Piloting Personal Plan

We recently announced plans to introduce a new subscription option for individual learners. As we take our first steps to pilot, learn, and grow this new offering—Personal Plan—we’re excited to share more about how the program will work.

Why pilot a new subscription for individual learners?

  • Growth: Performance data from Udemy’s existing subscription programs suggests that offering learners more options —both subscriptions and à la carte course purchases—has the potential to drive more revenue for instructors and Udemy.
  • Sustainability: Students who make learning a regular habit get more value out of the Udemy platform and stick around, creating more value for instructors over time.
  • Alignment: Udemy’s mission is to improve lives through learning. A subscription model rewards instructors who create engaging content and help learners meet their goals month after month.

How will the program be structured?

  • Content: The initial pilot will consist of English courses in the Udemy for Business collection.
  • Access: Students will pay for monthly access to the subscription, with unlimited viewing of content within it. For first-time subscribers, there may be an option to trial the collection for a limited time before subscribing.
  • Audience: The pilot will start with exposure to a small percentage of students in specific English-speaking markets. As we gather data and confirm the results show promise, we’ll keep building and expanding.
  • Payouts: Payouts will follow the Udemy for Business model: 25% of monthly revenue will be designated for instructors, and each individual instructor will earn a proportion of this amount equal to the proportion of minutes consumed on their courses. For purposes of this calculation, revenue and consumption for Personal Plan will be distinct from revenue and consumption for Udemy for Business and Udemy Pro.
  • Participation policies: Participation criteria will be the same for Personal Plan as for Udemy for Business, including existing eligibility and exclusivity requirements.

What will the pilot measure?

  • Learning: We want to understand how students respond to subscription offerings. We’ll be tracking how much time subscribers spend learning, how often they choose to learn, and how they choose what to learn.
  • Revenue: We believe subscriptions will lead to incremental revenue for instructors and Udemy. To ensure we’re on track to meet this goal, we’ll measure the effects of a subscription offering on short-term conversion (both into the subscription and for à la carte purchases) and long-term revenue. Since the value of subscriptions will be driven by learner retention, we know this will take time and testing to understand.
  • Support: For subscriptions to deliver value for instructors, they can’t create disproportionate work. So, we’ll track the volume of questions per student in the subscription.

What will be built for the pilot?

Aside from the basic functionality for learners to manage their subscriptions, we plan to introduce a number of new platform elements over the course of the pilot, including:

  • Dedicated monthly instructor revenue reporting
  • A trial of enhanced piracy protections for participating courses
  • Visual differentiation of courses available via subscription
  • Robust student onboarding to help subscribers get right to learning
  • New engagement marketing to help students stay motivated and on track

Note that if a course is included in the piracy protection trial, lectures within it will not be available for download, even if an instructor has marked them downloadable.

Our focus with this pilot is on helping students engage and stay on track with their learning. As we learn more about how learners respond to the pilot, we’ll assess other features to help learners subscribe, engage, and keep coming back for more.

Looking toward the future

As always, we’re committed to learning, adapting, and building for the long term. As the pilot goes forward over the coming months, we’ll share updates with instructors to keep you up to date on our progress and our plans.

We believe giving learners the choice to purchase and subscribe to realize their goals will result in a stronger Udemy, better returns for instructors, and greater alignment with our mission to improve lives through learning.

If you have questions, suggestions, or feedback, we welcome it all in the Instructor Community.