Education

Udemy targets international students with support for 10 foreign languages

Above: Udemy's CEO Eren Bali

Image Credit: IntelFreePress

Online learning platform Udemy announced today that its site will support ten foreign languages and hit the milestone of one million students.

Udemy is a well-known provider of massive open online courses, otherwise known as MOOCs. It offers videos and live lectures from hundreds of expert instructors, giving people opportunities to expand their knowledge base and skill sets.

The company is growing quickly and 50 percent of Udemy students visit the site from outside the U.S. CEO Eren Bali grew up attending a one-room schoolhouse in Southeastern Turkey and said in a statement that the internationalization of Udemy is a “deeply personal project.”

“While the internet helped me lift myself up in ways I never imagined possible, so much of the great learning content available online is only in English,” he said.

Udemy will now have sitewide support for Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Russia, and Turkish. Korean and Hindi are slated to launch later this summer. All the text on the Udemy site will appear in the visitor’s native language, based on their location. All the content on the site will be automatically translated to make navigation easier. It will be simpler for instructors that do not teach in English to attract students.

The rising cost of college tuition coupled with high unemployment rates has led people to look for other ways to learn. Online education is more accessible for many people who do not have the time, money, or ability to participate in traditional classes. MOOCs have exploded over the past few years, also thanks to advancements in video technology and connectivity.

Teachers are benefitting from this alternative approach as well. Udemy revealed in June that its 10 most popular teachers have collectively earned an impressive $5 million. Before today’s announcement, there were already 600 Spanish courses on Udemy that several of the Spanish-language instructors earned more than $10,000. Fernando Rodriguez, a Madrid-based instructor who leads a Spanish course on iOS programming, racked up $32,000 in his first two months on Udemy.

The MOOC space is a crowded one, and Udemy competes with companies including Udacity, Khan Academy, Lynda.com, and Coursera. Udemy has distinguished itself by targeting professionals and corporate training programs through “Udemy for Organizations.” It offers more than 8,000 courses and has iPhone and iPads apps to accommodate its active mobile audience.

Udemy was founded in 2010 and has raised a total of $16 million. Investors include Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank, MHS Capital, and Learn Capital. (Disclosure: Lightbank and MHS Capital’s Mark Sugarman are investors in VentureBeat.)