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Why CENTURY 21’s partnering with Udemy to offer interactive self-paced study will be emulated

CENTURY 21 is on a mission to be the best at real estate training – a lofty, but potentially real vision with the help of online learning platform, Udemy.

century 21

Anyone who has gone through continuing education in the real estate industry knows that it can be a joke. In some parts of the world, you get your credit hours for sitting in a room for a few hours and playing Angry Birds while some poor fella stands up front and plays a PowerPoint presentation that looks like it was drawn with crayons. For this reason, thousands of real estate professionals seek out professional associations, conferences, books, news sources like this one, and internally to their own broker for self improvement.

But even those don’t always offer a complete picture that empowers the professional to be well rounded and up to date (remember those two descriptors, they’ll come up again… ).

For this reason, CENTURY 21 has set out on a mission to be the leader in real estate education, a lofty, but very real vision. So how will they do this in a sea of existing options? They’ve teamed up with Udemy, a platform for online learning to flip the classroom.

Delivering education in multiple formats

David Birnbaum, VP of Learning at CENTURY 21 tells us that they’ve collaborated with Udemy (as opposed to other platforms), because it allows C21 to “deliver training in a number of ways – live, or self-paced,” adding that the newly launched program delivers multiple formats and adapts to what their commission-based associates or independent owners would need.

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Bingo. It’s adaptable, so instead of offering their teams a lame, outdated book or presentation, the content adapts over time.

Interactive platform keeps the content fresh

Tying technology into traditional programs, C21’s Udemy program addresses the gap that exists with self-paced programs by offering collaboration between those taking the courses, and between instructors and students via discussion group, giving the program life and keeping it truly up to date and interactive.

So with the 12 modules comprising of several two to five minute videos each, the self-paced attendees are grouped together in a way that there’s always someone on say, module 4, and the moderators are the trainers who are now equipped to lead a full program while also addressing students one-on-one.

Ease of access is a challenge. Consider it solved.

Birnbaum notes that Udemy is unique in that it offers threaded discussion groups at a user level, it is easy to add new content, very video based, and can be broken into smaller segments. “The [Udemy] user experience is very intuitive, even the backend is intuitive.”

“Ease of access is a challenge,” Birnbaum states, adding that “even companies that mandate training struggle with this,” noting that if something as simple as a log-in is complicated, users quit.

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One of the challenges solved by C21’s program is that unlike the corporate world with user-issued devices (say everyone at Megacorp is issued a Blackberry), independent sales professionals use every type of device, making the program’s responsiveness extremely important to this particular industry.

A more effective approach – watch for others to emulate

C21 feels that they’ve flipped the model so that instead of offering a webinar where everyone has to register (and registration information is rarely stored or used effectively anyway), these new courses allow the proper people within the brand to monitor who is attending. This way, a broker knows when a new agent has completed their new agent class, instead of a trainer in another state promoting the class to a new agent in hopes that they’ll take it. #MoreEffective

This learning program is part of a broader program a brokerage gets when they affiliate and is accessible through the brand’s intranet, so that all affiliates are one click away from C21U, making it a one-stop shop for all learning. In an extremely competitive business where agents can jump ship at any time, this gives C21 another draw to keep their rank and file well educated, well rounded, up to date, and ahead of the curve. Kudos to CENTURY 21 for thinking outside of the box and keeping it fresh.


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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


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