A Udemy Review – Is Udemy legit? Is Udemy worth it? Is Udemy a scam?
Elearners seek a Udemy review frequently. According to Ahrefs, these three questions are searched 2,600, 1,400 and 160 times a month, respectively. These numbers indicate that there’s a fair amount of doubt about the Udemy elearning platform.
Udemy reviews are important to consider, both for those interested in becoming an online Udemy instructor, or those considering taking Udemy courses. You’ll want to understand why these three questions – Is Udemy legit, worth it, a scam? – are so often asked.
You’ll want to know if you have made a good choice with the Udemy elearning platform to spend your time and money learning or teaching and selling courses.
In this article, Teachinguide offers an updated review of Udemy, first from a consumer perspective, and then from an instructor perspective.
To do this, we’ve scoured the internet for Udemy reviews, discussions about how valuable Udemy courses are, and opinions about whether Udemy courses are any good.
What Is Udemy?
With over 130,000 courses and millions of learners, it is easy to assume that everyone reading this is familiar with Udemy. Just in case you’re new to Udemy, here’s a summary of highlights about the Udemy online learning platform. (There’s a ton of additional information on Udemy on this Teachinguide website too).
- Udemy is an online course marketplace, not a learning management system.
- Udemy course categories include: Development, Business, Finance & Accounting, IT & Software, Office Productivity, Personal Development, Design, Marketing, Lifestyle, Photography, Health & Fitness, Music, Teaching and Academics. Udemy courses are arranged into a series of modules and lessons, and these can include videos, text notes and assessment tests.
- Anybody can create and sell courses on Udemy.
- Anyone can enroll in a Udemy course.
- Udemy courses are not accredited and do not lead to a certification or a degree.
- The typical price of courses is roughly $12 – $50, but can go as high as $199.99. There are many free courses on Udemy too. (Teachinguide has a tool for finding Udemy class coupons.)
- Udemy provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Once you purchase a Udemy course, you have access to the course for its lifetime, including content upgrades.
- Udemy for Business is a subscription service that employers use to allow employees to enroll in a wide variety of curated courses.
Why Is Udemy So Cheap?
When you check Udemy’s prices, you might notice how cheap they are, almost suspiciously so. Udemy’s classes are affordable because the platform encourages it. Courses that aren’t in the $10-$20 range are rarely featured, you can see the slight bias at play. There are also many discount promotions run by both Udemy, as a platform, and the instructor.
The low prices are there to encourage the students to give the class a try. In oversaturated markets like beginner-level Photoshop or basic coding, the low prices are there to attract the students. If the instructor has low sales, there are more discount codes. Udemy’s market is a battle of the best price.
Are the low prices indicative for poor quality? Not necessarily. Udemy instructors depend on their students taking a chance. They could be very knowledgeable about the topic, or an excellent teacher, but because they are not household names, there is very little they can do but make it affordable and prove themselves.
However, there is always a 50-50 chance that the lesson will not work for you. In those cases, the low price is self-explanatory. It is best to try to read up on your instructor before committing, but you might be pleasantly surprised at the quality of these classes.
A Udemy Review for eLearners
We’ll start with the consumers’ view of Udemy. As a potential elearner, you might be overwhelmed by the choice of courses on Udemy, and even after reading some Udemy course reviews you may still be wondering, are any Udemy courses really worth it? Are they legit learning experiences? Or, should you go with a different online learning platform like Skillshare (another course marketplace) or Coursera (a MOOC platform)?
After all, there are now dozens of online learning platforms to choose from. So why choose Udemy?
Is Udemy Legit?
Quora and Reddit are filled with similar questions to this, with many eLearners also asking “are Udemy courses any good?”. Even after several years of high growth, success and brand recognition, some consumers are still unsure whether an elearning platform like Udemy that provides 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 Good?
There is no fixed answer for this because “good” is a very vague way to gauge the quality of the class. Udemy has evolved enough to address their old problems, and their users now accurately rate the classes. There are scammy, poorly-made classes, but they do not take up the majority of the ones offered on Udemy. It is also best to properly set your expectations if you have been in the industry for a while. The chances of finding supplemental lessons are low. However, if you are new to the industry, you can get a comprehensive look.
Bad Udemy classes don’t survive very long in the current setup. There are more teachers, more students if you do not deliver, it is easy to fade into the background. Check the reviews and try to identify if you will enjoy the class.
Some might overlook poor production quality if an industry expert makes the class, and the content is well-written. Others want all or nothing. The content and production quality have to match. When you create specific parameters for “good,” you can better identify if it truly is. For the most part, though? It isn’t that bad and can be a good starting point for many beginners.
Are Udemy Courses Worth It?
Here’s one recent answer to this question from a Quora reviewer.
“There are some seriously incredible courses on Udemy. I’m constantly flabbergasted at how much value some of them offer for the price. Think Seth Godin, Rob Percival, Alexa Fischer.”
It’s true that many Udemy courses offer insane amounts to course content, surpassing 10, even 20 hours of course teaching. If you happen to get that course on sale for $15, most would say that IS worth it, even if you just learn a fraction of what’s in there.
That said, there are a few factors that might make you think perhaps Udemy is not worth your money or time. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Reasons Udemy IS Worth It
Here’s a list of top reasons why Udemy IS worth your time and money.
- You never lose access to purchased courses for the lifetime of the course.
- Courses you purchase are frequently updated with new content, so your original purchase allows you to continue learning and updating your skills.
- There’s no time limit for viewing the courses, and you can take your time watching and learning.
- Learning is enhanced by the ability to directly ask questions to the course instructor and through a plethora of downloadable resources in most courses.
- Many Udemy “Masterclasses” and other courses are rich enough in content to allow you to upskill or re-skill yourself for a career change or promotion at a fraction of the price of a university degree. Others will prepare you very well to pass a certification test that can help you advance your career, too at a fraction of what a degree or training course would cost.
- Many instructors are highly qualified experts, university professors, authors, and thought leaders.
- Some courses are accredited. Here’s a link to the list of just type “accredited” in the search browser on Udemy.
Positive Udemy Reviews from eLearners
Here are some verified reviews from the Consumer Affairs website that nicely sum up what Udemy has to offer.
I have completed multiple courses so far, and have been so informed as to the content of each course. A lot of folks on here are giving Udemy a 1 star review for the fact that they have had issues obtaining a discount. I have received discounts with all of my courses, with no problem at all. I do notice that it is indeed easier to sign up for and do the coursework on my Mac, not my phone. So happy that I found this great platform with wonderful educators! Thank you Udemy!!!
The courses are very simple and up to the expectations at very cheap prices… Beginner to advanced…all the level courses are available..so that you can choose one from them. You can’t learn everything to the very advanced level…but they could give some basic ideas about that particular course.
Reasons Udemy May Not be Worth It
No accreditation or certification
Looking for a resume builder or a pedigree? Udemy’s generally not the place for that. While there are a few courses offering accreditation they are few and far between at this point.
Udemy course completion certificates are not recognized by employers (unless perhaps, you are a Udemy for Business user) because Udemy is not an accredited learning institution. However, for $12 a course, the focus is clearly learning and not necessarily racking up degrees.
If you’re interested in getting certifications, there’s plenty of other online learning platforms providing free online courses with certificates of completion from world’s top universities and organizations.
The beauty and the curse of Udemy is that anyone can teach on Udemy about anything. No teaching experience necessary. While the platform has a fairly extensive review, rating and course ranking program, and has a quality checklist for courses, this doesn’t guarantee course quality, consistency or instructor support.
You don’t have to look far to find complaints about course quality. Here’s a particularly negative Udemy review about instructor quality from the Consumer Affairs website,
“The courses are a joke. If you are broke don’t go more broke by letting them suck a couple hundred bucks out of you. By far the worst course I have used is the C++ for absolute beginners. This is a total load of crap. The instruction is rushed. The education is extremely light and incomplete except for a general sprinkling of what is in the lesson plan of the moment, and the instructor is just barely there for you. This particular course is NOT for beginners and the line that it is, is an outright lie. That should give you some food for thought of the vetting process that they go through over there.”
Here’s another just to drive the point home.
Have enrolled in SAP FICO and the lecturer is not to my expectation. The video finished before due as if the lecture is in a hurry to take a train. When you finished the study you are supposed to received a certificate and still have to chase for it. Do not enroll with (name of instructor).
Teachinguide data on Udemy instructor quality
We decided to check the Teachinguide database to find out what percent of courses on Udemy could be viewed “valuable” or of good “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.
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” is probably closer to 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?
Our advice to elearners is to really take the time to read not only the good reviews, but also the bad ones as well. They may open your eyes to something that, for you personally would make for a poor experience.
We’d also like to suggest that if you are new to Udemy, wait for a sale before purchasing courses, find a coupon code using Teachinguide’s Udemy course coupon search engine. This way you can get a feel for the platform and experiment a bit with instructors without committing too much.
In this regard, if an instructor has a free course on offer, definitely test them out with that first. Looking for free Udemy courses? Check out our free Udemy course search engine!
Another reason that Udemy may not be worth it has to do with its reputation for poor customer service and course pricing schemes. Which brings us to the next question…
Is Udemy a Scam?
Look up this question or search “Udemy complaints” and you’ll find yourself reading plenty of reviews about the lack of customer service, bugs, overcharging, and lack of payment security. These problems are certainly nothing to ignore.
That said, 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 being a scam seem to revolve around Udemy’s operating platform bugs and poor customer service.
Udemy is a Scam Reviews
Some recent negative online reviews from learners about Udemy included:
They give you a discount and then when you log in they raise the price 2X and recently they started charging money even for free courses, you see a free course and you try to enroll, they immediately change it and put a price tag on it. Thieves.
I had dealt with Udemy in the past and, after being assured they had ironed out the bugs in their log-in and customer support pages, I decided to try them again. That was my second and last time that I will waste my time with this outfit since they seem much more interested in taking your money than providing the services they promise.
Clearly Udemy, like many other internet-based, fast-growing companies has operations and customer service issues to iron out! Buyer beware!
Is Udemy Safe To Pay?
Yes, it is relatively safe to pay on Udemy. There are different payment methods on Udemy if you are hesitant. They accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, cash payments and bank transfers, and Apple App Store or Google Play. Payment methods vary depending on your location, but most of these should be supported.
If you are unhappy with a course, you can get a refund within the first 30 days. If you found a coupon that would be cheaper than your original, you can contact their support team within 30 days and get the better price.
Udemy Review for Instructors
Because most instructors on Udemy who are putting in the effort and taking it seriously are making some money, reviews of Udemy by instructors are largely positive. Let’s look at some key questions from an instructor perspective.
Is Teaching on Udemy Worth It?
The pros of teaching on Udemy
Among the many reasons that internet pundits list as a reason to become an Udemy instructor are:
Udemy is good for new instructors
Because it’s relatively simple to create a course and you don’t have to worry too much about marketing your course and all that entails, Udemy is often recommended for new instructors to get their feet wet. What’s more, you earn an income while you learn how to become a better instructor based on feedback from students.
You can make your own schedule and “run your Udemy business” on your own time, putting as much or as little as you want into it. After all you’re not paying a subscription fee or paying hosting costs to be on the platform.
The additional marketing boost you get from the platform potentially frees you up somewhat from constant blogging, tweeting, and generally promoting all the time versus having your own website.
While it doesn’t happen for everyone, there’s a good chance of earning at least a little passive revenue with the creation of a Udemy course, due to the marketing machine that is the Udemy platform.
That said, you do need to adhere to some minimal principles of good course design and course marketing to ensure a basic level of success. But if you have a hobby that you are passionate about or expertise you’re just dying to share with others and turn into a small side income, Udemy is a good place to do that.
Access to millions of online learners
It would take years to build up the kind of user base of 50 million+ to which Udemy provides access. Don’t count on it, but the sheer volume of users means that you might pick up some extra sales simply by being part of one of their big promotions like Black Friday or the January sale.
Target market information
As an instructor on Udemy, you can gain insights into your target market. Through reviews, discussions and questions you can learn what your target student learning objectives are and what their pain points are. You can use this information to build your online course business, create email campaigns, launch your own website school, etc.
Want more market information about the Udemy platform? Try our Teachinguide course database for free!
The con’s of teaching on Udemy
Sure it’s free to put a course on Udemy, but for each sale you make from organic traffic on the website, Udemy take 50% of your revenue. That’s a pretty hefty referral fee! In addition, the affiliate fee is even higher at 75%. That means for a $20 sale, you at best making $10, possibly only 5%.
No matter how extensive and technical your course is, the maximum you can charge is $199.99 – and that’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve because Udemy users are frankly accustomed to waiting for lower prices through frequent sales and promotions.
At the same time, in order to compete in Udemy’s crowded marketplace, you have to keep adding to your courses and make them valuable and maintain your ratings.
No flexible pricing plans
Unlike other online teaching platforms, Udemy does not allow you to offer your students monthly subscriptions or payment plans that could otherwise help you to earn the maximum price of $199.99 for a course and gain more students.
Lack of access to student data
As a Udemy instructor, you’re not allowed direct access to student emails and you aren’t allowed to promote your products or services outside of Udemy. So even if you build up a following of students on Udemy, you cannot use this to market to them outside of Udemy.
Udemy is not accredited
As mentioned previously, this is a downside for some would-be learners. It makes sense that Udemy is not accredited – it’s not an educational institution. But you do miss out on a lot of education-seeking individuals.
However, 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. This would certainly distinguish your course from competitors and build more trust with learners.
Here is an example of an accredited Udemy course – Professional Fully Accredited NLP Certification Course.
If you can’t find a way to get an accreditation, depending on your field, the next best step would be to create an online course that prepares students to obtain a certification.
Lack of support
There’s no phone support for Udemy instructors. You must get help through the online forum. The instructor forum is very congenial and encouraging and mostly gets the job done. But sometimes you just need a human being to talk to. This also goes for the users of the platform who are your potential students.
Can you still make money on Udemy?
Years of exploding numbers in course instructors begs this question. Are there still good opportunities to make money? This list of the top 15 Udemy instructors would lead you to believe so. The fact is, nearly all of these Udemy instructors teach in the field of technology and/or have been at it for a good while.
The opportunity to make enormous amounts of money on Udemy seems dimmer for instructors creating courses in less popular categories, or who are just getting started. That said, we go back to one of the big pros of Udemy. It’s an easy platform to get started teaching and grow a reasonable income if that’s what you are after.
As far as your opportunity to make money on Udemy, it’s best to heed what one Udemy instructor advised,
“The best instructors sometimes spend months researching and developing their courses. The results you get are very often in direct proportion to the time and effort you put into course development.”
3 types of Udemy Review by Instructors
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.
The following reviews give some perspective on the pros and cons of being a Udemy instructor.
Positive Udemy Reviews
Positive reviews of Udemy make some really good points about why Udemy is worth it for instructors – student base, learning, you can teach anything, global students, regular income, etc.
“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. “
“I’m a Udemy instructor (not an employee though; they host some of my courses). It’s a great platform overall. You have to do a bit of searching and filtering to find the top-quality courses, but you can get fantastic education for less than the price of an outdated textbook. It’s definitely not a spam/scam company.“
“Yes, their pricing model is a bit out of hand. I don’t really like it, to be honest. I would prefer to have my courses fixed at $15 (and corresponding amounts in different currencies and countries) and that’s that. The instructors set the list price, but Udemy sets the actual purchase price. Udemy is a very strongly data-driven company. They use marketing data to drive their decisions, and — like it or not — these perpetual “sales” bring in a lot of customers.“
Middle of the Road Udemy Reviews
Despite the many positive reviews from instructors, some reviews submitted both pros and cons to being a Udemy instructor.
“I have 20 courses for sale, some of which are hot topics, and last month I made $224 on Udemy. There is a lot of hype about Udemy (one answer gives a figure of $1500-$3000 a month which is laughable). In reality only a very, very small proportion of instructors make a lot of money on Udemy. Be careful before investing valuable time into it.“
“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.“
Bad Udemy Instructor Reviews
The truth is, that at least for the last few years we were unable to find negative reviews from Udemy instructors. We’re sure there have been negative experiences, but the majority are staying mum about it. The closest we could find to a recent negative review was a 2019 review from an instructor who explained why she stopped selling courses on Udemy
“What would you do if you bought a course for $199 on my website and a few days later found it listed for sale for $9.99 on Udemy? Most people would return it or ask for a refund for the difference. That’s EXACTLY what happened to me.
Students that bought my course at the full price of $199 from my website felt cheated once they saw that they could get the same course on Udemy for under $10 – and understandably so.
This misstep cost me thousands of dollars, not to mention countless hours that I had to spend responding to refund requests. Once I stopped selling my courses on Udemy, my refund rates dropped dramatically. “
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!) for both learners and instructors.
The good things are the opportunity to make money even without teaching experience, and all that this brings personally for aspiring professionals and hobbyists alike. Students have access to inexpensive courses about so many topics. Even lives can change for the better by using the Udemy platform. People earn money. Students get better jobs.
The downsides are that Udemy may not serve everyone, student or instructor, 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 a student looking to enroll in courses, and as an instructor, and decide in fact if Udemy is worth it for you personally. We think on the whole it is.