Udemy Online Course Millionaires

HEDLINE: Udemy’s Online Course Millionaires

21 months have gone by since our last report on how much top course creators on the online learning platform can make. That definitely qualifies for an update as Udemy shared new data on its course creator earnings.

At the time of our first post, Udemy’s Top 10 course creators had earned a combined $5 million with the top person having made $450k over the course of two years.

While back then these numbers were a strong confirmation that learning online literally pays if you are a top instructor, I think they also showed that learners were willing to give up-and-coming startups, like Udemy, a chance instead of only putting their money with established players in the field, like Lynda.com for instance.

Today we already think of it as normal or an established business that learners choose online courses to acquire new skills and are willing to pay for them, and people can make a nice living creating such courses.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of Udemy. Not only has the startup added some senior executives last year along with raising more money as well as heavily invested in their marketing efforts. They have also expanded into offering part of the course catalogue in seven local languages and opened a first overseas office in Dublin, Ireland. All of it should translate into making the platform and its creators more money, shouldn’t it? It does.

The first Udemy instructors have become millionaires teaching via the platform with the Top 10 Udemy instructors earning a combined $17 million and individual earnings ranging between $500,000 and $8 million.

The top three Udemy instructors are currently

  • Web Development – Rob Percival
    Earnings: $2.8 million
    Students: 120,000
  • Web Development – Victor Bastos
    Earnings: $900,000
    Students: 52,000
  • Personal Development – Alun Hill
    Earnings: $650,000
    Students: 47,000

Once more, work skills for the knowledge and tech economy make the top of the list. It also shows that talented instructors are not a nine day wonder. Victor Bastos who comes in on second place teaches on Udemy since 2011 and made top of the earners list in 2013. Since then he doubled his earnings.

Udemy states to have 12,000 instructors and 5 million students on its platform. The US-based startup raised $48 million to date with a $32 million Series C in May 2014 to ramp up its international expansion.

Further Reading

  • Sharing Economy Millionaires: Top Udemy Instructors Continue to Crack Major Earnings Threshold | PR Newswire

Picture License AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Thomas Hawk

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.

  • Wow, good for them for doing so well on Udemy. Very impressive!

  • ddeubel

    One big problem. Most of the people paying just watch a video (get credit), click through quizzes with no attention at all (get credit). There is no rigor or validation of student learning. They just want the certificate. What Udemy illustrates is the money for teachers/schools is in not caring that students learn and making it quick and easy to allow students to get a piece of paper. They pay for the certificate. Is it a paper mill? I won’t go that far but it approaches such. It’s a Mooc that is paid for at the start. A Mooc with massive marketing dollars for those at the top.

    My view is from the inside. Sure, it is nice to have stuff online so students can learn at their leisure/convenience. But if this ends up as being recognized by employers/schools/governing bodies as learning, we are all losers. There needs to be a teacher/person on the other end verifying student outcomes/achievement. Not so in the case of Udemy and that’s what puts it in my left pile, not that on the right.