Udemy Review: Learn New Skills Online with 130,000+ Courses Available

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: August 25, 2021  •  14 min read  •  Reviews
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Udemy is an online learning website that currently has 130,000 video courses on a variety of topics. Udemy is also a platform for instructors who want to create and sell courses. With so many topics available, Udemy is a good resource for students and instructors. It’s definitely worth considering for anyone in the market to take a course or teach one.

Udemy.com Review

Udemy Courses

Udemy has thousands of courses on a variety of topics. Course categories include:

Accounting and Finance Marketing
Office Productivity
Personal Development
Health and Fitness Photography
IT and Software Teaching

Main categories are then grouped into subcategories. For example, the music category might contain a subcategory for learning to read music or play the harmonica.

Current Top 15 Udemy Courses

  1. Python
  2. AWS Certification
  3. Excel
  4. Web Development
  5. Data Science
  6. JavaScript
  7. Microsoft Certification
  8. Unity
  9. Machine Learning
  10. React
  11. Java
  12. SQL
  13. Ethical Hacking
  14. AWS Certified Solutions Architect
  15. C#

Udemy Courses: What to Expect

Courses are taught via video. When students enroll in a course, they are given access to all the course videos. Students can then watch the videos whenever they choose.

Most courses start with an introduction from the instructor. As the course progresses, the instructor continues to teach the subject matter. Some instructors provide worksheets, projects, and other material to accompany the teaching.

It’s worth noting that some courses are better than others. There are courses where the instructors genuinely want to teach the subject. On the other hand, some instructors are clearly there to promote their own business without teaching anything of substance.

Student reviews and ratings can help avoid questionable courses. Before enrolling in a course, make sure to read what former students have to say.

Creating an Udemy account is simple. All it takes is a name, email, and password. After creating an account, a student can search for courses of interest.

For example, a student interested in photography can do a broad search using the word photography. That search will return several subcategories, including digital photography, portrait photography, commercial photography, plus photography and video.

After choosing a main category, the student can then choose the subcategory that matches their interest. For example, the digital photography subcategory has courses on iPhone photography, digital photography for beginners, and night photography.

Each course description includes several details about the course. Take the GIMP 2.10 Masterclass, for example.

Then what you’ll learn section highlights what students learn in the course. For the GIMP course, students learn things such as how to master GIMP, how to use the GIMP toolbox, editing photographs, and more.

The requirements section lists the requirements – if any – for the course. The GIMP course requires prior experience with GIMP and taking photos and uploading them to a computer.

The detailed course description provides additional details about the course. This area often contains an outline highlighting everything students will learn in the course. And the course content section lists the videos available in the course.

Each course also includes an information box under the title of “this course includes.” That area provides even more details about the course.

The GIMP 2.10 Masterclass info box informs students that the instructor makes assignments, the course is 32-hours long, there are 68 resources available for download, the course is accessible via mobile device or television, and a certificate of completion is provided.

The course videos are usually tutorials, lectures, or a combination of both. Course videos are split into groups, and videos are generally less than 10 minutes long.

The course videos are short enough so that students can learn without getting bored. And since videos are split into sections, it’s easy for students to skip a video if they already know the information.

Udemy has a video player that will feel familiar to anyone who frequents YouTube. The Udemy player has volume controls, speed controls, closed captioning, and options to adjust the video quality.

Student Interactions

Each course has a section where students can ask questions and get answers from the instructor. Other students in the course can up-vote any question they feel deserves attention. There’s also an announcements section is where the instructor can share information with students.

Interaction between students and the instructor varies by course. Some instructors welcome the opportunity to answer questions that students ask. But some instructors ignore questions for whatever reason.

Courses that encourage student participation are often the most interactive. For example, students are often asked to share their work in drawing or graphic design courses. Udemy makes it possible for students to upload files that they can share with others in the course.

Udemy Access for Students

Udemy doesn’t have a subscription plan for individuals. Students must purchase courses on a one-by-one basis. However, a business subscription is available for business owners who want to use Udemy for employee training.

The business subscription provides unlimited access to more than 5,000 of the most popular courses on Udemy. A business subscription requires a group of at least five people. The maximum group size for a basic business subscription is 20 people.

Paying for Courses

Courses are available on an individual basis. Offering courses this way makes it possible for students to take any course they want without worrying about a subscription. Instructors also have better control over pricing their own courses based on length and content.

Anyone who is part of a business account gains access to several courses for the cost of the subscription. However, only certain courses are available via a business subscription. The courses available are mostly in the areas of technical and professional skills development.

For example, business subscribers will find courses on marketing, IT operations, computer programming, software tutorials, personal development, and business leadership. Courses on drawing, adult coloring, photography, and knitting are generally not included in the business subscription.

The business plan is primarily for organizations that want to train their staff. For example, a business might want to train a group of employees to use Microsoft Excel. Or perhaps a group of employees needs to refresh their Python programming skills.

Two business plans are available:

  1. The basic team subscription is currently $360 per-person per-year. The basic plan is recommended for teams consisting of five up to 20 people. Business owners can try a free 14-day trial of this plan before committing to the subscription.
  2. The enterprise account is a custom business plan based on any particular business’s size and needs. The plan also gives business owners more control over the subscription.

For example, the enterprise plan allows a manager or administrator to assign courses to specific employees. It’s also possible to track courses to see employee progress.

Udemy for Instructors

Just about anyone with something to teach can create a course for Udemy. The website offers tips on how to create a good course that sells. There are also keyword and topic search data provided to give instructors ideas about things that are currently popular among students on Udemy.

Udemy also tells instructors the number of courses in each category. There’s also information that lets instructors know if courses in a certain topic outweigh the demand.

Information also includes the average amount of income an instructor can expect from a course. Anyone thinking of creating a Udemy course should make use of this information before getting started.

Udemy for Business – In-Demand Topics

Udemy maintains a list of the most in-demand topics as requested by their business subscribers. The top 10 most in-demand topics are:

  1. ISACA Certification
  2. Informatica PowerCenter
  3. Adobe Experience Manager
  4. Red Hat Certification
  5. SAP Hana
  6. Apache SOLR
  7. ISC2 Certification
  8. Adobe Experience Manager (Developer)
  9. Microservice Security
  10. PCI DSS

Udemy Instructors and Earnings

Instructors are independent contractors. Udemy doesn’t actually employ them, but they can offer their courses through the Udemy platform.

Several factors determine a Udemy instructor’s earnings, including the course’s price and the number of students who’ve enrolled in the course. However, there are additional things an instructor should take into consideration.

If a student enrolls after receiving a referral code from the instructor, then the instructor gets 97 percent of revenue from that enrollment. However, if a student enrolls without a referral code, the instructor gets 50 percent of the enrollment revenue.

If a student uses the Udemy mobile app and pays for a course via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, those services get a portion of the sale. That means the instructor will make less than if the student enrolled via the Udemy website.

Earnings are calculated differently for courses included in the business subscription. Instructors are paid based on how long a subscriber views their course. The total minutes viewed are converted into a percentage. That percentage is what the instructor earns out of the Udemy business subscription earnings for the month.

Prohibited Courses

Some course topics are off-limits with Udemy. If Udemy thinks the subject matter is harmful or offensive, the course will not pass the quality review process.

Udemy recommends contacting their Trust & Safety team before building a course on a restricted topic. Courses in restricted topics are allowed, but it depends on what’s specifically included in the course.

Udemy Restricted Topics

  1. Sexuality. Explicit content or content that implies sexual activity isn’t allowed. Courses about reproductive health and intimate relationships are allowed as long as there’s no suggestive or explicit content.

For example, a course about sex toys or sexual techniques wouldn’t pass the review process. But a course about safe sex or sexual consent would likely pass review.

  1. Nudity. Courses can include nudity, but only under certain circumstances. Nudity is acceptable if it’s within an academic, artistic, or medical context.

For example, a drawing course that includes nude figure drawing is acceptable. Nudity is also allowed in a course such as anatomical illustrations or as part of medical footage. But a course on a subject such as body art or naked yoga wouldn’t pass the review process.

  1. Romantic Relationships. Courses that focus on dating, attraction, and flirtation aren’t allowed. A marriage counseling course is acceptable, but a course that encourages negativity between people is unacceptable.
  1. Weapons. Udemy doesn’t allow any courses that teach how to make, handle, or use guns as a weapon – including air guns and BB guns. However, a course on a topic such as disarming an attacker is allowed.
  1. Bodily Harm and Violence. Courses promoting dangerous activity or behavior are prohibited. If the course can result in injury, then it’s not allowed.

Prohibited courses in this category include self-harm, drug abuse, unhealthy weight-loss or weight-gain techniques, extreme body modification, and courses encouraging physical violence. However, a topic such as recovering from substance abuse or performing martial arts is allowed.

  1. Cruelty to Animals. Courses that encourage animal cruelty are prohibited. Any course concerning livestock, pets, game, or any animal must adhere to animal welfare guidelines.
  1. Discrimination. Content is prohibited that encourages discrimination based on a group characteristic. Group characteristics include race, religion, gender, nationality, disability, sex, and sexual orientation.
  1. Unethical Activity. Courses that encourage illegal activity are prohibited. Even if the activity is legal in the instructor’s location, it’s still not allowed on Udemy.

For example, marijuana use is legal in some parts of the United States. But since it’s not legal in every state, courses about marijuana use aren’t allowed on Udemy. Courses on forms of harassment – such as stalking or doxxing – are prohibited as well.

  1. Misleading Content. Courses that purposely share misinformation are prohibited. Udemy also prohibits courses that promote ideas that are in direct opposition to the academic, scientific, and medical communities.

For example, a course discouraging people from taking a vaccine or a course promoting conspiracy theories wouldn’t pass the review process.

Inappropriate and Sensitive Language or Topics

Udemy has students and customers from all walks of life. When evaluating courses for website inclusion, Udemy looks at how the course will affect users.

Not only does Udemy look at the topic being presented, but also at how the topic is presented. Content that Udemy considers offensive, inflammatory, or insensitive will get a course rejected.

Courses for Young Students

Udemy doesn’t generally offer courses for children. Anyone under the age of consent in their country isn’t allowed on Udemy. Anyone younger than 18 but above their local age of consent may take courses with a parent or guardian’s consent.

If a course is oriented towards young learners, make sure to market the course to parents and guardians. The parents and guardians can then decide if their child should take the course and enroll them if necessary.

Course Requirements for Instructors

The Udemy course review team looks for certain qualities in all courses.

A good Udemy course will include:

A good course landing page will include:

Udemy is Worth Considering for Online Learning

Udemy has a good reputation as a reputable online learning platform. Forbes listed Udemy as one of the best online learning platforms currently available.

Just about anything anyone wants to learn is probably on Udemy. With more than 100,000 courses, there’s likely something for just about every learner.

Some of the courses are just for fun. But other courses are more geared towards a business crowd. Courses on fitness, music, language, and art are widely available. However, there are also courses on computer programming, productivity, business skills, and personal development.

Udemy gives instructors several choices when it comes to formatting a course. Instructors can include lectures, videos, quizzes, homework, worksheets, and more. As long as a course passes the course review, it will likely provide a good experience for students. There’s nothing to lose because Udemy offers a 30-day refund if students are dissatisfied with a course.

Individual instructors create the courses. And they aren’t Udemy employees. This is why the courses are priced separately and cover a variety of price points. Courses range in price from free up to $200 or more.

Udemy doesn’t offer subscription plans for individual learners. Students who take a lot of classes might prefer a subscription plan. That could help save a few bucks depending on how many courses a person takes. But until a subscription plan becomes available, students have to pay for courses individually.

Businesses can choose a business subscription plan. The plan is for business owners who want employees to take certain courses. However, not all Udemy courses are part of the business plan subscription. There’s also a limit on how many people can access courses through the business subscription.

As for instructors, Udemy offers significant earnings potential. Instructors decide how much to charge for a course. The more complicated the subject matter, the higher price the course can demand. But technically, an instructor can charge however much they want.

Courses on topics such as graphic design and computer programming are generally popular. It’s common for courses in those topics to have hundreds of students. However, it’s possible to earn money teaching any subject – as long as there’s a market. It helps to know what type of courses are in demand before creating a course. Or if the topic isn’t in demand, at least make sure there is a market for the course.

Also, Udemy has strict guidelines about the type of courses they allow. A course must get approval before it becomes available on Udemy. Udemy provides free resources that help instructors create good courses that will pass the review process.

Overall, Udemy has high grades as one of the best online learning platforms currently available for students and instructors. There are other options, but Udemy is worth considering.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.