Though it has its critics, Udemy has proven to be an extremely popular platform for anyone looking to create and sell an online course. It is probably no surprise that since they came out with their offering there have been plenty of “copy-cat” services sprouting up all over.
We often get potential LearnDash customers writing to ask how they can create their own Udemy clone, but with a twist.
It is interesting to note however that the Udemy business model isn’t anything new. Sure, it was first in its niche to deliver that kind of solution to people, but not unique in the overall model.
The popular WordPress theme marketplace ThemeForest has the same business approach: provide a platform for others to sell their digital goods (in this case, WordPress themes) and take a percentage of the sales. Then, focus on generating traffic to the site which results in more sales for the people selling items. When those people make sales others want to join the marketplace so they too can make sales.
[Sidebar: If you’re looking for business ideas think about different industries that could benefit from this kind of business model. It works really well with digital goods as there is less headache in terms of support and setup.]
Udemy has undergone a few iterations since their inception, tweaking the way courses appear on the site and the overall learner experience. These changes are incremental. More minor updates than anything.
I am curious to know what the future of Udemy holds and if they have ambitions outside of their core offering today.
We could assess various paths for Udemy’s future all day, but there are two that I can think of that would be pretty cool and not terribly difficult for them to implement.
First is something I would call “Udemy Select” (okay, the name stinks, but go with me on this one).
Think of this as a potential way to compete with the likes of Lynda.com. Udemy could actively recruit proven experts across certain subjects and then price access to these courses in a membership-type format. Or, perhaps offer these “select” courses in bundles of some kind (like a course “tract”).
Udemy could easily find a market for these courses. All they have to do is look at their data and send promotions to people who have purchase similar courses in the past.
To make things interesting, existing and new Udemy course authors should have the ability to work their way into “Udemy Select” by proving their course is valuable. The best way to do this? Sell a lot of courses and capture incredible feedback. How these individuals would be compensated is a discussion for another time but I am sure something could be worked out.
The other potential way Udemy could evolve is by what I mentioned earlier with regards to “tracts”. This could be even easier than the “Udemy Select” approach.
Essentially they could lump together a handful of popular courses that are related to a certain discipline and allow people to purchase the “tract”. Heck, why not award a Udemy certificate while you’re at it? Coursera has proven that this is a profitable idea.
These are just two ideas that come to mind right straight-away when I think about Udemy and its potential future. They aren’t really flushed out and given more time I’m sure better ones would come to mind.
Regardless, Udemy and similar offerings represent a fascinating space in the online learning industry and I will continue to watch it with interest.
Oh, and if anyone from Udemy is reading this… you’re welcome 😉 .