‘Cheap’ Online Courses: Are They ‘Bad Quality’?

‘Cheap’ Online Courses: Are They ‘Bad Quality’?

course starter kit combo

Get Sarah's FREE Course Creation & Business Growth Training

Cheap Online Courses – Are They Bad Quality?


There are lots of online learning platforms and online course marketplaces out there and they all have their pros and cons.  


One of the most well-known platforms for selling online courses is the marketplace ‘Udemy‘.  (I talk more about whether you should sell your courses on Udemy in this article).  

While this platform is popular enough to have more than 30,000 courses published on it, one thing many new students and instructors alike first think when they come across this platform is how ‘cheap’ the courses are.

Courses on Udemy cannot be sold by instructors for more than $50 (at the time of publishing this article), and many even go for FREE.

This begs the next question ‘Does that mean they are any good?’


I have taken $5 courses that have given me more helpful, practical and transformational advice than some 5 figure programs I have been on.


Here are 4 reasons why we should not be afraid of cheap online courses:


1. Competition is high

The online learning industry has never been more popular, and as a result, thousands of courses are being published across the globe every single day.  Naturally, this industry ‘boom’ is increasing the competition and online instructors are using all kinds of tactics to ‘stay in the game’; including reducing the costs of their courses.

Let’s look at Udemy as an example, where the platform has capped all courses to the same pricing limit of just $50.  When instructors are forced to sell their courses at the same price, they cannot compete for buyers with price.  Instead, the most successful courses are the ones that offer the greatest value and content.

For example, if you were trying to choose between 20 different courses on ‘teacher training’ that are all priced at $50, you are most likely to buy the course that has the most lectures, the right content, and the learning outcomes that you’re after. The smaller and weaker are going to eventually get swept down the drain.



2. Are all books bad?

You only pay on average up to $30 for a book, and millions have claimed that a book has changed their life.  I have even been on those 5 figure training programs of celebrity-level entrepreneurs and in terms of content, there wasn’t much more in them than was written on the pages of their $30 book – I paid extra for the ‘up close and personal’ experience, one-on-one interactions and the elite-level friendships such programs can bring.  Of course, I’ve read books that are terrible, but my point is – $30 or less can change your life.


3. A price can’t damage your brand

I often advise my clients who are creating high-end training programs, that they should include sample or ‘taster’ versions of their elite courses on the ‘cheap’ platforms like Udemy to generate leads. However, some have asked me whether selling any of their content for ‘cheap’ might damage their ‘elite’ brand.

My answer is ‘absolutely not’.  The only thing that can damage your brand when it comes to creating online courses, is poor content.  

It’s all about how the student perceives the value of what they got in exchange for their money.  You are far more likely to damage your brand by selling a course for $10,000 that a student felt was only worth $2,000, than to sell a course for $5 that a student felt was worth $10.

In short, if you over-deliver, give more to your students than what they could possibly have imagined for ANY price, then you’re only going to come out super shiny, covered in glitter and with your learners hanging out for more.

Secondly, if you are buying one of these ‘taster’ courses for ‘cheap’, remember that it’s probably cheap not because it’s ‘bad’, but because it’s simply a tiny sample.


4. Marketing isn’t ‘cheap’

I find it fascinating that many people turn their nose up at selling their courses ‘cheaply’, yet will happily conduct FREE webinars, talk on FREE podcasts, and even PAY for advertising to get in front of their audience.  I’m not saying these activities are bad (I actively encourage them to sell courses and demonstrate your expertise);  but, even if you are selling your course for $1, you’re still getting PAID to get your expertise out in front of your marketplace. Not so ‘cheap’ now, is it?!


But we must proceed with caution:

Although cheap platforms like Udemy have pretty strict requirements and vetting procedures around the audio and visual quality of uploaded courses; there is very little in the way (ok none) of vetting what is taught.   This means that pretty much anyone with the right AV equipment (or money to pay staff who do) can create online courses, and as such, there are some very average and low-quality courses out there too.


In Conclusion….


Price is not relative to quality

With these points in mind, it’s fair to conclude that ‘cheap’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad’ – I have taken $5 courses that have given me more helpful, practical, and transformational advice than some 5-figure programs I have been on.  

Anyone purchasing courses of any kind should ensure that the price point of the course is not used as a measure of ‘quality’.  Make sure you carefully consider the full course curriculum on offer, how much ‘implementation’ and practical guidance the course provides, the expertise of the Trainer, and if possible, ask to see a small sample of the course content.


What are the best ‘cheap’ courses you have been on?


Sarah Cordiner Social Links 🌐:

Social Media 📱:

Blogs and Resources ✍️:

5 Ways To Become a Well-Known Expert In Your Industry

Start Making Your Knowledge Work & Changing Lives Today

Take your knowledge out of your head and turn it into a profitable online business.

Dramatically increase your industry reputation, reach a global audience, gain a passive income and impact people's lives all over the world through your expertise.

Let me help you commercialise your IP, create and publish your courses and build a highly successful online business as a stand-out leader in your field of expertise.

Here are 5 ways that I can help you become a well-respected leader in your industry:

starter kit gold

FREE: Course Creation & Business Training

Get your FREE Course Creation & Business Training! FREE training to turn your passion, expertise & knowledge into a profitable online course, lift your global credibility & make a passive income!

Get The FREE Training
Book a Call

Book a Call with Me

If you have a number of questions, want one-on-one tech help or would just rather have a chat and guidance from me directly, you can book a call with me here.

the legends lab (1)

The Legends Lab

For those who are ready to become a stand-out leader in their field of expertise.

The Legends Lab is Sarah's ongoing coaching membership where you will learn how to become a well-known expert in your industry.


Concept To Course

Create and launch your online course or membership in just 30 days in my once-a-year course creation group coaching program.  Daily support, live calls, group learning and massive results, fast! 

done for you course creation set up

Done-For-You Services

Why not just hand it over to the experts? I can create your course plans, set up your online school, create slides, connect all of your technology & software, create your email automations and more.


Special Deals & Free Trials on my FAVOURITE Tech Tools & Software!

Click on the images below to get more information about the deals.

TekMatix is the market-leading all-in-one business platform, CRM and course creation platform.

It is your course platform, website, blog, email marketing software, ai bot, customer record management system, social media planner and auto-posting tool, calendar booking software, paid ads manager, sales manager and much much more. FIND OUT MORE HERE

Interact: Quiz making tool

AppSumo: Tech deals for business tools

Podcast.co Podcast hosting & distribution

Camtasia: Video Recording & Editing

Canva: Graphic Design

VideoAsk: Interactive Video Funnels

StreamYard: Livestream To Multiple Channels

TubeBuddy: YouTube Analytics & Competitor Data

Fiverr: Freelancers & Cheap Services

HeySummit: Host Summits and conferences

Creative Fabrica: Graphics, Illustrations and Images

Envatoelements: Unlimited Commercial Use Video Clips, B-roll, Audio, Music, Sound Effects

Loom: Record your screen and face videos

Course creation equipment that I recommend on Amazon

Latest Articles by Sarah Cordiner