We sat down with four Udemy learners across several different roles and industries in the San Francisco Bay Area to understand what prompted them to learn at work and why they chose Udemy as their learning resource. Here’s what they had to say about learning new skills on the job.

Learning opens new career doors for employees

Career changes were the most significant drivers behind why these students took courses on Udemy and Udemy for Business. Regardless of whether their role changes were planned or unplanned, acquiring new skills helped them successfully transition into new careers.

“When I came across Udemy, my company just had a restructuring, and I moved into a new role I didn’t yet have the skills for,” explained Melissa Wilder, Marketing Manager at Lumo Bodytech. “I was previously responsible for only social media & content marketing, and suddenly I was responsible for web design, SEO, and other areas of marketing. I searched on several online learning sites but found Udemy to be the most useful for my needs.” Taking “how-to” digital marketing courses on Udemy enabled Melissa to excel in her new marketing role and launched her career in an entirely new direction.

For Tiffany, who started out with a journalism college degree, acquiring programming skills on Udemy propelled her onto a new career path as a developer in Silicon Valley. “My first course on Udemy was in Javascript as I wanted to learn front-end development,” recalled Tiffany.

Since her first course on Udemy, Tiffany has continued to learn and grow in her career. “More recently, through taking Java, Android, and React programming courses on Udemy, I was able to transition from being a front-end developer into my upcoming role as an Android developer,” added Tiffany, who now works at a major financial services firm.

Bite-sized learning to solve problems

Aside from career changes, these students also turned to learning on Udemy to solve specific problems they encountered on the job. In Melissa’s case, she was trying to figure out how to boost her company’s website conversion rate. She searched on Udemy for landing page optimization courses and enrolled in several courses. Melissa took advantage of the bite-sized videos featured in the Udemy course curriculum—consuming only key sections that helped solve her problem.

Practical skills on the go

When we asked these four learners why they chose Udemy over other resources out there, the students said they were drawn to the practical skills offered on Udemy and the ability to learn on the go.

For Kenny, who works as a developer at a tech company, “Udemy is more personable than other learning platforms and the skills taught are much more immediate to what I need to use in my day-to-day job.”

Melissa reads a lot of marketing books to help her understand theory and pitch specific projects to her company. She also follows marketing blogs for useful tips. “But in terms of practical marketing skills, I always end up back at Udemy,” she added.

When compared to traditional training, Dayo—a program manager at a car company—loves the portability of learning on Udemy. “I could be on a plane, a bus, or in line at the grocery store and be able to learn. That’s the kind of thing you don’t get when it comes to traditional classroom training. The power of mobility is fantastic—I can learn anything anytime. Sure everyone has an app. But when you combine mobility with something as good as Udemy, it’s cool.”

What matters: Instructors who are passionate and authentic

But the passion Udemy instructors possess about what they teach is at the heart of why these users keep coming back to learn.

“The Udemy instructors genuinely and authentically want to help their students. You can sense this devotion in them. They breathe what they are trying to teach,” said Kenny.

The Udemy instructors’ excitement for their subject matter is infectious, and it’s what motivates learners. One of Melissa’s favorite instructors, Isaac Rudansky teaches a Google Adwords course on Udemy and a website optimization course. “Isaac is so excited when he’s teaching. You can tell he loves what he’s talking about so much. It’s electric. When I watch his course, I start to feel the same kind of passion for the topic,” shared Melissa.

Udemy instructor Evan Kimbrell shares that same kind of energy. Evan is another of Melissa’s favorite digital marketing gurus who teaches courses on growth marketing. “Evan’s jokes and his personality draw me in. The compelling personalities of Udemy instructors and the quality of their content is a powerful combination. It makes me want to keep on learning,” continued Melissa.

Tiffany attributed her success at her first job to Udemy instructor Anthony Alicea’s course Javascript: Understanding the Weird Parts. “The reason I excelled at my first programming job was because of Anthony Alicea’s Javascript course. His course wasn’t just about the syntax; he also went deep into all the crazy stuff. He broke things down. There’s lots of jargon in tech, but he would stop and say “big word alert,” let’s stop and talk about these things. He provided context and understanding. The way he explained things clicked with the way I learn. I would take any course by him,” said Tiffany.

From the employees: What motivates them to learn at work

Finally, we asked them, how can organizations motivate you to learn at work? Overwhelmingly, the students felt learning has to stem from a situation that arises at work.

“Regarding getting colleagues to dedicate time for learning, the motivation has to come from something at work. For example, they might want to move into a new position and need to learn financial analysis skills. Unless there’s some driving impetus at work, it’s difficult to get someone to learn,” offered Dayo.

Even if “the need to learn” is present, carving out time for learning at work is critical, or it might not happen. Kenny suggested creating dedicated time to learn during the workday. “My team needs to just block off time to learn so they aren’t disturbed. Right now it’s all about machine learning and Python, and they need to do hands-on exercises. To make time for learning at work, my team must be allocated a big chunk of isolated time.” See 9 Steps to Overcome the Biggest Obstacle to Learning: Time.

The power of online learning

The power of online learning is the preferred way to learn in today’s fast-paced world. Melissa’s company offers a $2000 education stipend that she uses on Udemy. “A couple of times my manager asked me if I wanted to go to a conference or go get a marketing certificate. But I always decline his offers because I can get so much more from Udemy. In my evenings, instead of watching Netflix, I watch learning videos on Udemy and am so much more productive with my free time.”

While Dayo had found Udemy on his own, when he joined his current car company, he was excited to discover they offered unlimited online learning on Udemy for Business for employees. “Now I have access to online learning on Udemy for Business whenever I want, I just went to town and am learning pretty much every chance I get,” he said.

For more information on what it takes to get employees learning, see our new report: What Motivates Employees to Learn: New Survey Insights.

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