Udemy, a free-to-use online learning platform, has launched an app for the iPhone to allow students to learn anywhere they can use their mobile. Udemy hosts thousands of videos and live lectures from experts all around the world, and by separating its offerings from the desktop, it hopes to broaden its reach not only within the United States but globally.
Dinesh Thiru, Udemy’s VP of marketing, explains that the idea for the app came from the students themselves who have cut the cord in many other areas of their lives and wanted to do the same with their education. Now they’ll be able to take classes, watch videos or even look up ideas anywhere there is an internet connection – which in an increasingly connected world is almost everywhere.
Udemy conducted a survey of over 600 students and found that almost 50% said the most important aspect of their online education was on-demand access. The iPhone app will enable them to search for and enroll in both free and paid courses; follow video and audio lectures and presentations; access course materials; and save courses for offline viewing later.
Udemy boasts more than 700,000 registered users who make use of more than 6,000 videos, lectures and other education tools on the site. It offers courses on topics ranging from business to sports to cooking, and the new iPhone app will join an iPad app the company released late last year.
At the time, CEO Eren Bali said that he wanted Udemy to be there for students any time they had a free moment – even if a computer with a web browser wasn’t within reach.
He said Udemy’s students are highly engaged and most take classes geared towards professional development. In December 2012, Udemy raised $12 million to further “democratize education,” which means enabling top experts to teach any student anywhere in the world at any time, and reduce the price point.
An iPhone app is the next logical step to executing this vision, as many people in developing economies rely on their smartphones for Internet access and may not own PCs or iPads. Furthermore, many of Udemy’s students have other jobs, commitments, and maybe even courses of study. Enabling them to enhance their skills and education while on the bus, or while waiting at the doctor’s office, makes education even more accessible.
In only a few short days since appearing on the iTunes App Store, the app has already garnered a number of positive reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars and comments praising its features — especially the one that gives users and opportunity to save materials for viewing offline.