It’s been a few months since we last reported on what’s up with Udemy and other eLearning platforms. Here’s a roundup of some recent developments with Udemy and online learning. One thing’s for sure, Udemy is going nowhere except across the globe!

Recent Udemy News

Udemy’s Recent Investment Round Shows It Will Be Around a While

Udemy last raised $60 million in 2016. Back then it was valued at around $710 million (according to PitchBook data). In its most recent round of raising funds, Udemy raised around $200 million.

In this round Udemy picked up $50 million from a single investor, Benesse Holdings. Benesse is a Japan-based educational publisher that has been Udemy’s partner in the country. You may know its Berlitz language courses. The $50 million investment was made at a $2 billion pre-money valuation.

The President and CEO of Benesse Holdings Inc. Tamotsu Adachi said,

“Access to the latest workplace skills is crucial for success everywhere, including Japan, and Udemy is the world’s largest marketplace enabling professional transformation. With this partnership, we envision a world where more people can continue to learn continuously throughout their lives.”

Udemy plans to use the funding to expand various aspects of its business. It will be looking at improving how courses are delivered by its 57,000-strong network of instructors and consider new areas it might move into more deeply. Udemy will be investing to better address the biggest challenge for the company –  to figure out what skills are emerging and what learners should do to compete best in the global market. Udemy sees that its users are confused and unsure of what they should be learning.

Udemy also plans to expand international operations, starting with Japan but also growing in other markets where it is having success, such as Brazil and India. To date, Udemy has made no acquisitions, but that is also a route that could also become an option, the company said.

Gregg Coccari, CEO of Udemy, said in a statement following the investment round,

“Udemy is on a mission to improve lives through learning… 2020 will be a milestone year where we serve millions more students and enable thousands of businesses and governments to upskill their employees. This growth wouldn’t be possible without our expert instructors who partner with us every step of the way as we build this business.”

In the 10 years that it’s been in business, Udemy has worked with some 57,000 instructors to develop courses and in the marketplace model those instructors have netted over $350 million in payments to date.

Udemy for Business Launches Learning Paths

Udemy Learning Paths

Udemy for Business recently launched a feature called “Learning Paths” that enables customers to achieve personalized learning outcomes.  This feature enables anyone to curate the right combination of Udemy for Business courses, external materials, or proprietary company resources for a personalized learning experience.

Learning Paths also delivers powerful course recommendations that help users easily create custom paths that support specific skills needs. The recommended courses represent the highest quality and most in-demand courses in the Udemy for Business content collection. For increased personalization, Learning Path users can choose to include specific course sections or lectures that address their personal learning needs.

Darren Shimkus, President of Udemy for Business stated,

“At Udemy for Business, we believe there are many ways to extend the impact of learning at organizations. With the launch of Learning Paths, anyone can easily share and socialize learning to unlock knowledge across all levels and all employees. Learning Paths help our customers deliver learning outcomes with powerful course recommendations, reach learning goals faster by selecting relevant portions of a course, and access resources more easily in one central location.”

Earlier this year, Udemy for Business also launched international collections of courses taught by native-speaking expert instructors in German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Learning Paths can be customized in all supported languages available on Udemy for Business.

Udemy opens expanded EMEA office in Dublin

A few days ago, Udemy opened a new office for its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.  The company  plans to double its workforce in Dublin from 100 to 200 over the next year. The new Dublin office has space of around 2,000 ft2 and includes conferencing rooms with video conferencing technology for communications with Udemy’s global offices.

CEO Gregg Coccari explained the thinking behind the expansion,

“As a global business with a mission to improve lives through learning, Udemy is proud that we selected Dublin as our EMEA hub back in 2014. As we significantly expand our Dublin presence by building out our own space, we are reminded of what initially drew us to Ireland: world-class technical and business talent and an accessible base for the larger region.”

Kajabi Launches New Robust Email System

Kajabi recently released Kajabi Email, an enhancement to its existing email capabilities. Kajabi Email now allows online course business owners to communicate with their students in a more seamless way from the first contact to the final course sale. The new service is free and features robust capabilities that meet and, in many cases, exceed existing third-party email solutions.

Kenny Rueter, Kajabi co-founder and CEO explained the development,

“We talk with the business owners who use Kajabi all the time, and one of the biggest frustrations is the growing complexity of the marketing tech stack. Every improvement we make, every new functionality we release, is with the aim to minimize the number of tools people need and create a truly all-in-one platform that turns their content into a viable business.”

Kajabi also recently announced a minority growth investment from Spectrum Equity, a strong signal that the company’s all-in-one approach is on a solid path. Kajabi customers have generated more than $1 billion in sales delivering courses to over 41 million paying students.

Coronavirus Spurs A Boom in Online Learning

Around the world, especially in China and at the collegiate level, online classes are trying to fill the education gap during the Coronavirus epidemic.  According to the United Nations, an estimated 290 million children are not in school due to the pandemic.

In China, many universities that delayed the start of their semester to 17 February have still not reopened and no date has been set for classes to resume. Many institutions are now putting in place ‘holding courses’ taught online.  Primary and secondary schools across China also remain closed and schools have been ordered by the education ministry to start online classes.

Teachers from Italy, Hong Kong, Kuwait, the USA, the UK and Bahrain are having to dive head first into online teaching, regardless of whether they feel confident using online learning platforms, or whether they believe the tech platforms and tools are a productive way to learn.

While on the surface, this “boom” in online teaching is a reaction to a crisis, it will possibly result in many more students and teachers accepting online learning as a “normal” way to learn. Says one expert in online education, Luyen Chen, Chief Learning Officer at 2U,

 “My hope is that this period will prove to be a useful testing ground that pushes schools to think more holistically about their long-term online learning strategies.”

Teachers Earned an Extra $250 million Using Teachable in 2019

Demonstrating the real potential of online teaching, Teachable recently reported that its 20,000 instructors collectively earned $250 million in 2019.  32 instructors earned over $1 million. 

The boost in earnings was partly fueled by an expanded offering in 2019. Teachable started allowing  creators to set up subscription services, accept mobile payments, and list courses in a new digital marketplace.

New eBook Outlines Strategies to Increase Learner Engagement

Learn Like You Live

A new ebook by Peoplefluent has come out and might be of interest to any online course creator.  The book “Learn Like You Live” examines the effects that technology, entertainment and communication are having on learner psychology and expectations.

The book recommends several training and measurement strategies to follow. Chapters cover:

  • How we live – This chapter looks at statistical evidence and trends in current entertainment and communication, as enabled by mobile-first living. For example, according to a 2019 study, Americans check their phones once every ten minutes, or 96 times per day.
  • How we learn – This chapter looks at rising prospective employee expectations and changing generational habits that guarantee great shifts in corporate learning. LinkedIn Learning has found that 74% of talent developers plan to make changes to their learning programs to accommodate Gen Z, the newest generation currently entering the workforce.
  • How we train – This chapter explores 11 recommendations that will help you to build learning programs that drive continuous engagement. Strategies include using video, SMEs, microlearning and interactivity while ensuring content is accessible, sharable and no more than two clicks away from being consumed.
  • How we measure – This chapter examines how data can help organizations move away from a purely prescriptive approach to corporate learning. It looks at how instructors can use data to learn what engages users and build upon that knowledge.

Click here to download the “Learn Like You Live” eBook.

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