Skillshare is a popular online learning platform that’s mainly targeted at creative learners. But is it worth paying for?
Is Skillshare worth it? If you’re interested in learning about creative topics like photography, graphic design, or writing, then I think Skillshare is totally worth it. Since it uses a subscription model, you can take as many courses per month as you have time for.
In this article, I’ll explain the pros and cons of Skillshare, as well as go into details about the pricing, course quality, and other factors that are worth considering. By the end, you should get a good idea if Skillshare would be worth it for you or not.
Like all course platforms, Skillshare comes with a specific set of pros and cons. Before I dive into specific details, here is a quick overview of the benefits and drawbacks of Skillshare.
Today there are a ton of different e-learning platforms out there. So it can be tough to decide which one would be best for you.
You’ve probably seen ads for Skillshare on Youtube, and maybe even some content creators that you follow have been promoting it directly.
Skillshare has a real focus on teaching people creative skills. So if you’re a photographer, graphic designer, author, or something similar, then you’re the type of person that I think will get the most value out of the platform.
It can really help you to hone your craft. But even if you’re not in a creative field as a profession, Skillshare can also be great for learning skills just as a hobby too.
While Skillshare does offer a good number of courses on non-creative topics like business or lifestyle, I think Skillshare is most worth it for learning creative skills.
Skillshare is different from other platforms like Udemy where you have to pay for each course individually. Instead, Skillshare uses a subscription model.
Once you start paying for a Skillshare subscription, you can start taking as many classes as you can fit into your schedule.
Some people don’t like e-learning platforms that use a subscription model, but personally I’m a big fan.
For voracious learners with lots of time to invest in classes, you will most certainly get your money worth from a platform like Skillshare.
It’s basically like getting full access to a huge video library of educational content.
You can sign up for a free Skillshare account. This lets you access all of the free courses on the platform.
While there are enough free courses to get a feel for the platform, there isn’t really a lot of free content on the site compared to premium courses.
You’ll also have to put up with advertisements while you’re using the free plan.
To unlock all that Skillshare has to offer, you’ll need to sign up for a Premium subscription. This costs $15 per month, or you can pay $99 per year which works out to about $8.25 per month.
This gives you access to about 25,000 premium classes.
If you’re not sure if you’ll use Skillshare for the long-term, you may want to go with their monthly plan.
But if you think you’ll make use of the platform for more than 6 months, you’ll potentially save a bunch of money by going with the annual plan instead.
When you first sign up for Skillshare, you’ll receive a free two-month trial of their Premium plan. You do have to enter your credit card information to receive this trial.
But you won’t get charged if you change your mind once the two month trial is up.
If you’re starting from scratch and going to need to buy a lot of software and other services, your Skillshare subscription can actually end up saving you more money than it costs you!
The last pricing option that Skillshare has available is Teams. This is designed for businesses so they can create accounts for employees, but have them all tied to one administrative account.
For teams of 20 people or less, Skillshare costs $99 per year for each person. If you have more than 20 accounts for your organization, you can contact Skillshare to request a demo.
Potentially you could get better rates for higher numbers of users, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.
Overall, Skillshare’s pricing is very competitive. Its monthly cost is about half of some other subscription-based e-learning platforms like Linkedin Learning.
Skillshare separates its course content into three main categories: Create, Build, and Thrive.
The Create category is all about creative topics. It’s the most extensive collection on the platform.
Learn about topics like animation, creative writing, film, graphic design, illustration, music, photography, web development, and more.
The Build category is mainly-business focused. Topics include business analytics, freelance and entrepreneurship, leadership and management, and marketing.
Lastly, the Thrive category includes the subcategories of lifestyle and productivity.
In each of these main categories, there are thousands of different classes to choose from.
A big selling point of Skillshare courses is that there are some pretty notable instructors on the platform.
You can learn about business from classes by Gary Vaynerchuk, or learn all about graphic design directly from Aaron Draplin.
While the platform does have plenty of lesser-known instructors, Skillshare is one of the e-learning platforms along with Masterclass that has a strong lineup of well-known figures.
One thing that’s worth pointing out is that taking a class on Skillshare doesn’t grant you lifetime access.
You don’t own the courses. Some other e-learning platforms give you access to their materials forever.
But since Skillshare uses a subscription model, it’s all or nothing. And as soon as you cancel your membership, you lose access to all of your Premium courses that you had previously taken.
On one hand it’s nice because you get access to everything while you have your membership.
But then if you cancel and want to refer back to something in the future, you won’t have access to it any more.
For this reason I would recommend taking your own notes while watching Skillshare lessons if you think you’ll need to look back on the material at a date further into the future.
When you’re selecting an e-learning platform, the quality of content that they offer should be one of your more important considerations. After all, there’s no point taking a course if there is no takeaway or value.
User reviews of Skillshare are quite positive overall. And the sheer success of the platform (4 million users and counting) is quite a good indication that they have a lot of quality content available.
It’s unlikely they could have become such a large and popular platform without quality offerings.
Overall, most Skillshare courses are informative and well-made from what I’ve seen.
One big complaint that some people have about Skillshare is that there is more emphasis put on offering a wide variety of course material, instead of a large degree of depth or specialization in specific areas.
On one hand, this means that most of the course material on the platform is very accessible to students, and people can jump into any lesson without a lot of prerequisites.
If you’re coming to a platform like Skillshare, chances are that you will want to start with beginner courses anyway.
One area of frustration that you might run into is that the course description of some courses can be vague. So it may be tough to tell if a particular class is aimed at a beginner or more advanced student.
Another thing to consider is that since Skillshare contains a lot of beginner content, a significant amount of it is stuff that you could find on Youtube for free.
But I also think there is some value in having it all organized in a single place.
The alternative is having to jump around through dozens of different Youtube channels to pull out little nuggets of wisdom, instead of just taking one well laid-out course.
I also like the practical emphasis that Skillshare has. Almost every course will have an assignment included that you’re expected to work on and put what you’ve learned to the test.
If an e-learning platform is annoying to navigate, there’s a lower likelihood that you’ll actually stick with it to finish all of your course material. Luckily, Skillshare is quite accessible and user-friendly.
Signing up for either a free or Premium account is easy. You can do it in just a few clicks if you have a Facebook or Google account that you can sign in with.
Once you’re signed up, the first place you’ll probably stop is on a course page. Here you’ll be met with a summary video from the instructor, as well as a list of all the the lessons the course contains.
There’s nothing intimidating about this process. You can scroll down to see a description of your instructor and the course, as well as some related courses that you might also be interested in.
Overall it’s quite easy to navigate around the Skillshare platform. It’s very intuitive and doesn’t overwhelm you with too many options.
For the price, I think Skillshare offers a lot of value for the experience and knowledge that you can take away from it. I like that the subscription model gives you unlimited access to all of the courses.
So you can learn as much or as little as you want, on your own schedule. You can pick it up whenever you have time and it’s convenient for you.
The course content on Skillshare seems much more well vetted than on some other e-learning platforms like Udemy, where anybody can become an instructor and start teaching a course.
Instructors on Skillshare are usually subject matter experts, enthusiasts, or working professionals.
Skillshare’s class quality guidelines are also a bit more stringent than Udemy to help keep quality up.
However, your overall learning experience may still vary a bit from course to course, depending on who your instructor is. But generally people seem to have quite positive reviews of their experience with the platform.
And like I mentioned earlier, the fact that courses offer projects really take your learning from something theoretical to practical.
If you’re signing up for Skillshare specifically for one areas that they offer fewer courses like business or productivity, you may feel a bit alienated.
But for those using the platform to learn creative skills, I expect you’ll have a very positive learning experience.
If I do have one gripe with my experience on the platform, it’s the way that videos work.
Specifically, students have the ability to leave timestamps and comments on the video.
I’ve seen this done on a few other websites like Soundcloud before. But it’s especially distracting in an education setting when you’re trying to focus on a video, and doesn’t add much value.
So that is one minor annoyance that I wish they would do away with, although I get the idea behind it of trying to create a sense of interaction and community.
Here I compare Udemy and Skillshare features, prices and courses they offer.
Most Skillshare courses allow you to communicate with your instructors. Usually this is done through a sort of comment section on the course.
Some courses also allow you to upload your completed projects for review. This can be nice if you’re looking for some feedback and guidance on your work, which not every e-learning platform offers.
Don’t expect a thorough evaluation, but it’s a nice extra in addition to basic self-learning modules.
However, how much support your teacher provides can vary a lot from course to course, so you shouldn’t necessarily expect it.
Some classes also offer community support where you can interact with other students as well.
If you have any issues with your Skillshare account as a whole, such as issues with billing, you can contact the platform’s customer support.
First you’ll be directed through a help center with a FAQ section. And if your question isn’t answered, you can contact a customer support representative.
As far as I can tell, Skillshare doesn’t offer any kind of telephone or live chat support. So the only way that you’ll be able to get in touch with them if you have a problem is through email.
For some people this might be a bit troubling. But I can see how offering limited support options may enable to them to offer subscriptions for such a low price.
I have seen some reviews from former users who claim that Skillshare continued to bill them after they canceled their membership.
But there’s no evidence to show this is still going on, and I would assume it was a temporary issue that has since been resolved.
There are many other elearning sites out there these days and the right choice for you will depend on what kind of courses you’re wanting to take.
The most similar platform to Skillshare is Udemy.
Udemy offers a wide range of online courses at low cost taught by a diverse set of instructors. The main difference is in the pricing, where Udemy charges per course instead of a monthly fee.
You can compare Skillsare vs Udemy in more detail here.
Or read about other sites like Udemy here.
Another option is Lynda (renamed recently as LinkedIn Learning). Lynda focuses more on business and career type topics, so if that’s what you’re interested in learning it could be a better option for you.
Learn more about how Lynda compares with Skillshare here: Skillshare vs Lynda.
If you’re looking for courses with a more academic focus and accreditation or certificates, check out options like Udacity, Coursera or edX.
To get an overview of all the eLearning platforms and how to choose the right one for you, check out my complete guide to the best online learning platforms.
I think that Skillshare offers a lot of value for the beginner artist or creative type.
So if that sounds like you and the type of skills and knowledge you’re looking for, then I definitely think that Skillshare would be worth it for you.
In the competitive world of e-learning platforms, I think those are the kind of topics that it handles best.
The platform isn’t for everyone. For example, although Skillshare does have a section on Web Development, I think there are other e-learning platforms that specialize in programming and technology that would be a better fit for you.
There is a reason that Skillshare is quite a well-known brand, and I do feel that they really excel at the creative course niche that they’re in.
For less than $100 per year, I think it’s hard to go wrong if you plan to use the platform to learn about subjects like graphic design or photography.
There are enough classes on each topic that you will definitely get your money’s worth.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find yourself exploring new areas and picking up new hobbies just because you have access to learn about them as well.
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