- Online education platform Udemy has enticed more than 10 million students to enroll in one of its tens of thousands of courses, which cost anywhere from a couple dollars to more than $250.
- Time reports that CEO Dennis Yang does not want to replace the four-year degree, but he sees Udemy as the ideal solution for adults seeking professional development opportunities on a flexible schedule, which the majority of Udemy users are.
- Unlike MOOCs, which are free, Udemy’s business model depends on course subscriptions, and Yang is sure students who expect career returns on the investment will remain willing to pay, which may eventually help the company become profitable.
While some coding bootcamps and online for-profit institutions aim to replace the traditional four-year degree altogether and Udemy does not, the company still represents a challenge to continuing education programs at traditional institutions. Many colleges and universities have figured out how to greatly expand their reach with online offerings, especially those providing professional development through corporate partnerships. Should Udemy continue gaining market share, along with Udacity, which has shifted entirely to a career-skills model, traditional higher education institutions could have significant competition.
Or maybe they’ll have models for internal improvement. Colleges and universities should keep an eye on the tech startups for new ideas.