The new product allows businesses and other organizations to establish their own subdomain on the site through which they can offer their own private-branded portal to the education content they believe will be most useful to their employees. Organizations also will be able to create their courses for internal use only but take advantage of Udemy's tools to produce them.
We included Udemy in our recent survey of leading MOOCs, putting it in a category with Coursera and edX, which offer massive open online courses from major universities for free. Udemy has some MOOC-like characteristics, offering about 75% of its courses for free, but it charges for the other 25%, said Dennis Yang, president and chief operating officer. "They're more like massively affordable online courses," he said.
Udemy's courses are also offered for "anywhere, anytime" consumption, rather than following a regular weekly schedule the way Coursera and edX classes do, and they focus on teaching specific technical or business skills rather than academic subjects.
[ Like it or not, online education is a growing trend. Read MOOCs Are Here To Stay, Profs Say. ]
At least initially, there is no charge for organizations of 250 employees or more to set up a Udemy subdomain. "We may charge in the future, but for now the platform is free to use, and you pay for the content you consume," Yang said. Large organizations will be able to negotiate a discount or a site license to cover all employees, he said.
For some time now, Udemy has been getting inquiries from companies that like the content the site offers but want to offer it to their employees in a more customized way, with the ability to curate the course catalog, Yang said.
Eventually, Udemy might add more technical integration options, such as single sign-on for corporate clients, Yang said. "Right now, we're focused on making the core experience for administrators and students as easy as possible."
Udemy offers more than 7,000 self-paced courses. The Udemy for Organizations version also comes with analytics for tracking employee progress through the courses.
One early user is Datalogix, an advertising technology company. "Our employees are extremely tech-savvy and extremely busy, so traditional training tools just don’t work for us," Chris Scoggins, senior VP and general manager, said in a statement. "Udemy for Organizations gives us the flexibility to let our people take courses when and where they have the time, and lets us take advantage of the amazing content on the Udemy platform -- as well as create our own courses to leverage all of our internal expertise."