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Udemy Review 2020

37 things you should know before buying a Udemy course

udemy review thumbnail

This is the definitive Udemy review for 2020.

I recently spent 40+ hours reviewing the Udemy platform and several Udemy courses.

If you want to know:

  • How to save time and money on Udemy
  • How Udemy compares to alternatives
  • The biggest criticisms of Udemy
  • How to download Udemy courses
  • The best Udemy courses to help you make money online

Then youโ€™ve come to the right place.

Letโ€™s get started.

Udemy Review โ€“ Key Points
  About

A popular e-learning platform with frequently discounted courses of varying quality.

๐Ÿ’ฐ  Price

Some free courses. Others often discounted to $10-20 (discount info)

๐Ÿ˜  Pros

Huge catalog. Low price. Lifetime access. 30-day refund policy.

๐Ÿ˜ฉ  Cons

Course quality hit and miss. Misleading rating system. Shady pricing practices.

  Verdict

Worthwhile if you spend max $20 per course and choose your courses wisely.

Overall Rating
3.5/5

Table of Contents

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online learning platform where students can take courses on many different subjects. Anyone can create a course for the Udemy platform. Most courses are paid โ€“ usually selling for $10 to $20 โ€“ while some are free.

Udemy was launched in 2010. The company refers to itself as “the leading global marketplace for learning and instruction.”

Numbers from the Udemy website:

udemy stats
Source: about.udemy.com

Udemy is pronounced You-deh-me (more on that below).

What kinds of courses are offered on Udemy?

Udemy offers courses on almost every topic imaginable, from dog training to sewing to political science. They also offer plenty of courses to help you build an online business.

You can access the full list of Udemy courses via the Udemy homepage.

We here at eBiz Facts are mostly interested in courses related to making money online, and Udemy has plenty to offer there, too:

Those are the skills/categories that rank highest on our list of best paying freelance jobs, but you can also find lots more courses related to building an online business on Udemy.

Are Udemy courses legit?

Some Udemy courses are legit, and some are not. Udemy is an open platform like YouTube, where anybody can create and post content. As a result, the quality of Udemy’s courses vary greatly.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know which Udemy courses are worth your time and which are not.

For example, here are two Udemy courses I bought and reviewed:

Both courses have a high rating on Udemy, but I found the first to be very low quality and the second to be excellent.

(This is largely due to Udemy’s misleading course rating system, discussed below)

Udemy does receive an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau, but tends to get mixed reviews from students and instructors:

udemy bbb review

Having spent 40+ hours researching Udemy and going through several courses on the platform, I consider it a legit and budget-friendly way to develop skills, but only if you’re smart about how you use it.

Can Udemy courses get you a job?

Udemy courses can improve your chances of getting a job, by helping you learn practical skills that employers and clients value. However, Udemy “is not an accredited institution, and as a result, the certificates cannot be used for formal accreditation.” (source)

Here’s a certificate I received for completing a copywriting course on Udemy:

niall doherty udemy certificate of  completion

All I did to receive that certificate was pay $10 and watch three hours of video instruction.

Which clearly does NOT make me a copywriting expert!

That said, the course was excellent, and if I were to regularly practice what I learned from it, my copywriting skills would improve and I’d become far more employable.

The same is true for many of the best courses on Udemy.

Udemy Coupon Codes

These are the most recent sitewide coupon codes (aka promo codes) released by Udemy:

Unfortunately, legit Udemy coupon codes are rare.

Udemy instructors can create coupon codes for their own courses, but those codes only work for a maximum of 31 days.

Udemy itself occasionally publishes a sitewide coupon code, but those also expire within a few days/weeks.

More info:

Best Udemy Courses

Finding the best courses on Udemy can be difficult given Udemy’s flawed rating system. We’ve handpicked some of the best courses related to building an online business, and developed a formula to help you better evaluate other Udemy courses.

These are the best Udemy courses related to online business that we’ve personally reviewed:

We’ve also come up with a simple formula to better evaluate courses on Udemy, without relying on Udemy’s flawed rating system, and without having to spend any money or waste hours looking through course materials.

The formula can be applied to any Udemy course in ~3 minutes.

Free Udemy Courses

We put together a list of the best free courses on Udemy, updated daily.

Here are the top 5 free business courses on Udemy right nowโ€ฆ

Disclaimer: the prices shown on this page are auto-updated from Udemy's database every 24 hours. Prices may change at any time. Be sure to double-check the price on the Udemy website or app before signing up for a course.

PRAISE FOR UDEMY 👍

Cheap Courses

Perhaps the best thing about Udemy is that you can often find high-value courses for as little as $10. Occasionally you’ll even find an excellent free course on there.

As noted in our Udemy Coupon FAQs, Udemy has a sitewide sale running for customers in the USA approximately 60% of the time, and they rarely go more than 10 days without a sale.

This means you can regularly buy some of the best courses on Udemy for less than $20 each.

There are also some excellent courses on Udemy that you can take for free.

Tons of Topics

Udemy offers courses on more than 3,000 topics, with hundreds related to working online.

udemy 3000 topics
Source: List of Categories and Topics (support.udemy.com)

Here’s a shortlist of Udemy topics related to online business:

Those are the skills/categories that rank highest on our list of best paying freelance jobs, but you can also find lots more courses related to building an online business on Udemy.

Lifetime Access

Once you enroll in a course on Udemy, you have access to it for life. It never expires.

There are a couple of rare exceptions to this:

  • Your Udemy account must remain in good standing (ie. try not to get banned).
  • The instructor removes the course from Udemy, or Udemy has to remove the course due to policy or legal reasons.

As noted, those seem to be RARE exceptions, though I have come across some complaints about the latter:

udemy review quite disappointed
Source: bitdegree.org

However, Udemy seems to be pretty cool about making amends if a course is removed. Judging by this message it’s possible to receive a refund or Udemy credit when it happens:

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Udemy offers a no-questions asked money-back guarantee on pretty much every course they sell.

There are some minor exceptions to this as well, but overall it seems pretty solid.

I tested out Udemy’s refund policy myself and had my money back within 48 hours.

See below for more info about requesting a refund on Udemy

CRITICISMS OF UDEMY 👎

Udemy’s shady pricing and discounting practices

By our measure, Udemy has a sitewide sale running approximately 60% of the time in the USA, and you’ll often see them charging different prices for the same course depending on your location, browser, and/or device.

Frequent sales may sound like a good thing, but they happen so often that the “regular price” Udemy lists for each course can’t really be considered the regular price at all…

udemy discount pricing

Some claim that Udemy’s constant discounting strategy may in fact be illegal:

udemy discount pricing complaint
Source: quora.com

You’ll find complaints about Udemy’s pricing practices all over the internet:

udemy discount pricing complaint 2
Source: reddit.com
udemy discount pricing complaint 4
Source: trustpilot.com
udemy discount pricing complaint 5
Source: reddit.com

I spent some time figuring out the most reliable way to get Udemy courses at the best possible price and posted my findings here:

Udemy’s misleading course rating system

Udemy claims to have a sophisticated process for calculating the average rating of each course. But those ratings are often misleading, with many top-rated courses failing to meet expectations.

Udemy’s rating system sounds great in theory:

udemy rating explanation
Source: Performance: Overview Tab (support.udemy.com)

But in practice, course ratings on Udemy can be very misleading.

Take this course, for example:

Udemy affiliate marketing course โ€“ ClickBank Success

Average rating of 4.5 based on more than 5500 reviews โ€“ thatโ€™s gotta be a great course, right?

  • Wrong.

The course has only three hours of content, the instructor shows ZERO proof that heโ€™s earned good money from affiliate marketing himself, and the preview videos were recorded way back in 2015.

Despite that, you still get new students dropping 5-star reviews:

Notice anything strange about those reviews?

They offer generic praise for the course, with no indication that the students have successfully implemented what theyโ€™ve learned or earned ANY money from affiliate marketing themselves.

Further skewing the ratings is the fact that Udemy always asks students to rate a course within a few minutes of starting it.

For example, I was asked to rate this course after only 14 minutes:

udemy rating ask

And I was asked to rate this one after I’d seen only 18% of it:

udemy rating ask

This helps explain why Udemy ratings can’t be trusted:

Udemy solicits ratings from students at a point where enthusiasm is high and knowledge is low, making a fair assessment of the course almost impossible.

Yes, Udemy does give students the option to update their rating of a course once they’ve completed all the lessons.

But given that fewer than 20% of people tend to complete online courses (source), it’s safe to say that the majority of course ratings on Udemy come from students who barely showed up for class.

udemy rating complaint
Source: quora.com

Imagine looking up viewer ratings for a movie, knowing that 80% of the people who rated it only watched the first twenty minutes.

Would you trust the average rating for that movie?

Udemy claims they give more weight to ratings from students who actually finish the course, but that doesn’t appear to be enough.

Because almost every Udemy student has had the experience of a popular and highly-rated course falling far short of their expectations.

udemy rating poll
A poll from the Freedom Business Builder community.
Small sample size, but telling nonetheless

I came up with a simple formula to better evaluate courses on Udemy, without relying on Udemy’s flawed rating system, and without having to spend any money or waste hours looking through course materials.

The formula can be applied to any Udemy course in ~3 minutes.

Anyone can publish a course on Udemy

This is great in theory, but the result is that Udemy has an abundance of low-quality courses from instructors with little-to-no expertise in the topic they’re trying to teach.

I noticed this while looking for the best affiliate marketing courses on Udemy

I researched a bunch of the instructors and found either NO or VERY LITTLE evidence that any of them had made good money from affiliate marketing themselves.

This was the best I found:

Unfortunately, the creator of that course earned his money by (a) using cracked software to scrape email addresses, then (b) spamming thousands of people with his affiliate links.

His course shows you how to do the same 😕

Hence this review:

Udemy affiliate marketing course review

Yet somehow, the course still has an excellent overall rating:

Udemy affiliate marketing course

Hereโ€™s another Udemy affiliate marketing course with an impressive average rating:

Udemy affiliate marketing instructor

Mr. Andrew Williams calls himself an SEO expert, which means he should be excellent at driving free traffic to websites from search engines like Google.

But I checked out two of Andrew’s sites โ€“ his ezSEONews site, and the showcase site he builds within his Udemy course โ€“ and found that they receive a combined total of only 5 visitors per day from search engines.

Not what youโ€™d expect from an โ€œSEO expert.โ€

I wish Andrew was the only fake โ€œexpertโ€ teaching affiliate marketing on Udemy, but he seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

Out of the ten affiliate marketing courses I researched on Udemy, I failed to find a single impressive website or significant affiliate earnings proof for ANY of the instructors 😕

Which goes to show: just because an instructor has a popular course on Udemy doesnโ€™t mean they know what theyโ€™re talking about.

Outdated Courses (pretending to be up-to-date)

Outdated courses on Udemy wouldnโ€™t be an issue if it was obvious which are outdated and which arenโ€™t. But it seems a Udemy instructor need only make a tiny change to their course to have the โ€œlast updatedโ€ date change accordingly.

For example, this course is labeled as having been updated in 2019โ€ฆ

Udemy affiliate marketing course

But youโ€™ll find reviews complaining that it actually hasnโ€™t been updated since 2015 (which I found to be true):

Udemy affiliate marketing course reviews

It was a similar story for most of the affiliate marketing courses I researched on Udemy.

Given that, you really can’t assume a Udemy course is up to date just because the โ€œlast updatedโ€ date is recent.

🔥 Hot Tip 🔥

If you want to know when the videos for a Udemy course were uploaded, use the “inspect” tool on your browser and look for the date of the thumb-sprites.jpg file.

udemy video updated hack

In the example above I was able to see that the preview videos for an affiliate marketing course (this one) were uploaded in 2015.

This isn’t a 100% foolproof method, but it’s the most reliable way I found to date videos on Udemy, and thereby understand how recent the course material is.

Udemy Certificates = Meaningless

Anyone can receive a certificate of completion by simply skimming through all the videos in a Udemy course. While Udemy rightly downplays the value of the certificates, some courses still emphasize certification as kind of a big deal.

Here’s how Udemy describe their certificates:

udemy certificate description
Source: Certificate of Completion (support.udemy.com)

Which is great.

But to judge by some courses on Udemy, certification is kind of a big deal:

Pro tip: be wary of any course on Udemy that emphasizes certification.

Udemy Review: Frequently Asked Questions

Which Udemy course should I do first?

That depends on what exactly you want to learn. See our list of the best Udemy courses for some recommendations.

These are the best Udemy courses related to online business that we’ve personally reviewed:

For more tips and recommendations:

We also keep a list of free Udemy courses here, updated daily.

And this list of course topics might help you find what you’re looking for:

FYI: those are the skills/categories that rank highest on our list of best paying freelance jobs.

Is the Udemy mobile app any good?

Udemy has a well-rated mobile app available for iOS and Android, but I wouldn’t recommend using the app for buying or watching courses related to building an online business.

As you can see, the Udemy app has an excellent overall rating on both stores.

However, I tried going through one course myself using the iOS app, and it froze repeatedly. 

At one point, after downloading one of the video lessons in the app, I got stuck with a black screen:

udemy app ios black sreen

I thought this might just be a problem with my phone, but I found reviews on both app stores reporting similar:

I gave up on using the Udemy app after only three lessons.

Even if it works fine for you, I still wouldn’t recommend using it for courses related to working online, because it’s harder to take notes and reference bonus material.

Also, as per Udemy’s refund policy, they only offer credit refunds on courses bought with the iOS app. So if you want the option of a cash refund, you should buy your courses via udemy.com.

Is Udemy accredited?

No, Udemy is not recognized as an accredited institution.

They state as much on their Certificate of Completion page:

udemy certificate description

Is Udemy safe to pay?

Yes, it is safe to pay for courses on Udemy. I have personally bought several courses from Udemy without issue, and the company has a positive rating from the Better Business Bureau.

While Udemy doesn’t always get favorable reviews from students, they do have an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau:

udemy bbb review

That would be impossible to achieve without secure payment processing.

If you’re worried about phishing attacks, just make sure that you see udemy.com and a 🔒 icon at the start of your browser’s address bar when you buy a course:

udemy secure checkout

Here are the different payment methods supported by Udemy (source):

udemy payment methods

Udemy Refund: How to request a refund on Udemy?

Udemy has a 30-day refund policy on all courses purchased through udemy.com. I tested it out and was able to get my money back without trouble.

To request a refund on a Udemy course you bought within the last 30 days, click into the course and find the request a refund option in the top-right menu.

udemy request a refund

Once you select that option, you’ll have to fill out a couple of forms to request your refund.

This is what it looked like for me…

udemy request a refund step
udemy request a refund step 2
It doesn’t really matter what you write for the description above,
as Udemy says they give refunds “for whatever reason”

Once I submitted that, the refund was processed and showed up on my credit card statement within 48 hours:

udemy refund confirmation

You can find more info about Udemy’s refund policy at support.udemy.com.

Some key points to be aware of:

  • Udemy only offer credit refunds for courses bought through their iOS app.
  • If you want to request a refund via the Udemy mobile app, go into the Help or FAQ section and open a support ticket there.

Does Udemy have fake reviews?

Some instructors may try game the system and solicit fake reviews to boost their courses. This is against Udemy’s rules, and those rules seem to be effective at eliminating blatant fake reviews. But that doesn’t mean Udemy reviews are trustworthy…

I outlined the issues with Udemy’s review and rating system above.

In short:

  • Many of the reviews are generic, and don’t speak to actual results students have achieved.
  • Students are asked to rate each course only a few minutes after starting it.

Another factor to consider is that most students buy courses for only $10-20 during Udemy’s many sales. And when you believe you’ve gotten a bargain, you’re more likely to leave a positive review, even if the course you bought wasn’t very good.

Overall, I believe the ratings and reviews on Udemy are misleading. 

Not because students or instructors are purposely manipulating them. But because Udemy’s review system is horribly flawed.

For a better way to evaluate a Udemy course, check out our 3-Factor Rating Formula.

Which is better Udemy or Skillshare?

Skillshare is one of the main competitors to Udemy. But because the quality of the courses is so varied on both platforms, it’s hard to say which is better.

I’d recommend starting with free Udemy courses.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, sign up for Skillshare’s 2-month free trial. You can rip through a ton of courses that way.

Or see my breakdown of Udemy vs Skillshare below

How to download Udemy videos?

You can download Udemy videos for offline viewing using the Udemy app. If using the Udemy website, you cannot download course videos unless the instructor has enabled that function.

Here’s the official word from Udemy:

You’ll see this message on the website when trying to download a course video when downloading has NOT been enabled:

udemy download videos message

Presumably, when a course can be downloaded, you’ll be able to do it from there.

On the Udemy mobile app, you’ll see a menu like this to control your downloads:

udemy download videos mobile app

How to pronounce Udemy?

According to Udemy’s official YouTube channel, Udemy is pronounced You-deh-me, with the emphasis on the first syllable. The name comes from the combination of You + Academy (source).

When spoken quickly, Udemy almost sounds like you-to-me.

Others say it sounds more like you-dummy 😜

Here’s a video from Udemy’s official YouTube channel highlighting that their name is frequently mispronounced:

Another video from Udemy’s official YouTube channel starts with a clear pronunciation of the name:

Is Udemy good for instructors?

It depends who you ask. Some Udemy instructors love the platform, while others grow so frustrated that they abandon it completely.

For example, this instructor has earned as much as $15,000 per month from Udemy, and says the platform has been “totally life-changing”…

Meanwhile, you’ll find plenty of people saying that Udemy is terrible for instructors and should be avoided at all costs.

Like this guy:

How to speed up Udemy videos

You can speed up and slow down Udemy videos using the built-in control on the Udemy video player.

You’ll find it in the bottom left corner:

udemy speed up videos

You can also speed up and slow down videos on the mobile app.

(If for some reason the native Udemy speed control doesn’t work for you, try this speed hack.)

Udemy keyboard shortcuts

Udemy provides a list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to quickly navigate video lessons.

BOTTOM LINE

Is Udemy Worth It?

Yes, Udemy is worth it so long as you do two things:

  • Never buy a course at full price
  • Be very selective about the courses you spend time on

Never buy a course at full price because Udemy has a sitewide sale running approximately 60% of the time.

So if the course you want costs more than $20 right now, you can probably get it for less than that if you just wait a few days.

Check out this article for more info on saving money on Udemy courses:

You should also be very selective about the courses you spend time on.

Because, as noted above, ratings and reviews of Udemy courses can be very misleading.

Here again are the best Udemy courses related to online business that we’ve personally reviewed:

Related articles:

Udemy Alternatives / Other sites like Udemy

There are many alternatives to Udemy. Some of the most popular are Udacity, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), and Skillshare.

I’ve researched and summarized the following sites like Udemy:

But first, let’s do a quick recap of Udemy itselfโ€ฆ

Udemy Overview

udemy homepage

Who’s Udemy for?

With 150,000+ courses on almost every subject imaginable, Udemy has something for everyone, from professionals to hobbyists.

Is Udemy any good?

The quality of courses vary greatly. Udemy is generally considered a decent place to start learning about a topic, but not to master it.

udemy reviews
Udemy reviews from Trustpilot and G2

How much does Udemy cost?

Course prices vary, but most courses are available for $10-20 during frequent sales.

How many courses does Udemy have?

More than 150,000.

Who are the instructors on Udemy?

Anyone can become an instructor on Udemy. No professional credentials are required to create and publish a course on the platform.

What’s the deal with certification on Udemy?

Students receive a certificate of completion once they’ve finished going through all the materials in a course. But Udemy certificates are generally considered worthless.

How long are Udemy courses?

It varies a lot. 

Some contain only any hour of lessons, while the most popular digital marketing courses on Udemy run from 4 to 85 hours.

What’s the deal with reviews on Udemy?

They can be very misleading, as outlined here.

What’s the learning format on Udemy?

All Udemy courses are presented primarily in video format, but some may have the occasional text lesson, PDF download, and/or quiz.

Can I get help from the instructors on Udemy?

Each course does have a place where you can post questions or comments, but there’s no guarantee an instructor will reply to you.

Udacity vs Udemy

udacity homepage

Who’s Udacity for?

Udacity is geared more towards serious students looking to gain employment or start a business in the tech industry. 

Many of the courses are taught in collaboration with big-name tech companies like Amazon and Google.

Is Udacity any good?

The courses on Udacity are generally very high quality. Think college-level curriculum.

udacity reviews
Udacity reviews from Trustpilot and G2

How much does Udacity cost?

The majority of the courses on Udacity are actually free.

udacity free courses
Free courses listed in Udacity’s catalog

(You’ll also find quite a lot of free course material posted to Udacity’s YouTube channel)

Nanodegree programs on Udacity cost $399 per month.

That price can vary depending on the program, some programs offer a free trial, and there are also payment plan options and the occasional special offer.

See here for more info on Udacity pricing ยป

How many courses does Udacity have?

Exact number unknown, but I counted 240 different courses listed on Udacity’s program catalog page.

Who are the instructors on Udacity?

Udacity has world-class instructors from big-name companies and institutions.

udacity instructors
Instructors for the UX Designer Nanodegree (udacity.com)

Udacity appears to have much stricter requirements than Udemy for becoming an instructor. You even have to include a resume as part of your application.

What’s the deal with certification on Udacity?

Free courses on Udacity don’t come with any certification (source). Nanodegrees do offer a certificate of completion (source).

Like Udemy, Udacity is NOT an accredited education institution (source), but a certification from Udacity is more likely to impress.

How long are Udacity courses?

It varies, but they are generally pretty long.

This big data course comes in on the low end at 10 hours, while this Web Developer Nanodegree clocks in at 4 months (5-10 hours per week).

What’s the deal with reviews on Udacity?

Having read through several reviews on multiple courses, student ratings and reviews on Udacity seem to be a reliable indicator of course quality.

Each course page shows you the total number of reviews and the average student rating.

What’s the learning format on Udacity?

Primarily video.

Nanodegree programs also consist of real-world projects and mentor interaction. 

Can I get help from the instructors on Udacity?

Not in the free courses. But the Nanodegree programs are quite heavy on teacher interaction and mentorship.

So is Udacity better than Udemy?

If you want to quickly explore a certain topic or understand the basics, choose Udemy. But if you’re looking to master a topic, Udacity will likely serve you better.

Coursera vs Udemy

coursera homepage

Who’s Coursera for?

Coursera is geared more towards serious students looking to take university-level courses online.

Many of the courses are taught in collaboration with top academic institutions (eg. Stanford, Yale) and big-name companies (eg. Google, IBM).

Is Coursera any good?

The courses on Coursera are generally high quality. Think college-level curriculum.

coursera reviews
Udacity reviews from Trustpilot and G2

How much does Coursera cost?

Coursera has several types of “learning program” and the costs break down like this:

  • Course โ€“ $39+
  • Specialization โ€“ $39+
  • Professional Certificate โ€“ $39+
  • MasterTrack Certificate โ€“ $2,000+
  • Online Degree โ€“ $15,000+

There’s also a Coursera Plus plan, which gives you unlimited access to all courses, specializations and professional certificates for $399/year.

You can avail of a 7-day free trial on some courses, but note that most of the complaints I’ve seen about Coursera seem to be from people who still got billed after canceling their free trial.

Finally, Coursera does offer a handful of free courses, listed here.

How many courses does Coursera have?

Last I checked, an empty course search on Coursera returned a list of 4,436 courses.

Who are the instructors on Coursera?

All the instructors on Coursera seem to be from third-level educational institutions or big corporations. There is no info on the Coursera website about how to become a partner. 

What’s the deal with certification on Coursera?

You receive a certificate for completing any paid course on Coursera. But, according to Coursera, those certificates “do not provide professional or academic credits.”

However, it’s noted on Coursera’s about page that MasterTrack Certificate courses “can count toward a masterโ€™s degree,” and Online Degree course, allow you to “earn an accredited university bachelor or masterโ€™s degree.”

How long are Coursera courses?

It varies.

On the low end you have a Data Analysis with Python course that takes ~12 hours to complete.

On the high end, an online degree via Coursera can take four years to complete.

What’s the deal with reviews on Coursera?

You can see the total number of ratings and the average rating for individual courses on Coursera.

coursera course rating
Source: Programming for Everybody (coursera.org)

I didn’t find an easy way to click through to all the reviews, but if you add /reviews to the URL of the course info page, you should be able to see them all.

Example: https://www.coursera.org/learn/python/reviews

From what I’ve seen, the ratings and reviews on Coursera are trustworthy.

What’s the learning format on Coursera?

Many of the individual courses are in video format.

Expect a lot of written course material and practical project work in the MasterTrack Certificate and Online Degree programs.

Can I get help from the instructors on Coursera?

Don’t expect any help in the free courses. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the more personalized help and instruction you’ll receive.

So is Coursera better than Udemy?

In some ways, yes. 

Coursera courses are much more professional and in-depth, and if you sign up for Coursera Plus at $399/year you stand to receive a lot more value so long as you put the time in.

Udemy is a better choice if you want to quickly explore a certain topic or understand the basics.

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) vs Udemy

linkein learning homepage

Who’s LinkedIn Learning for?

While Udemy provides a broad range of courses for hobbyists and professionals, courses on LinkedIn Learning are focused on professional development.

Is LinkedIn Learning any good?

Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015 and merged with LinkedIn Learning in 2017. 

Reviews of Lynda.com were mixed but reviews of LinkedIn Learning have been generally positive.

linkedin learning reviews
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) reviews from Trustpilot and G2

However, it’s hard to tell if a specific course on LinkedIn Learning is worthwhile, as ratings and reviews are not shown.

How much does LinkedIn Learning cost?

For $20-30/month you can get access to their full course catalog, or you can buy lifetime access to individual courses for about $20 apiece.

There’s a 1-month free trial, so you can take a whole bunch of courses for $0 if you like.

More pricing info here ยป

Some LinkedIn Learning courses are freely available aside from the free trial, but there doesn’t seem to be a complete list of them. Best I could find was this list of ten free courses via the LL blog.

How many courses does LinkedIn Learning have?

15,000+

Who are the instructors on LinkedIn Learning?

Anyone can apply to be an instructor. Applicants must submit a sample video and there’s no guarantee they will be accepted.

What’s the deal with certification on LinkedIn Learning?

You will receive a certificate of completion for every course you complete on LinkedIn Learning (source).

LL certificates will probably make more of an impression than Udemy certificates, but ultimately none of them mean very much.

That said, LinkedIn Learning does offer some certification prep and continuing education units (CEUs). See here for more info.

How long are LinkedIn Learning courses?

It varies.

Some courses run less than 10 minutes. The longest course I’ve seen clocks in at almost 27 hours.

I’d say the average course is 2-3 hours.

What’s the deal with reviews on LinkedIn Learning?

They don’t show you any ratings or reviews for the courses.

All you can see are the number of people who have viewed the course, and how many members have liked it:

linkedin learning reviews
Source: SEO Foundations (linkedin.com)

What’s the learning format on LinkedIn Learning?

Mainly video.

Some courses have quizzes and practice files.

Can I get help from the instructors on LinkedIn Learning?

There is a Q&A section inside each course, where you can ask the instructor and/or other students questions related to the course.

But there’s no guarantee you’ll get a response.

So is LinkedIn Learning better than Udemy?

It’s hard to tell since LinkedIn Learning don’t show course ratings, but it’s fair to assume that the courses on LL are generally better than those on Udemy.

It’s also tough to beat the $20-30 monthly fee for full access to the entire LL catalog.

Given all that, I’d recommend signing up to the free trial of LinkedIn Learning before buying any course on Udemy.

Think of it this way: 3 courses on Udemy will cost you at least $30, whereas you can get 2 months of access to all the courses on LinkedIn Learning for the same price.

Skillshare vs Udemy

skillshare homepage

Who’s Skillshare for?

Skillshare is similar to Udemy in that it has courses on almost every topic imaginable.

However, Skillshare does lean a bit more towards creative-oriented topics, such as animation, design and photography.

Is Skillshare any good?

Like Udemy, anyone can create and publish a course on Skillshare.

Which means the courses are hit and miss 😕

How much does Skillshare cost?

After that, it’s $15 per month or $99/year ($8.25 per month).

There’s no option to buy courses individually so once you stop paying your Skillshare subscription you lose access to all courses (source).

How many courses does Skillshare have?

About 30,000 according to Wikipedia.

Who are the instructors on Skillshare?

Anyone can create and publish a class on Skillshare, so any random Joe can be an instructor on there.

Skillshare does have some famous instructors though, like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.

What’s the deal with certification on Skillshare?

There is none (source).

How long are Skillshare courses?

It varies a lot.

For example, web development courses on Skillshare range from 20 minutes to 12 hours.

What’s the deal with reviews on Skillshare?

Skillshare doesn’t show an overall rating for each course.

Instead they show you this kind of thing:

skillshare course rating

That system isn’t great, but it’s enough to give you a decent feel for each course.

What’s the learning format on Skillshare?

Primarily video.

Can I get help from the instructors on Skillshare?

There is a discussion area within each course, but there’s no guarantee your question/comment will get answered.

So is Skillshare better than Udemy?

Because the quality of the courses is so varied on both platforms, it’s hard to say.

But I’d recommend starting with Skillshare since you can rip through a ton of courses with their 2-month free trial.

YouTube vs Udemy

youtube homepage

Who’s YouTube for?

Anyone who wants to watch video online.

Is YouTube any good?

For learning stuff, it can be.

But the content quality on YouTube varies even more widely than on Udemy.

You can find some incredible instructional videos on all kinds of topics on YouTube, but overall you’re less likely to find gold here than you are on Udemy.

How much does YouTube cost?

It’s free.

But the free version of YouTube means you’ll be constantly exposed to a ton of advertising. 

YouTube Premium costs $12/month and gets rid of the ads.

How many courses does YouTube have?

Complete courses are few and far between on YouTube.

But apparently 500 hours of content are uploaded to the platform every minute (source), so there’s a very good chance you’ll find a video covering the topic you need help with.

Who are the instructors on YouTube?

Anyone can create and publish a video on YouTube.

They can even do so anonymously.

What’s the deal with certification on YouTube?

That’s not a thing.

How long are YouTube videos?

It varies a lot.

You’ll find plenty of short instructional videos on there, as well as multi-hour tutorials and walk-throughs.

What’s the deal with reviews on YouTube?

You can usually tell if a video is worth watching based on:

  • Number of views
  • Number of likes vs dislikes
  • How many subscribers to the channel

What’s the learning format on YouTube?

All video.

Can I get help from the instructors on YouTube?

You can comment on the videos and you might hear back. 

You might also be able to find contact info for a YouTuber via their channel, and can try asking them a question that way.

So is YouTube better than Udemy?

For some things, yes.

YouTube is quick and easy to use, and the sheer volume of content means you’re likely to find something helpful on there.

The trouble with YouTube though is that the content is all over the place. There are very few step-by-step video courses on there. 

If you don’t mind scattered, patchwork learning, then YouTube is great. 

Otherwise, it can be worth paying for a solid course on Udemy.

Cheat Sheet: How To Learn Any Skill For Free

If you’re aiming to learn skills for working online and want to get the most bang for your buck, here’s how I recommend you tackle the sites listed aboveโ€ฆ

  • Take the free Learning How To Learn course on Coursera
    That will help you make the most out of every subsequent course.
  • Decide what skill you’re going to learn
    This 3-step skill selection process and this list of the best paying freelance jobs will help you choose.
  • Look for free courses related to that skill on Udacity
    Start with Udacity since it has very high-quality courses and many of them are free (use the free courses filter to see them).
  • Look for free courses related to that skill on Coursera and Udemy
    Both platforms have a selection of free courses and you can go through them at your own pace.
  • Sign up for free trials of Skillshare and Linkedin Learning and take relevant courses
    Skillshare offers a 2-month free trial. LinkedIn Learning offers one month. During the trials you can take as many courses as you like.
  • Fill in the gaps with Google and YouTube
    Anything that’s not covered in courses on the aforementioned platforms, you should be able to find via Google and YouTube.

All that said, keep in mind that paid courses are generally more in-depth and high-quality than free courses. So don’t be afraid to invest in one if you’re confident it will help you learn better/faster.

Make the most of Udemy

This article is part of a 4-part series:

Your Udemy review

Have you ever bought a course on Udemy?

Please consider leaving a review below โ€“ good or bad โ€“ doesnโ€™t matter so long as itโ€™s helpful to our readers.

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2 Comments

  1. Another great review.

    I have also bought a few courses in the past, but they are not up to the mark. Most of the courses are either very basic or exaggerated unnecessarily.

    1. Hey Deepak,

      Thanks for the comment. It’d be nice if Udemy had more quality controls for their courses. It’s one of the best and worst features of the platform that ANYONE can create and sell a course on there.