Gagan Biyani, Co-Founder of Udemy sent out a message to all instructors on the platform to announce some news a lot have probably waited for. From now on instructors can charge for their courses on Udemy.
Other new features include setting up invite only / private courses and promotion tools. As an interesting side note: Udemy now has nearly 15.000 members and quadrupled its traffic in the past four months.
According to the instructional video Gagan made about charging for a course, the feature is still in Beta. In order to charge for a course you need to send Gagan an email with three bullet points being
- what you would like to instruct
- a short bio about yourself
- links to your public profiles, websites or blogs
This is of course a very basic but yet efficient quality control model. WiZiQ is doing basically the same, when you would like to set up a course on their platform with the difference that at WiZiQ you also send in all the files and links and the team there builds the course. At Udemy, Gagan checks your credentials and after that the instructor can set up the course on his / her own.
One of my favorite new features is the embedding feature. If you click on the “Promote This Course” button you will get several options to share your course. One of them is an embed code that allows you to put a little promo badge of your course directly on your website or blog. Very nice and I think I see affiliate options coming in the near future.
Besides that Udemy is doing a great job in offering social features to grow their user base. One of them is using Facebook Connect feature which shows me who else in my network is connected to Udemy.
Furthermore Udemy use SendGrid, a service that allows you to import your email address books from various services, you probably know this option from the big players like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
To gather some insights, Udemy is reaching out to their users by a short survey with some very targeted questions
- How did you discover Udemy?
- How would you feel if you could no longer use Udemy?
- What would you likely use as an alternative if Udemy were no longer available?
- What is the primary benefit that you have received from Udemy?
- Have you recommended Udemy to anyone?
- What type of person do you think would benefit most from Udemy?
- How can we improve Udemy to better meet your needs?
- Would it be okay if we followed up by email to request a clarification to one or more of your responses?
And last but not least: Gagan takes care of the instructors. This is a very important, most often overlooked strategy. As Gagan says in the instructional video, people want to trust you and therefore they need to know, that you are really there. This is true for instructors who would like to charge for their courses but of course as well for the Udemy platform. Instructors need to trust Udemy that it is actually worth the effort creating a course.
If you take a look at the email Gagan sent out to the instructors you will see two interesting things.
The second paragraph of the email is
Remember, you can always e-mail me, Udemy co-founder and President, at email@example.com
And then, the first bullet point on the news list is about the funding
Fundraising. A group of angel investors has been kind enough to invest $1 million into Udemy. That means Udemy is around for the long haul and we’re solely focused on building you the best experience on the web!
Two really simple but effective ways to build up trust by being open and transparent. You have probably noticed this since I interviewed Gagan on EDUKWEST. From the beginning he shared his email with the world.
Of course, this strategy will get more and more difficult along the way as personal time is not scalable. But let me quote Gary Vaynerchuk here as I know that Gagan is a big fan of his philosophy
Effort is underrated.
If you try to answer as many questions as you can, even if it won’t be all for sure, there are enough people who will get a personal answer from you who will then talk about it. And people are smart enough to understand that a co-founder and president of a big company has other stuff to do than just answering your questions. The effort counts.