Udemy and the Empire of Skills

Earlier this year, we looked at the new upskilling approaches at two of the leading Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Coursera and Udacity. Now it is time to turn to a third online education giant, Udemy, and its empire of skills, and hear from Udemy CEO Kevin Johnson.

Udemy is the most market-based of the online giants, in that it eschews the traditional education gatekeepers. It encourages individuals to develop courses without regard to where they might have gone to school or taught, and allows the market to determine value. It focuses on skills, far more than certifications or degrees. As of October 2018, Udemy had over 24 million registered users since the site launched in 2010, with over 80,000 courses posted on the site, by 35,000 instructors.

Udemy, like Coursera and Udacity, is rapidly expanding in 2018 from its consumer market to the market of employer training and upskilling. As outlined by experienced corporate training consultant Josh Bersin, these companies are part of a large-scale disruption now underway in the field of employer training. This disruption involves the forms of training utilized by the online giants (and others): the use of videos, small micro-learning experiences, mobile apps, and intelligent adaptive learning platforms. This disruption also involves new training products of the online giants: curating thousands of course offerings to tailor training for individual departments and individual workers, tracking and reporting student progress in real time, incorporating employer-developed training not only for current employees but also for a company’s “talent ecosystem”.



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