Knowledge is the new currency of the digital world, but not all intellectual dough is created equal. With so many online learning platforms, how can you decide which one is worth it? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
From LinkedIn Learning and Coursera to Masterclass and Udemy, I’ve taken dozens of online courses (I know… nerd alert), so I’ve developed a keen eye for what constitutes a remarkable learning experience. Insights that I will share with you to make choosing an education platform easier.
It’s time to sit down and get comfy. You have a front-row seat to my in-depth Skillshare review. I will go over Skillshare classes, cost, teacher’s proficiency level, the premium membership, and how it stacks against other e-learning platforms.
Let’s get this show on the road…
Skillshare Review From An Actual User In 2023
What Is Skillshare?
Skillshare is the Netflix of online learning. It allows users to stream high-quality and exclusive content on-demand. You can think of it as binge-watching for personal growth. Best of all, their Premium Membership is only $180 per year. Which translates to $15 a month⸺ just like Netflix.
Whether you’re looking to acquire new skills or advance your career, Skillshare has a comprehensive course catalog to suit any type of learner. From beginners to entrepreneurs, anybody can feed their curiosity with more than 35,000 online classes to choose from.
Another perk is that Skillshare members can stay up-to-date on trending topics. Want to learn about NFTs? There are 177 binge-worthy NFT courses to get you up to speed.
As for the company itself, Skillshare was founded in 2010 in New York. Its founders, Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong wanted to create an open platform where everyone could teach, and students could learn at their own pace.
The open platform aspect of Skillshare is a double-edged sword. Some like it because the teachers are relatable, but others want to learn from the cream of the crop. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Soon enough, I will walk you through what you can expect from the Skillshare teachers.
But first, let’s look at SkillShare’s pros and cons.
- No strings attached
- Self-paced learning
- High quality “Original” classes
- New courses constantly added
- Wide range of expert instructors
- Offline watching (downloadable classes)
- Group workshops for Skillshare Members
- 1-month free trial: 30 days of FREE classes
- Unlimited access: 35,000+ on-demand lessons
- iPhone and Android Skillshare app for mobile viewing
- Diverse online learning community: from beginners to advanced students
- No certificates of completion
- Teacher quality can vary a lot
- The cancellation process is a little confusing
Now that you have a bird’s eye view of the Skillshare platform, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Who Is Skillshare For?
A straightforward answer would be that Skillshare is for everyone, but it has some nuances, like everything in life.
If you’re pursuing a career, then Skillshare is not the best fit for you. Why? One disadvantage is that you won’t get a certificate of completion in any course. And let’s be real, a renowned certification can push your resumé to the top of the pile. Udacity, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy are better suited for this purpose.
People interested in dense subjects like data science, social studies, humanities, law, or biology should also look for other alternatives. Skillshare is aimed more toward artists, writers, graphic designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs.
By no means think these are the only topics you’ll find. Want to learn about cryptocurrency, landscaping, and even nursing? There are hundreds of alternatives to meet your interests.
Still, you might be wondering exactly who benefits the most from Skillshare. Don’t sweat it, eager beaver⸺I’m with you.
Skillshare is for someone who wants to:
- Learn a new skill
- Pursue a passion
- Start a new business
- Unleash their creativity
- Reignite an existing interest
- Feed their curiosity about a topic
- Stay more relevant in the workforce
- Advance their personal development
Then Skillshare is a fantastic learning provider that can fill almost any passion or interest.
So, while there are more extensive, advanced, thorough, and detailed platforms available, it’s very rare to find fun, informative, and actionable classes like the ones that Skillshare has on offer.
What Type Of Classes Are On Skillshare?
With 35,000+ courses on Skillshare, the odds that you’ll find what you’re looking for are high.
You might be thinking…
It must be daunting to locate the right course content in such a massive collection⸺ like finding a needle in a haystack. Wrong. The platform’s user interface was thoughtfully designed with the end-user in mind. It requires minimal effort.
Skillshare segments its courses into three categories: Create, Build & Thrive.
Create: Put your ideas in motion, improve your craft
- Fine art
- Film & Video
- UI/UX design
- Graphic design
- Creative writing
- Web development
Build: Skills you need to grow your business, advance your career
- Business Analytics
- Leadership & Management
- Freelance & Entrepreneurship
Thrive: Making each day more purposeful and efficient
One thing to note is that these are only the categories. When you dig a little deeper into each one, this uncovers a HUGE range of specific classes.
What’s crazy is that the above list is only scratching the surface as to the number of classes included with Skillshare.
But sometimes, a strength can turn into a weakness. As I was taking a class, I noticed some of the student’s comments were from six years ago. It didn’t affect my learning experience because it was a storytelling course, and the fundamentals don’t change, yet it made me wonder…
How often is the content updated?
As any sane person would, I went down the rabbit hole and started to browse through Skillshare courses. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that very few are outdated. Instead, the company is doing a bang-up job raising the bar and discarding tutorials with poor reviews.
However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg…
Just 3 years ago, Skillshare had around 20,000 classes. Fast-forward to 2022, and there have been 15,000+ new classes added, almost 14 per day!
The thirst for learning about Web3, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs has spread like wildfire. Therefore, it begs the question: is Skillshare keeping up with trends?
Only one way to find out⸺ a trial by fire. I decided to check out Skillshare’s NFTs courses.
The first thing I noticed is that all the content is user-created. There are no Skillshare Originals on this topic. Originals are classes made by the company with better production quality and more seasoned teachers. Since Skillshare started to audit and increase its quality controls, courses that miss the mark are pulled off the platform. So whether the tutorial is user-generated or company-sponsored, the proficiency level of the teachers has gone up.
So, let’s get down to it…
The class is taught by Benji Wilson, a passionate creative and entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the same appeal as having Gary Vee, Mark Cuban, or Alexis Ohanian as the instructors, but good ol’ Benji will have to do.
He starts with one Big Promise — by the end of the class, you will have learned how to mint your first artwork. Kind of bold, don’t you think? I couldn’t wrap my head around how in just 27 minutes, I was going to achieve that.
But let me tell you…
Benji, with his reassuring smile and calm attitude, pulls it off. He takes you from the basic concept of an NFT to opening a wallet in Metamask and uploading your artwork in Rarible. He has a 90% success rate which is impressive.
In short, Skillshare makes the cut in keeping up with trending topics.
For more information about other notable offerings, be sure to take a look at Skillshare’s most popular courses.
Skillshare Teachers & Course Content
Skillshare classes are produced in-house by expert instructors (called Originals) and by community users, much like YouTube. Hence the “Share” in Skillshare.
Regarding the “Skillshare Originals” classes, I have yet to take one where I haven’t been impressed by the instructor, class content, or production quality.
Like MasterClass, Skillshare actively seeks out leaders in a given field and partners to produce these Skillshare Originals.
Some of the standout Skillshare teachers include:
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Guy Kawasaki
- Thomas Frank
- Ali Abdaal
- Justin Bridges
- Jessica Hische
- Michael Chernow
- Jonathan Van Ness
- Andy J. Pizza
- Cat Coquillette
Now, of course, most of the instructors won’t be the same caliber as MasterClass. Big names like Samuel L. Jackson, Gordon Ramsey, or Alicia Keys reel you in with their A-list status, but excitement is not proportional to relevance.
If anything, the skills you learn from non-celebrity instructors are more realistic, actionable, and fit into the real world.
On the flip side of the coin, when it comes to the classes created by independent teachers, 90% of them are exceptionally well made, structured, and informative.
Still, now and again, I will come across a subpar class, which you should be aware of if you decide to signup with Skillshare.
But if you want to avoid these lackluster classes altogether, Skillshare does have a user rating system that I have found to be quite accurate.
As you can see above, the review system covers expectations met, clarity of instruction, engaging teachers, actionable steps, and personal reviews of past students.
Overall, I would give two thumbs up to the quality of Skillshare teachers and the class content on Skillshare.
Any education platform’s user interface and functionality can make or break students’ learning experience. The navigation must be intuitive and require minimal effort. Slow, clunky, and complicated sites are a one-way ticket to oblivion.
Thankfully, Skillshare has a strong emphasis on UI/UX. Finding new classes, keeping tabs on completed ones, and bookmarking those that pique your interest is a painless ordeal.
To begin using your free trial, you need to create an account. Enter your name, email, and credit card information. Remember that if you cancel in the first 30 days. Then, you’ll be prompted to choose between a list of interests — mainly the topics covered in the buckets: build, create, and thrive. Voilá! It’s that simple. You now have unlimited access to 35,000+ online classes.
Searching For Classes
Don’t let the huge number of options overwhelm you. Discovering the right fit for you is only a few clicks away.
On the upper left-hand side of the home screen, you’ll find two options: browse and the search bar. I typically start with the search feature to pinpoint a particular topic I want to learn.
For example, you can see the above image, which shows the results when searching for “photography.” Usually, the Skillshare Originals will rank up the top alongside “Staff Picks,” which are also quite handy.
From there, it’s easy to view the course duration, the number of students, the instructor, class length, how recently it was created, and sub-topics for more refinement.
If you’re not set on a particular subject, I recommend pressing on browse. You’ll see the same three buckets: build, create, and thrive. Under each category is a list of topics that may spark your curiosity. Exploring the site this way opens the door to new possibilities.
Remember when I started this review of Skillshare and said it was the Netflix of online learning? Well, just as Netflix — Skillshare’s algorithm analyzes your viewing history, preferences, and how you rated other courses to give personalized recommendations. As you search and take more classes, Skillshare learns what you like and will start delivering more tailored lessons to your likings.
The list of suggestions is broken down to:
- Trending classes
- Recommended lists
- Featured lists/ classes
- Best classes of the month
- Workshops (curated set of classes)
Viewing Your Classes
Let’s say you are browsing for a specific class when you suddenly come across another lesson that excites you. The problem is that you don’t have the time to watch it then. But, I got good news for you. There’s nothing to worry about. Simply save it.
To manage all these new lessons, there is the “My Classes” section which allows you to categorize classes into lists, view all saved courses, remove whichever you don’t want, and view your watch history, so you’re able to pick up where you left off.
Taking a Skillshare Class
When it came time to take a Skillshare class, I found the overall experience very seamless and enjoyable.
Once I clicked into the class (see above), I was shown all the lessons, course duration, a brief overview of the class, student reviews, note-taking section, ability to save the class, discussions, projects, and resources.
Another benefit I appreciated was setting a reminder to continue watching the class later.
These reminders integrate directly into the Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Yahoo.
One of Skillshare’s selling gimmicks is that learners can count on the support of a creative community. Although this looks great at the top of Google’s search results, my experience is not all sunshine and rainbows.
When you enroll in a class, one of the perks is the opportunity to engage with your peers and the instructor. The discussions tab in the course screen allows you to post a comment or question, and everyone taking the course can chime in.
Seems ideal, no?
But that’s only part of the story…
Depending on the class’s popularity, I have found the discussion areas either thriving or ghost towns. It is too common to see a student post a question and… crickets.
So I don’t perceive an immense value from this feature. Of course, some instructors are more committed than others and respond promptly, but if you were expecting to sit at a campfire singing kumbaya — I’m sorry to disappoint you.
Projects & Resources
As the name suggests, this class section shares any Skillshare projects, tools, books, apps, articles, downloads, websites, or other videos that the instructor mentioned in the class.
For more hands-on classes about illustration, drawing, watercolor, photography, etc. There are downloadable PDFs and workbooks, which are handy when following along. Additionally, for certain classes, students may need Adobe Photoshop.
New: Chroma Cohort Courses From Skillshare
Skillshare is constantly experimenting with bringing you the best online learning content. Their newest innovation is called Chroma, and it is their answer to the recent boom in online cohort-based courses (CBCs).
What is a cohort-based course?
It is an online course that runs on a specific schedule and has a limited number of participants who interact with the instructor and the community. It marries the convenience of online learning with the accountability and interactivity of the classroom. And it’s a great way to meet friends from around the world who share a passion for the same subject.
It is worth noting that because this format has higher costs, cohort-based courses tend to be more expensive. And Skillshare’s Chroma is no exception as these courses are priced at $499 per course, limited to 50 students, and not included in the Premium Subscription.
Skillshare Pricing And Subscription Alternatives
It’s time to let the cat out of the bag. How much does Skillshare cost? Well… it depends.
Let me explain…
You have more than one payment option to choose from when signing up. Knowing this upfront helps you make the decision that best fits your needs.
As you can see from the above image, there are 2 different structures to the pricing for individual learners.
Skillshare Premium Membership:
- $15/mo ($180 billed annually)
- $32/mo (billed monthly)
With both options, you’ll get the same benefits: unlimited tutorials, learn at your own pace, watch offline, and participate in group discussions. The only difference is the payment preference.
The one-month trial helps you to understand if Skillshare fulfills your expectations. That’s why I encourage everyone to use all the available features in those 30 days. Enroll in recommended classes, use the mobile app, interact with the instructors to make an informed assessment of the platform.
Up until August 18th, 2021, Skillshare offered free lessons. Still, the company decided to transition away from this model as part of its ongoing effort to build a more predictable royal pool for the teachers. This determination hasn’t hindered the user’s experience. One month is enough time for anyone to judge if the content fulfills their expectations.
Skillshare for teams is an alternative for companies that want to incentivize the personal development of their employees. They promote it as a way for teams to build new skills or nurture emotional well-being with creative outlets.
There are three alternatives depending on the team’s size.
- Starter – for teams of 2-19
- Enterprise – for teams 20+
- Revive – For teams 50+
The Starter plan is the same as the Premium Membership, but the Enterprise and Revive options offer a customized experience. For example, a group admin can select from a list of workshops tailored to meet the demands of each organization.
Is Skillshare Worth The Money?
50 cents – that’s the annual subscription cost if you itemize it per day. Now the ball is in your court… Is this a reasonable price to pay to develop in-demand capabilities, pursue a passion, or venture into entrepreneurship?
I would say Skillshare it’s exceptionally well priced for what you get. And when you compare Skillshare to Udemy, MasterClass, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera, the pricing looks even more attractive.
Some of these course providers charge $100 upwards for a single class. So when it comes to value for money, I would say that Skillshare is definitely worth the money.
Especially if you’re using our link to extend the commonly advertised 7-day trial into an entire month!
Skillshare Vs. Masterclass
MasterClass is the cool kid on the block. Who doesn’t want to uncover Neil Gaiman’s storytelling secrets?
The allure of the courses is the all-star lineup of instructors. From Aaron Sorkin to Serena Williams, the top names in every field are one click away.
In a nutshell, what you get with MasterClass is something that no other e-learning platform can provide — magic.
But the bottom line is that magic doesn’t necessarily translate into value. Sure, you are hypnotized by hearing your heroes distill their knowledge, but… can you apply it to your day-by-day circumstances?
I find Skillshare courses more applicable to my landscape.
Also, MasterClass has a significantly reduced offering compared to Skillshare. Both have an annual membership cost of $180. But when you weigh just over 100 lessons in MasterClass vs. the 35,000+ alternatives in Skillshare, it’s easy to determine where’s the bang for the buck.
If you want entertainment, by all means, choose MasterClass, but if you’re looking for more choices and applicability, then Skillshare is the best bet.
Skillshare Vs. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is the other side of the spectrum. Unfortunately, the instructors lack pizzaz to deliver dynamic lectures. The monotonous tone of the professors paired with the courses’ PowerPoint-style presentation format makes it challenging for the students to stay engaged.
Don’t get me wrong. I find them to be of a higher quality than Skillshare’s lessons. The teachers discuss the topics in greater depth. However, the lack of emotion makes the courses somewhat hard to digest.
You also need to pay a premium membership to enroll in the tutorials. LinkedIn’s price is higher than a Skillshare subscription. The annual membership is $323.88 (almost $150 more than Skillshare), and the monthly one is $39.99.
Even though LinkedIn is more expensive, you get a certification from each completed course, and this could be the glitter your resumé needs to sparkle.
To sum up: for creative endeavors like writing, photography, and graphic design, I would choose Skillshare. But for social media marketing, entrepreneurship, and psychology, LinkedIn is the best choice.
Detailed Pros Of Skillshare
After using Skillshare, here are some of the major benefits that I have found when using their service.
35,000+ on-demand video lessons: Skillshare has one of the largest catalogs of classes in the industry, which covers various topics.
Wide range of expert instructors: Skillshare instructors are knowledgeable, entertaining, and share actionable tactics.
High-quality “Original” classes: The in-house Originals are well made and deliver a high standard of learning.
iPhone/ Android app for mobile viewing: The mobile app eliminates the “I don’t have time” excuse. You can learn anytime and anywhere. Goodbye, aimless social media scrolling!
Skillshare community: For popular classes, there are very helpful and passionate group discussions that help with guidance, motivation, and questions.
Offline watching (downloadable classes): 4-hour flight? This feature is a lifesaver. No wifi? No problem.
1-month free trial: This is your better-than-risk-free guarantee. 30 days gives you all the time you need to test different features, take courses, and foster peer-to-peer interactions.
Group workshops: The workshops are a great place to upload and view other students’ projects with many classes.
No strings attached: Nothing like having peace of mind knowing you can cancel at any time.
Classes constantly added: Simple math. In 11 years, the company has added 35,000+ courses, accounting for 3,125 classes per year and almost 9 per day. Talk about mind-blowing!
Detailed Cons Of Skillshare
No certificates of completion: Skepticism is hard-wired into the human brain. For everything, you need proof — proof of purchase, proof of work, social proof… The odds are not in your favor when you don’t have evidence. That’s why certificates are valuable. Unfortunately, this is Skillshare’s Achilles heel.
Teacher quality can vary: When viewing the video classes of the community-based teachers, I found the quality was hit and miss for about 10% of the classes.
The cancellation process is a little confusing: I have heard that the cancellation process is quite confusing as you have to confirm 2-3 times that you want to cancel. This can lead to confusion when you might get a bill for a service you thought you canceled.
My Favorite Skillshare Classes
After taking close to 50 individual Skillshare classes over the past 3 years, here are 3 lessons that had the most significant impact on me.
Hands-down my favorite pick is the productivity masterclass taught by Thomas Frank, a famous YouTuber and time hacker.
This class alone changed my mindset on how I think about productivity and has enabled me to get more done in a smaller time frame.
What I love about this class is that there is ZERO fluff and instead actionable tips, systems, and processes on how to take control of your time.
Some of the topics Thomas covers in this class are managing tasks, setting up a calendar, taking notes, organizing files, being a better emailer, and using a review day.
So if you are someone who thinks, “I never have enough time,” this is a phenomenal class!
I always dreaded engaging in social media for an extremely long time, which I’m sure is a common fear for many people. To combat this, I took the Social Media Strategy course taught by Gary Vaynerchuk, which you have most likely seen plastered over Facebook and YouTube, thanks to his passionate speeches and presentations.
While this is a very condensed class, GaryVee covers some revealing tips such as selecting the right social media platform like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, balancing punchy posts with long-term audience building, and telling the right story in the proper context.
As you might have noticed, there is a common thread amongst these classes of personal development and growing my business, which I am a big fan of.
Overall, this is an outstanding class that has taught me invaluable presentation skills.
During the past 10 years, I have always dabbled in photography, but never really taken it seriously. Mostly, I was interested in architectural and street photography.
So when I saw this Skillshare class on street photography, I immediately took it! And boy was I not disappointed!
Since taking this course, I now have a better understanding of the process of taking great photos and being able to replicate them myself!
Is Skillshare a Scam?
No. Skillshare is a legitimate American-based company that provides on-demand video lessons for students worldwide. Since 2010, Skillshare has helped 8 million students and has 35,000+ classes on its platform.
Is Skillshare Accredited?
No. Unfortunately, Skillshare does not provide accreditation for its classes, tutorials, or lessons. While this has been rumored, it would be challenging as their classes are taught by many in-house and user-based teachers.
Does Skillshare Offer Certificates?
No. Skillshare currently does not provide any certificates of completion to their students. However, students can add a completed class to their resume or CV. Learners focused on certificates might be best served to check out Coursera or our complete guide to free online courses with certificates.
Can You Cancel Skillshare After The Free Trial?
Yes. Once students start the Skillshare 1-month trial, it can be canceled anytime during that period with no strings attached. To Cancel, navigate to Profile > Account Settings > Payments > Cancel > Continue with cancellation > Confirm cancellation.
Keep in mind that if you are to cancel during the free trial, you will cease to have access to Skillshare Premium, even if you cancel on the first day.
Can You Watch Skillshare on iPhone/ Android?
Yes. Signing up for a Skillshare Premium account allows users to access their accounts across multiple devices. This includes laptops, computers, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Unfortunately, there is no app for Apple TV, Roku, Firestick, or Windows phones.
Can Skillshare Classes Be Downloaded?
Yes, users can download Skillshare classes for offline viewing. However, this capability is only available on smartphone devices/ tablets for either iOS or Android. Unfortunately, this can not be done on desktop devices.
Conclusion Of My 2023 Skillshare Review
The industry average for online course completions is 30%. Yikes! Poor time management, too bulky chunks of info, and dull instructors are the top 3 reasons learners cite as the cause for such an alarming statistic. But with Skillshare, the odds are ever in your favor.
The bite-sized lessons and informal tone make Skillshare the ideal choice to power jump over those hurdles.
Skillshare is a well-rounded online course platform that delivers actionable classes for creators, curious minds, entrepreneurs, and those interested in personal development. With a price tag of $15/mo and 35,000+ video classes, Skillshare delivers incredible value at a competitive price.