more curriculum details. Udemy also receives high praise for the search tool that works best when website visitors input short phrases, instead typing one word or lengthy phrases. Many reviews of Udemy complain about the abridged instructor biographies, contending prospective students need more information to make sound academic decisions.
The New and Improved New Course Dashboard
Udemy recently unveiled a new course dashboard that includes an updated design, but more important, navigation enhancements that make the website much easier to use. The techies at Udemy did not remove any of the website’s functions. Students navigate the new course dashboard for courses still in the building stage, as well as courses that have received approval for download.
The new Udemy course dashboard operates like a step-by-step guide that uses prompts to move website visitors along. Step-by-step prompts take students through the course development and publishing process. Each course page contains tips and information that allows students to make informed course enrollment decisions. Before you save each course section, you check off the section on the left side of the page. Once the checklist is full, students submit coursework for review.
Udemy operates on the cutting edge of online learning. It will be interesting to see what improvements Udemy has in store for students in the years to come.