Our marketplace is growing rapidly – from 55,000 courses in 2017 to over 196,000 courses today. With this in mind, we're working on helping courses stand out with updated packaging and pricing for certain types of content.
As our marketplace expands, it gets harder for instructors to stand out and tougher for learners to find the right course for their needs. Therefore, we're always looking for more ways to differentiate content, building on existing methods like our badging system. We believe that better differentiation will create opportunities for more instructors and improved learning experiences for students. The Select collection is a pilot program that we hope fulfills this goal to optimize our marketplace.
In the coming weeks, we’re testing a new “Select” badge and course landing page design for an initial collection of 10 web development courses. The courses chosen for this pilot have historically gotten strong positive student responses, are popular within their category, and include characteristics that learners care about such as practice tests and coding exercises.
As we learn more from the first phases of the pilot, we'll let you know more about program requirements, how you can get involved, and how the program will expand.
Udemy Community Team
What is the badge for?
@Bella I absolutely welcome experimentation that improves the experience of students and instructors. It is definitely getting very crowded and some segmentation may be helpful.
However, reading this announcement I am failing to understand the purpose of the pilot. What is it testing and what is the desired outcome? What is the measurement of success of the pilot?
From what I'm reading, Udemy is choosing 10 top performing courses and is giving them an extra badge.
If the courses are already top performers, what should be the signal here to the students that they were not seeing without it?
An explanation of what the "Select" badge means is missing.
The best-seller and highest-rated badges are mostly self-explanatory, but what is the "Select" badge's intended meaning?
I'm a little concerned over this "Select" badge. It sounds an awful lot like Udemy would be choosing winners and losers.
@Bella .... Udemy needs to be careful here. I get that you want to promote the best courses (and you already do), but when you start "Selecting" courses, you are gonna start causing new, and even existing, instructors to ask themselves "what's the point of creating content if I can't compete?"
Hi @DanielEvans, @MichaelPog, and @CarlosDeLeon, I'm happy to answer your questions!
The “Select” collection is intended to differentiate content that isn’t just bestselling or highly rated, but contains certain learning experiences we know learners really care about, such as robust practice.
The pilot is designed to see if changing how we present courses that have these characteristics will meaningfully change how learners perceive them. To be really clear, while the badge is one component, the more meaningful change is the landing page design, which you can preview in our blog post. Early user testing suggested the different design helped learners understand the value of these courses.
Hi @ThomasMitchell, we hear you that to have a healthy marketplace, it has to be possible for newcomers to get a chance to prove the value of their content.
One of the challenges that exists on the marketplace today is that all content is generally packaged and presented the same way, which means brand new courses with no social proof are competing directly against incumbents with tens of thousands of enrollments and reviews. We believe creating additional differentiation actually benefits marketplace health by creating different tiers of competition.
"We believe creating additional differentiation actually benefits marketplace health by creating different tiers of competition..."
@Bella, does that mean that a relatively new course, without other badges, could get the Select badge?
If so, why did Udemy select curses that "have historically gotten strong positive student responses, are popular within their category..." for the pilot?
I would think those are most likely the best-sellers or highest-rated.
The text I quoted below also appears to imply that the Select badge would go to courses that already have those other badges:
"The “Select” collection is intended to differentiate content that isn’t just bestselling or highly rated..." (emphasis mine).
It all sounds very obtuse @Bella ….. you already have bestseller, new, highly rated etc. It would be far more beneficial to understand how and when the conversion to the subscription model is panning out. Every course NOT in UB is now at a distinct disadvantage with the large banner proclaiming Personal Plan proudly across the top. Those courses stand out far more than the bestseller tags for example. Misleading at best given it is exactly the same limited curated courses for UB. Not to mention students trying to buy a course are being lured into purchasing PP instead. Sudents asking me why my courses are not good enough to be in PP……
Sounds like an obscure plan to try and make us think something positive is happening when most are reporting their incoming is nose diving…..
@Bella , I like this, since there are a lot of courses and it feels difficult for the ones who are top 5, but don't get any badges. 2 questions:
1) Do the current courses with Bestseller or Highest Rated badges also get the select badge?
2) What are the success criteria for the experiment?
OK, sounds like ultimately this is an incentive for instructors to add practice tests or coding exercises to their courses.
Practice tests are really only relevant to certification prep courses, and coding exercises to courses teaching coding in the systems the coding exercise feature supports. Just a handful of categories really.
Is there some sort of manual review associated with being marked "select"? Is it restricted to certain categories? If not I'd think there's a possibility of instructors just converting their quizzes to practice tests to sneak in.
Great question, @CarlosDeLeon, I've forwarded this one to our team so I can provide a more complete answer. I'll get back to you with more information soon! Thank you for your patience.
Hi @SharonRamel, thank you for your question!
Our goal with Personal Plan is to build a complement to the transactional model to serve motivated, career-oriented learners (for example people who are trying to enter a new professional field, or seeking a promotion in a technical role). It's definitely not to "lure" anyone into purchasing a subscription if a purchase is what's right for them.
We're sorry to hear you haven't been seeing the sales results you're hoping for. That said, given the differences in subject matter, we don't expect that Personal Plan would compete directly with your courses.
Hi @DiogoAlvesd487 and @FrankKane,
The initial 10 courses were manually chosen for the program for their strong historical response and their high-quality practice activities.
The goal here is to understand we can successfully package content that current learners have indicated is high value so that new learners can immediately recognize it as such.
You're very right that scaling this kind of treatment will require a careful and systematic way of identifying courses that fit this description. Right now we're focused on understanding if the page design and the badge do what they're supposed to do, but smart curation is certainly on our radar as we develop the program.
Frank, you're also right that "strong practice" will mean something different in different fields. We've started with one where our existing tools are relevant; future iterations will require we get more creative (or introduce more tools, or both). That said, practice tests can be useful for more than just certification prep -- having to recall what's been learned helps students retain what they're learning, no matter what discipline they're in.
@Bella, based on the fact that Udemy doesn't provide us the data about the usage of the practice tests and quizzes I deduce that Udemy doesn't even have this data.
Why does Udemy then provide preference to courses with practice exercises if there's no data to back up the assumption students actually use them?
There's a question that students can answer when they leave a review "Are there enough opportunities to apply what you are learning?"
However this has nothing to do with the absence or presence of practice tests and quizzes.
So does the badge go to courses with a high rating on that question? Or just for having many quizzes and practice tests (that potentially nobody uses)?
Thank you for keeping us in the loop with new and potential changes. Personally speaking, the marketplace soft learning courses seem to be slipping behind in terms of focus as there is a movement towards the core, Udemy business and the personal plan. There does seem to be a split between those providing business and tech-related courses and more of the soft learning courses. I get that, and I'm sure as a business, Udemy is constantly evaluating its efficiencies to revenue.
The broader issue for many people is the drop in revenues month on month, which is a whole new topic in itself, and I'm sure there are far more capable experts here to discuss the verbiage around that.
When we put all this into an emotional pot, I think many instructors are feeling lost, uninspired, and for some, scared, watching their revenues, in some cases, dry up or be significantly reduced.
I have worked in communications and always used one mantra: little information is dangerous. Even more so is the case when dropped into an environment where some people feel lost, uninspired or scared.
This topic, for me, is a perfect example of this. I, like many, appreciate the engagement, but releasing info like this without a complete comms plan or information outline is dangerous and, I believe, causes the responses you have had to what may be a groundbreaking and brilliant idea that can benefit. Many people hear more revenue loss, more culling of the weak, and more changes they don't understand or control.
Again please understand where this viewpoint is coming from. I am incredibly grateful for Udemy; this year will be my fifth year. It's been a challenging but very successful space for me. I think fundamental changes need to be more than a short topic post on here.
Be Love Give Love
This is all well and good, but what would be better is the ability for the user to sort courses by.
Lots of other marketplaces do this and Udemy should as well.
Hey @CarlosDeLeon, I'm back with an answer to your question, as promised! 🙂
Yes, there's potential overlap between these groups of courses. To clarify, when we talk about "creating new tiers of competition," we're talking about ways to present content learners are telling us is very high value that help set them apart at the upper end of the spectrum, versus creating new ways of presenting unproven or low-rated content.
Even with current badges, we think there's still a lot of room to make outstanding Udemy content stand out. "Bestseller" tells learners what's popular with purchasers; "highest-rated" says what's gotten rave reviews, but both of those are limited to a single axis and one course per topic/category combination. We're looking to understand if a more holistic understanding of "great content," combined with a real change to the way we display this valuable content to learners, will produce a meaningful difference in the way they perceive it and are willing to pay for it.
I think we've confused people by mentioning Udemy's specific practice features too many times. While we do know from research and data that students perceive these to be valuable (and that there's a lot we can do to improve them and make them even more so), the concept of "strong practice" doesn't have to be limited to inclusion of specific features.
"How do we identify courses with strong practice activities?" is a very important question -- but not the one we're testing with this initial effort. Right now we're focused on understanding if, given a collection of manually chosen courses we know to have strong practice based on multiple factors, we can present these courses in a way that makes prospective learners understand why they're uniquely valuable. Does this help?
I wholeheartedly welcome such a move. The current tag system doesnot do complete justice and if Udemy curates a "select" collection then I am in for it.
It will give better signals to the audience and will be solely based on engagement . Which is great .
Current badges are not based on engagement . Anything based on engagement is a WIN. Because at the end of the day if the course is good more students will be hooked. Do practice tests, assignments etc. and give reviews.
Great step Udemy
I believe this is a good initiative - to help great courses to stand out. I would like to add a few more ideas:
- Badge "New" - maybe it would be better to last a bit longer - it is a real pain in the a.. when you publish a course for a popular topic and find your course at page #30 - no matter how good it is, that's a real struggle. This might be helpful for new content;
- Badge "Bestseller" - I would propose to make a distinction here:
a) "Bestseller" or "Popular" only for those courses that are "hot" in the past few months;
b) "Classic" or "Must have" badge for those that dominates the field for years;
That will help in letting new champions to emerge, while not threatening current champions;
- Badge "New talents" - a badge for new instructors that published few courses within a 1st year of entering Udemy (plus, the courses have shown some results) - that will be helpful to identify and support new talented course creators;
Of course, all other ideas are welcome.
@Bella , what do you think?
If you really want to help people stand out, let us highlight our resume on the landing page. This would allow the true experts in our fields to show how we are qualified to teach particular topics.
Im sure a potential student would prefer to learn from someone who has actual experience in the industry versus someone who just regurgitates documentation.
@SharonRamel … Yeah, but how many people look at that? I’m guessing not many. Highlighting right on the landing page makes it easier to catch the student’s eye.
Hey @Bella thanks for the response above. One point I was trying to make, and didn't make clearly, is there is a fine line between quizzes and practice exams for many courses. Both provide interactivity, but it's always been in my head that practice exams are intended for simulating certification exams, while quizzes are more lightweight and appropriate for other types of courses. It just seems odd to offer a "select" badge to courses with practice exams but not quizzes, given how similar they are. Unless the intent is specifically to highlight certification prep courses that have practice exams included (instead of offered as an additional purchase.)
My concern is that we'd see instructors gaming the system by converting their existing quizzes into practice exams just to gain this new label. But as you said, the experiment isn't at the point of worrying about implementation details like this yet.
Hi @JulianJenki396, we genuinely appreciate your feedback. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible and I do want to reassure you that, as of now, we are still in the early stages of this test pilot, which is focused on getting learnings to determine expansion plans. The pilot is still narrowly focused on the objectives we described. Once we learn more, we'll be able to share more information with our community. Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Thank you for all the insightful suggestions you provided, @JohnBura, @Boris035, and @ThomasMitchell. Each of them has been added to our internal feature request tool for the Product Team to review.
We are always interested in hearing your feedback, so please keep it coming!
I'm always happy to help, @FrankKane, and I just wanted to reiterate that we're starting with a hand-chosen group of courses we know have strong practice, including using some of Udemy's provided practice tools -- but as we mentioned above, the way we'd identify "strong practice" at scale may be different. This test is focused on understanding how the badge and landing page design affect student response.
Our team is excited about what we'll learn from this test, and we'll definitely share more information once we've got it. Stay tuned! 🙂
I really like the idea. However, I hope to see a more objective way to define the Select courses. There should be a well-defined process and criteria that instructors can work towards to get the badge.
I don't like this idea, I think it solidifies even more the top performing instructors. I think the absolutely critical problem to solve for Udemy is how to make students discover and actually buy new courses which are of great quality but that obviously don't have the traction in terms of student numbers and reviews.
@JulianJenki396 you are a wordsmith.
Very well said. I would simply add that we should never "put all eggs in one basket"—If you have more than 1 or 2 years in Udemy, and have not yet expanded to a second or third source of income, and totally depend on Udemy NOT ONLY for their Marketing but also for their Conversions/Sales...Then you will have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night sweating.
I appreciate your gratitude towards the platform. A lot of people have made bank historically, but now it´s all negative energy towards Udemy. They forget who has been feeding them this whole time—I remember when you could get fans for cents into your Facebook Business Page. And reach a high % of them organically. Then the organic reach died, and you had to pay to reach them with advertising. I had 6,000 on one page. Then the method basically became obsolete—I can´t even begin to imagine the people suffering this in Udemy now, having dozens of courses, making thousands...And now: Nothing. Or, a lot less. OUCH.
Things change, you adapt or die. And the people complaining need to skill up in Marketing & Conversion...Specially those that I see in esscoteric topics...Those could go right off Udemy with their social proof (students, reviews) and sell a course, or package all them into one high-ticket offer outside of Udemy.
Udemy gets you TRAFFIC and gets you SALES.
If you cannot get that in this marketplace. If you cannot follow the rules. If you cannot adapt to the trend of changes...Then get out! Go get your own traffic and conversions—See if it´s that easy 😎 If you can´t, you must play by Udemy´s rules. And if you lost your earnings, you must be grateful for how long you went leaning on Udemy´s back. I´m not being too harsh. Just stating the facts. I am so blessed that Udemy gets me traffic and conversions. And that I don´t have to go create a Sales Page, and pay for a Course Hosting and Delivering platform, and a Payment Processor, and Facebook/YouTube ads. And do heavy SEO to rank posts on my blogs. HELL, I don´t even need to pay a domain, or do much else besides record, edit, and upload. Udemy does the rest. SO THANK YOU! AND if this is the end, thanks for what you provided up until this point. Love you Udemy. You´ve been great to me, and I will never forget you. ♥
Here´s what I think about this upcoming improvement:
I trust Udemy.
So do what you guys need to do, you have my faith and support.
P.S. If you woke up today, after a couple or more years dedicating yourself to Udemy, and find that your income took a nose-dive...Then realize next time, you shall not put all your eggs in one basket—And also realize that your mother probably fed you 15-20 years before she kicked you out. She just couldn´t feed you anymore, and she wanted you to learn to feed yourself (traffic and conversion) now, will you be ungrateful with your own mother?
OMG! ♥️ I would be so grateful if the shiny new "Projects you'll create" widget would be available not only for a few selected instructors' courses but for every instructor since many of us are creating these project-based hands-on courses.
Any chance to get at least this feature in the near future @Bella?
This Project widget could be a huge visual selling point for students, and I can only imagine this would be a clear WIN-WIN situation for Udemy and the Instructor's Community.
Hi @RobertPetras, I'm so sorry to have missed this amazing suggestion, but thank you very much for tagging me again! I have added this to our internal feedback tool so our Product team can take a look. I'll make sure to get back to you here in this thread if there are any updates.
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