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Amazon Launches Udemy Competitor

Like Udemy, Amazon’s new online learning portal allows individuals to directly offer courses online.

Amazon Online Learning homepage

As of last week, the Amazon marketplace has an online learning section, featuring technical courses developed by Amazon and as well as external experts.

The platform’s model resembles that of Udemy: letting individuals offer courses, not just organizations. And it has already attracted popular Udemy instructors.

A few months back, Class Central reported on Facebook’s Udemy competitor. Now, it’s Amazon’s turn. Things are heating up in the professional education ecosystem.

Let’s explore Amazon’s nascent online learning platform and its course catalog.


Amazon’s ubiquitous sidebar filters

In terms of design, Amazon’s new platform isn’t groundbreaking, largely adopting well-established patterns or simply extending their marketplace design to support online learning.

On their homepage, courses are broken down into thematic rows, just like Netflix does with movies. On their search page, you’ll find Amazon’s familiar left sidebar, allowing you to filter through courses, as you can see above.

Amazon’s Data Analytics Fundamentals course page

And on course pages themselves, you’ll find the course details as you’d expect, but also Amazon’s customary review section, which is significantly more detailed than those typically found on online course platforms, allowing you to sort and filter reviews — and easily surface critical reviews.

Note that currently, the design isn’t responsive: the platform isn’t accessible on mobile, only on larger screens.

Learning Experience

Amazon course UI: navigation and modules (here, the video and quiz modules)

Once you start a course, you’re back to familiar territory, with a design that barring minor details, matches those of virtually all online course platforms.

A sidebar allows you to navigate lessons and keep track of where you are in the course. And each lesson is made up of a series of modules (Amazon calls them “gadgets”) that instructors can arrange to fit their needs.

The various types of module include:

  • Video module — for video lectures, which include a transcript beneath them.
  • Quiz module — for multiple-choice questions, among other short assessments.
  • Reading module — for textual explanations and, optionally, images.
  • Slideshow module — for navigating through slides, with optional captions.


Currently, the platform’s catalog includes 130 courses on the 2 following topics:

  • Cloud computing: At this point, these represent the vast majority of courses. Most were created by Amazon themselves over the past few years and offered through Amazon’s specialized learning platform, AWS Skill Builder, which coincidentally launched its first subscription last week.
  • Programming: At this point, these just represent a dozen courses. Interestingly, most were developed by popular online course creators typically active on other platforms, such as Colt Steele (“best-selling instructor” on Udemy), Brice Wilson (prolific on Pluralsight), and Bill Weinman (active on LinkedIn Learning).

So currently, all the courses on Amazon’s new platform cover technical topics, though there’s no clear indication that that will stay the case in the future.

The platform just describes itself as catering to “busy professionals,” with courses ranging from beginner to advanced, and favoring short formats: “dozens of courses under 60 minutes,” reads the homepage. 


AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials: on Amazon’s new platform (left) and on AWS Skill Builder (right)

Regarding most of Amazon’s pre-existing courses, these remain free to take. That said, at this point, they may not be available in every region on the new platform.

If that’s the case where you are, remember, you might be able to take the course through Amazon’s other platforms.

For instance, where I am, the course AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials is region locked. But I can take the course for free on AWS Skill Builder.

Regarding the new courses offered by external instructors, these range in price from $10 to $25. They’re invite-only at this point, but course previews are available, letting you access a taster lesson for free.


Manoel Cortes Mendez Profile Image

Manoel Cortes Mendez

Software engineer and online graduate student in computer science passionate about education, technology, and their intersection.

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