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    Definitions 4 min read

    Udemy is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform offering a range of learning courses designed for students and professionals seeking to improve academic performance or develop new skill sets.

    Founded in 2010, Udemy attracts more than 40 million students into its alternative learning platform that contains over 150,000 courses developed by 65,000 instructors and field experts. 

    MOOC and distance learning

    The internet’s dramatic reshaping of the education landscape has been underway since the early 2000s. As part of the emergence of the digital classroom, the MOOC movement began to take shape in the early 2010s. The learning format envisioned remote learners and virtual classrooms that could reach as many learners as possible. Organizations like Coursera, Skillshare, and EdX offer free courses with options for paid certificates to millions of students across the globe.

    Udemy is one of the MOOC platforms that seek to reach the widest possible number of students and provide a quality learning experience outside the traditional university system. 

    How does Udemy work?

    The courses that Udemy offers help students prepare for jobs and professionals to develop and improve their skills. 

    Field experts and academics can register, build online courses on topics or subjects they’re experts at, and sell them to registered students and professionals alike who are interested in learning. 

    Udemy provides instructors with a teaching platform that includes course development tools. They can create and upload content and learning materials, such as recorded videos, audio clips, presentations, PDF documents, and folders. Instructors can interact with learners through the platform’s discussion board. 

    Learners can download the app from Google Play or App Store, sign up, register for a course, learn at their pace, and earn certificates indicating they have finished the particular course. 

    What courses does Udemy offer?

    The platform offers a range of different academic and professional courses, from business entrepreneurship to personal growth to technology and the arts. Students can choose from more than 150,000 video courses, and the list keeps growing every month as new courses are added. Many courses are practical and applicable immediately for work—design, office productivity, programming, photography, and more.

    Udemy for business

    Businesses can take advantage of Udemy’s training and development platform, giving their employees access to premium courses. It also offers privileges to analytics hosting and distribution.

    Advantages and disadvantages of Udemy

    As a MOOC platform, Udemy organizes its courses by categories, and each category consists of a series of standalone modules (videos, lesson notes, and assessment tests). The students can download the lessons, so they can watch or listen to the recorded lectures offline at their own pace and convenience.

    There are offered courses for free, but the premium content is pay-to-access. One downside of Udemy is that it does not offer degrees or certifications accredited by pertinent accreditation bodies.

    Some top alternatives to Udemy


    Coursera offers courses with academic focus and with ties to prominent universities across the globe—North America, Europe, Australia, South America, South Africa, and Asia. Students can take courses for audit and credit, and they can apply for financial aid as well. Graduate degree programs and capstone projects are also offered both for students and professionals. 


    Skillshare features thousands of online courses and a library of short courses available to the public for free. These courses are created by individuals—instructors and professionals who are experts in their chosen fields—but they have no ties with universities, so Skillshare does not offer diplomas or degrees. 


    EdX is a MOOC platform that provides free online academic courses to students. These courses are developed by well-known universities, such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University of California (Berkeley), etc. Anyone across the globe with an Internet connection can access its free quality content.