The Evolution of Learning
The way we, as humans, learn seems constantly in flux. Not long ago, it was common for schoolrooms to host kindergartners through twelfth-graders alike. Even in the 1950s, there existed singular schoolrooms for children of all ages.
More recently, children grew up with different teachers each year, and if you had a background similar to myself, you might have been in a different building for each grade as well. But even now, the evolution of technology has spurred a simultaneous shift in the educational process, and learning looks quite different than it did even two decades ago.
What once might only be found in textbooks can now be easily accessed online. Where instructors in classrooms were once the main sages of education, a transition toward online platforms has taken place. One such site, Udemy, is a sort of catch-all provider which offers courses ranging from such topics as music to business.
The Good and the Bad
Udemy boasts a course portfolio of at least 40,000 lessons, many of which take a multiplicity of hours to complete. The potential to learn about a host of topics appears nearly boundless. But even with the massive ledger of courses Udemy offers, there’s a negative side as well, at least for those who are looking to get something tangible out of their learning.
In researching the course provider, it didn’t take much digging to uncover that Udemy offers no sort of authentic certification. At most, learners receive a certificate of completion after finishing a course, but not an official document of any sort, a fact which Udemy’s own support page notes. If I wanted to earn an MBA, Udemy wouldn’t be the site to go to, even if I can learn valuable, and even vital, business principles from instructors there.
To make matters a bit more complicated, the information offered on Udemy seems to undergo a very lax authentication process. According to Udemy’s own Course Quality Checklist, the main restraints on course creation center around structure, not content, and in that regard, the quality of the material seems questionable at best.
While neither of the previously-mentioned “cons” disqualify Udemy as a viable educational provider, they do put a potential damper on the ability to learn well. In fact, one of the main critiques I saw from various reviews of the site was that the instructors are nearly unreachable, either by email or phone. Thus, while there are teachers of a sort, the apparent lack of communicability seem to push it into the realm of self-education.
Knowledge for Its Own Sake
But an important question remains: is “self-education” such a bad thing?
Even if the educational process on Udemy must be taken with a fine grain of salt, there seems to be value in the platform, even if only as a repository for vast knowledge. In a basic sense, Udemy is an educational library where you can garner a host of opinions, observations, facts, and knowledge.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys continuing education for its own sake, then Udemy has a course for you. However, if you’re looking to get something (like a certification or tangible reward) from your online learning, Udemy won’t be the place to find it.
You should also consider reading about VTR’s approach to distance learning and the benefits of story-based education.
Article written by Braden Norwood