It’s no secret that Udacity is one of the most popular MOOC-based e-learning providers in the world. Since the company has such popularity and reach, there are a lot of people who are looking for reliable Udacity reviews online. Today, we will take a good and thorough look at Udacity, and help you decide whether or not the platform is worth your attention.
First of all, I’ll tell you what is Udacity, in general. After that, we’ll talk about the different features it offers - we’ll have a Udacity Nanodegree review (to find out are Udacity Nanodegrees worth it?), talk about the platform’s features, and try to figure out is Udacity worth it, in general.
With that said, let’s dive right in.
- Simplistic design (no unnecessary information)
- High-quality courses (even the free ones)
- Variety of features
- A huge leap in prices
- Lack of customer support (in some cases)
- Lack of a community
Table of Contents
Udacity Review - Introduction
To start this Udacity review off the right way, let’s see if we can quickly cover what is Udacity and what are its purposes.
Udacity, like many others, is a MOOC-based platform. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses - this means that Udacity provides an online learning experience to anyone that would wish to sign up on the website and start learning.
Udacity saw the light of day all the way back in 2011. Funnily enough, it is actually a spin-off of free computer science classes that were at that time offered at Stanford University. The platform offers a wide variety of different features, and in this Udacity review, we’ll talk about the user Udacity Nanodegree reviews and Udacity Nanodegree Plus reviews (and why it’s not really all that relevant anymore).
Ease of Use
It’s no secret that people judge an e-learning platform (or any other website, for that matter) based on how easy and intuitive it is to use. Sure, after some time, the criteria for a “good / bad” site become much more in-depth and specific, but first impressions still matter a whole lot. That is why now, in this Udacity review, we’ll start off by taking a good look into the platform from a user-friendliness side of things.
The front page of Udacity is pretty generic, yet still neatly-made and informative. It doesn’t differ from most other online education-based platforms (meaning that the page offers all of the basic information and is quite generically designed; it has no outstanding features that would make it stand out). Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing - a lot of such platforms choose to invest in their content, and “keep it simple” when it comes to the visual side of things.
The page offers general information about the site, explains what is Udacity, provides a partner list, and a couple of other pieces of information. Not a lot of Udacity Nanodegree Plus reviews (or general Udacity reviews, at that) mention this, but the layout of the site is actually really comfortable and easy to navigate.
The color palette doesn’t irritate the eye, all of the functions are where you “would expect them to be”, the interface is intuitive and fun to use. Overall, a pretty solid performance!
The course pages themselves are OK. They are far from being spectacular - the “What You’ll Learn” section is a bit awkward, the “Popular Free Courses” section is literally just words written on stale, white cards. Sure, this may add to the simplicity of the whole design idea (and it was probably intended as a way of minimizing needless distractions on the page), but it still feels like a poor choice.
The upper part of the page (the course description, additional info, etc.), however, is cool - it’s pleasant, not too long, or, even worse, too short.
The quality of the content that a learning program provides is the most important aspect of building an online education-based platform should focus on. Naturally, for the people asking “is Udacity worth it?”, this Udacity review also takes content quality very seriously.
The general consensus among most of the online user Udacity reviews seems to be rather positive. Naturally, with the platform offering such a wide selection of things to learn and courses to learn from, it’s ultimately a case-by-case scenario. That being said, however, it is evident that whatever quality assurance program Udacity has installed, it seems to be working, for the most part.
Although content quality is in-line with the brand’s mentality, the same apparently cannot be said about the sense of community within the platform. There is little-to-no feeling of being immersed in a community of students, all working together towards the same goal. Rather, the course pages are pretty “sterile” - they're clean of any numbers or any signs that would indicate other life forms.
Additionally, there are a few Udacity reviews (don’t mix these up with Udacity Nanodegree reviews - we’ll talk about is Udacity Nanodegree worth it later on) that claim to have experienced poor customer support, or a lack of, in general. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that most of these Udacity reviews are talking about the free courses on the platform.
This somewhat explains things (free courses rarely get any support in most online learning platforms), but is still something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Udacity has a couple of unique features, namely the Udacity Nanodegree and the Udacity Nanodegree Plus. Since there are many people that question “is Udacity Nanodegree worth it?” and are looking for Udacity Nanodegree Plus reviews, these features are worth exploring a bit further.
- Udacity Nanodegree. The Nanodegree that Udacity offers is a form of learning where you pay a payment each month and study a particular subject for around 6-12 months, after which you receive a certificate of completion. Many people ask are Udacity Nanodegrees worth it - it’s a tough question to answer!
Students do receive a lot of information and get the ability to learn a particular IT-based skill rather thoroughly. However, it probably all depends on your own preferences and expectations. So, are Udacity Nanodegrees worth it? Well, they won’t guarantee you a job like the Nanodegree Plus does… Or, rather, did.
- Udacity Nanodegree Plus. The Nanodegree Plus was a special form of learning that the students over at Udacity could partake in. The main distinguishing feature of the “Plus” program was that Udacity guaranteed* you a job after you’ve successfully finished the desired program. Now, you may notice that I have placed an asterisk at the end of that word - because there always is one, isn’t there?
Udacity guaranteed you’d get a job… OR it would refund you the course price in full. Even though this might be somewhat reassuring, it still doesn’t really make up the time spent learning, at the very end. But you don’t need to worry about “is Udacity Nanodegree worth it?”, at least when it comes to its Pro version - as of December 5, 2017, Udacity no longer allows new participants in the program (in other words - it’s discontinued).
There is a lot of speculation online for why that’s the case, but no one has a clear answer.
These are (or, I guess in the Udacity Nanodegree Pro version - were) the two main features that the platform offers. If we’d look over at some of the user Udacity reviews on these specific features (now - feature), we can see that students are generally satisfied with both the amount and the quality of choices found on the platform.
Price is probably the most controversial topic when it comes to online learning platforms. Most of these platforms have different methods to price their courses and features (subscriptions, one-off payments, bundles, etc.). However, even with a wide variety of pricing models available, it’s still really tough to find a balance between satisfying your customers and earning money.
Udacity offers students around 200 courses completely free of charge. You can come in, register, and start learning. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier in this Udacity review, these courses rarely have any student-to-student or student-to-teacher interaction. When it comes to the actual prices for Nanodegrees, however, things take a quick leap.
A Nanodegree course costs $200 per month, and (as I’ve mentioned earlier) can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months. This means that the price of a Nanodegree on Udacity could go up to $2400! This is pretty high, especially when you keep one, single variable in mind - there is no middle ground. There are no courses that would “ease” you into the potentially overwhelming prices.
And that was my reaction, too! I looked around their free courses, and when I stumbled on the first paid one (which was around $800) I literally gasped. That said, this was the case until I found out that you could actually receive financing from Udacity - this surely eases the prices by a bit!
With all of the objective, measurable factors discussed and dealt with, there is one more point I would like to cover in this Udacity review - learning experience.
You might notice that there are a lot of Udacity reviews that claim to be able to tell you “is Udacity worth it or not”, but they only focus on the stale, generic points like prices, courses amounts, topics, etc. But why is “learning experience” so important when it comes to online learning platforms?
Well, it’s pretty simple, really. You see, a platform could be an A+ in all of the objectively-defined departments (great prices, awesome features, thousands of courses), yet it can still lack a fun and interactive learning experience. It’s something that’s really difficult to measure and put into numbers, but it still nonetheless is very important.
Now, when it comes to is Udacity “worth it” or not, you will find that the general consensus is that the site does provide a really nice and fun learning experience. Keep in mind that this is mainly concerning the free courses - Nanodegrees are a whole different story. These learning programs are designed to both last an extended period of time, and jampack a ton of information, so a positive learning experience is most likely a guarantee.
However, looking back at the free courses, one would think that, with all of the negative feedback on customer support and community interactions, they wouldn’t be too pleasant to study. But this doesn’t seem to be the case, whatsoever - students have quite a positive outlook on most of the free courses offered by Udacity.
If anything, this just goes to show that the platform does take care of the quality of its products, even if they are (quote, unquote), “free”.
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There are new online learning and education-based, Massive Open Online Course-providing platforms opening up and establishing themselves almost every single day. With such growth in competition, industry veterans are trying their hardest to maintain their places on top, whether it be with the implementation of additional and unique features, price promotions, competitions, or in any other way.
It truly is a great time to be a student! You have such a wide variety of platforms and courses to choose from, that it might even be tough to pick just one!
However, if there’s any one criteria that you should be mindful of when choosing a platform, it has to be quality. The quality of the content provided by the company will make a whole ton of a difference when it comes to your own personal growth and career opportunities / development. Remember - a key piece of valuable information could be the deciding factor between you getting a dream job or missing out completely.
Same as many other Udacity reviews, I’ve tried to objectively cover the platform and all of its notable features. However, in this Udacity review, I’ve also tried adding the “feeling” factor - whether or not the platform feels good to use, navigate and - ultimately - learn from. Udacity does seem to be a good choice for learners who are interested in IT-related topics, even though it does have some notable issues (but who doesn’t?).