How good are Udemy's online courses? Tips to get you started

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 12, 2014
Updated • Oct 14, 2014

Udemy is an online learning platform that brings together students and instructors from all over the world. Some courses are available for free while others are paid courses that may cost several hundred Dollars.

You do need to create a free account to use some of the site's functionality, for instance to sign up for free courses.

Video courses consist of a fixed number of recorded lectures that students can watch as often as they like. Courses may also include labs in which students need to complete tasks on their own.

Supplementary materials may be provided as well, and there is a discussion platform that students can use to discuss lessons or ask questions.

How good are those courses? There is no definitive answer to that question as it depends largely on the course itself.  There are however certain methods that you can use to find out about a course before you subscribe to it or pay money for it.

Udemy course selection tips

  1. Make sure you read the course description properly. It includes what you can expect from the course, information about the teacher or teachers, the requirements and target audience, and the curriculum.
  2. Almost as important are reviews by students who are subscribed to the course. Those can reveal information that you cannot obtain unless you subscribe to the course as well. You may read about issues that students had with the course for example.
  3. A Free Preview is always available. This is probably the best option to find out whether a course is for your or not. It is limited to five minutes by default which means that you can watch one or two lessons of that course before the time runs out. It is usually enough to watch the introductory video.
  4. You can message the lecturer with a click on the name. Useful if you have questions that you need answered before you make the signing up decision,.
  5. Beginner courses are not highlighted but if you find words such as beginners, from scratch, fundamentals or getting started, it is almost always a course that starts at the very beginning.
  6. Third-party sites offer coupons for Udemy courses. A deal on DroidLife for example made be sign up for several Android development courses for $39 in total (instead of $503). While I would not have signed up for all courses, it was cheaper than the courses that I was interested in. You find other deals such as The JavaScript Bundle, MySQL5 or iOS 8 to name a few. You can save hundreds of Dollars if you search for these deals or coupons.

General Tips

  1. One thing that I noticed while taking the courses was that you need to pay attention to the lecturer before you subscribe. Depending on where they come from, it may be difficult to understand them properly. That's where the preview comes in to help though
  2. You can play individual lessons as often as you want. This can be useful in several aspects, for instance to go back to a lesson while you are in the lab.
  3. The lesson comments can be useful as well and since you can leave comments of your own, there is a chance that other students or the teacher will respond to them.
  4. Lessons are marked as complete if you have watched the video from start to end or if supplementary files are downloaded.

Have you taken an online course before? If so, how was your experience?

Udemy course selection tips
Article Name
Udemy course selection tips
Udemy is an online learning platform that brings students and instructors together. Find out how to vet courses and teachers before you subscribe to them.

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  1. Anita @Edureka said on August 31, 2017 at 9:24 am

    The points Convenience and Availability are the two prime factors I have personally opted for Online learning. I have been learning from Edureka. Anyone here with any recommendations?

  2. Stefan Boeykens said on November 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve taken a few classes on Udemy. Some with discount codes through social media actions (e.g. macappware or stack social), where others were free. I’ve bought one course in particular that was very valid for my domain (although the narrative is rather dull).

    The quality depends on the instructors (as always) and tends to vary. Some are really good, some are mediocre.

    I’ve started conversing my own video-tutorials (that were on Youtube) to this platform for several reasons: well structured, options to watch online/offline on web or mobile device, more chance of protection from downloading (don’t think it is prevented completely, though) and an option to set a price (but allow discounts through codes). For a teacher, it makes sense: students arriving from your own promotion you get 100% royalty. If they are provided from other actions by Udemy (or affiliates) you get 50%. This seems a fair deal to me.

  3. Wakilongo said on October 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I would like to learn Oracle, MySQL and Network security

  4. Pants said on October 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    “The lesson comments can be useful as well and since you can leave comments on your own, there is a change that other students or the teacher are responding to them.”

    should be

    “The lesson comments can be useful as well and since you can leave comments OF your own, there is a CHANCE that other students or the teacher WILL RESPOND to them.”

  5. ed said on October 14, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Taking a web development course on Udemy right now.
    Been doing it for the past several weeks and find it to be very good.

    What I like about online video-based courses is that you can stop and rewind as much as you like. This is better than asking a live teacher to repeat something or to slow down to your pace. Really like it a lot.

    1. Clairvaux said on July 16, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      @ ed

      “you can stop and rewind as much as you like.”

      Yes. That used to be the case (and still is) with something called a… book. You may have heard of such contraptions. Or forefathers read them.

  6. XenoSilvano said on October 13, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I do not have a positive view of online courses due to my prior negative experiences with them. I took a few back when I was at school, even though the essence to the answers that I submitted where indeed correct, I still failed many of the questions simply due to having entered my answers in the wrong format(!). Of course, this was an automated online course where only specific input data were accepted for an answer to be considered valid.

    If I had to, I would rather take a course in person, given the choice, Hopefully any unnecessary complications such as the one described above, can avoided.

  7. Marco said on October 13, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I don’t understand the prices. I bought a course which was originally priced at $50. After using a voucher I paid $20. The course now is listed at $199.

    1. Clairvaux said on July 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      @ Marco

      List prices on Udemy are a scam. The real price is the heavily-discounted one you got.

      That’s as old as commerce, but Udemy is pushing it a bit far : hike your prices in an outrageous manner, then pretend you’re making the client a favor, and offer him a “rebate” (often through a third-party).

      There’s no way an Android course by a complete nobody on the Internet is worth 500 $ !

      The problem is, these prices are actually offered, and you can spend 500 $ for the thing, if you’re naïve or misinformed.

  8. Uhtred said on October 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Not tried Udemy but I’ve found some of the free courses over at to be pretty good. Short courses, video, forums for discussions etc… It’s linking in with Universities and quality reflects that.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 13, 2014 at 7:57 am

      I found YouTube to be a great source as well, there are some high quality courses available on the site, and while you don’t get the same level of support, it is free and a solid option.

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