If Bill Nye taught us anything, it is that learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Udemy agrees, which is why the startup launched an iPhone app today to provide instant, on-the-go access to its course offerings.
Udemy is online learning platform that offers videos and live lectures from hundreds of expert instructors. With this mobile app, users will be able to access the content whenever they want to learn.
“We talk to our students constantly,” Dinesh Thiru, Udemy’s VP of marketing, said in a statement. “We find that Udemy students are taking their courses from planes, trains and buses, during lunch, from the comfort of their couch, or before bed. With the Udemy iPhone app, we want to empower even more students to learn where and when they want to learn.”
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.
The portal currently features over 5,000 courses on technology and business, as well as lifestyle, arts, and sports. Udemy released an app for iPad in November 2012, which CEO Eren Bali said was intended to help Udemy’s active student community “turn idle time into a learning opportunity.” 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 into 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 as possible.
Gone are the days when professors shout at their students to put away their cell phones. Makes you feel kind of bad about playing Angry Birds, doesn’t it?