A year of Udemy: 2016 in review

Well, this was an eventful year, wasn’t it? For the purposes of this blog post, we’re just looking at what made news in the Udemy universe over the past 12 months. As we reflect on 2016, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished but are even more excited for building upon that in a big way in 2017.

By the numbers
Back in February, we hit the 10-million-students mark, but we’ve since left that number in the dust. As of this writing, we’re proud to report that nearly 14 million people in 196 countries have signed up to learn on the Udemy platform. We’ve also got 14,000 instructors teaching in 48 different languages! A few more exciting stats:

  • Course consumption in 2016: equivalent to 540,282 days of learning (up 64%)
  • # courses published in 2016: 15,000 courses
  • # of enrollments in 2016: 27,046,643 students (up 30%)

Our fastest growing categories by enrollment were test preparation; IT & software; languages; photography; and development/coding.

International momentum
Udemy continues to grow fast and even faster outside the U.S. This year we officially entered our fourth international market, France, with the aim of securing more foreign language courses from native speakers. Other notable news on the international front included content partnerships with Bayt (Middle East), Bloter (South Korea), and Microsoft (Middle East/Africa).

Also on the international front, in June, we announced new funding from Naspers, a global internet and entertainment company with operations in 130 countries. This strong partnership will help Udemy build our international presence.

Udemy events
In June, we held our first in-person event for Udemy instructors here in San Francisco. For three days, about 150 instructors participated in workshops and discussions about course creation, promotion, and best practices in instructional design. Moreover, it was awesome to meet face-to-face with the talented and passionate people who’ve fueled the Udemy platform with their knowledge. Registration is now open for Udemy LIVE 2017!

It was also a banner year for the People Innovators series hosted by Udemy for Business in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and other cities. We rebranded the event series from “HR Innovators” this year to reflect the changing workplace and the need to evolve from seeing employees as resources to developing them as career professionals.

Udemy for Business
Speaking of our enterprise solution, Udemy for Business had a breakout year, quadrupling its customer base and tripling course consumption in 2016. We also rolled out Udemy for Teams, an affordable, self-service learning solution that gives groups of five to 20 people immediate access to more than 2,000 curated courses.

We were proud to welcome some impressive new customers to the Udemy for Business community too. To give an idea of how these leading companies are using our platform to transform their organizations, consider PayPal and Booking.com, both of which signed on with us in April 2016.

PayPal has already expanded the number of employees who get access to the Udemy for Business content collection, and they’re partnering with us to drive engagement and implement learning best practices. Online hotel reservation platform Booking.com, meanwhile, was so happy with Udemy for Business and how much employees have been using it, they decided to upgrade and make it available to more of their workforce.

Influencer courses
We launched a number of courses this year from well-known personalities in a variety of disciplines. Among the household names that joined the Udemy platform this year were New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, alternative medicine advocate and writer Deepak Chopra, behavioral economics and decision-making expert Dan Ariely, and Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert.

We’ve got more household names queued up, including a course from tennis legend Andre Agassi that will be launched soon.

Product news
We know that interactive learning is highly effective, especially for students in programming courses. To enhance our efforts around experiential learning and in-course exercises, we welcomed the dynamic duo behind Talentbuddy to contribute their expertise in this area.

We continued optimizing the Udemy platform to deliver a better course-taking experience, with enhancement to our video player and other improvements to minimize distractions, give students control over playback speed, and new bookmarks and questions features. And, last but not least, we introduced the Udemy app for Apple TV, which lets students turn their living rooms into an immersive learning environment.

And those are just the 2016 highlights! New students and instructors discover Udemy every day, and we’ll keep working hard to make sure everyone has a rewarding experience that helps them build the lives they imagine.