Are you trying to decide between Skillshare and Lynda for your online learning?
In this article, we're taking a detailed look at what each has to offer learners, so you can make an educated decision about which is the right one for you.
The primary difference between Skillshare and Lynda is Lynda's commitment to a broader, standardized selection of courses. There is also a contrast in the requirements of instructors on both platforms, as Skillshare courses can be taught by anyone and courses on Lynda are taught by experts in their field.
Below, I'll provide an overview of each platform, their cost, what types of courses each offers, their pros and cons, and more.
They do, however, offer quite different e-learning opportunities on each site.
This overview is to help you, the learner, decide which is the better option for your personal and professional goals, as it can be tailored to your specific desired outcome or gain.
Skillshare offers over 29,000 creative skills-focused courses that can be uploaded and taught by anyone, with or without professional or educational background.
They offer courses as short as ten minutes up to several hours and are presented in video format.
As an added bonus, Skillshare is an ad-free platform, so your learning remains uninterrupted.
Users of Skillshare can download lessons to their mobile device or tablet for offline learning.
Check out this short promotional video for an idea of who Skillshare is aiming their e-Learning at:
Lynda (also known as LinkedIn Learning)
Lynda, on the other hand, covers more ground as the courses expand into broader topics such as technology and web development while still offering a creative base.
The 10,000+ courses on this platform are taught by experts in their field and the content is standardized.
Active members include government agencies, academic institutions as well as individuals.
Lynda was recently acquired by LinkedIn and is beginning to rebrand the platform as LinkedIn Learning.
For the purpose of this article, I'll continue to refer to it as Lynda as this is still the most well known name for the platform.
It offers users the ability to display completed courses to potential employers right on their LinkedIn profile, as well as to get suggestions for courses they might be interested in based on their profiles.
Check out this promotional video from LinkedIn Learning to understand more about the types of courses they offer and who the platform is aimed at:
Both online learning platforms offer a wealth of content for the self-motivated learner.
Skillshare courses have more of a focus on creative and hobbyist topics, and anyone can create courses for it.
Lynda includes creative courses but also has a focus on business and career-focused topics, with set standards for who can create and teach the courses.
Below I'll take a deeper dive into the main features you should consider and by the end of this comparison, you should have enough information to decide which is the best fit for you.
1. Skillshare vs Lynda Costs
Lynda offers an initial 30 day free trial with a subsequent option to choose from a Basic or Premium membership.
Basic membership pricing starts at $19.99 per month, and Premium membership pricing starts at $29.99 per month.
With both memberships, users receive unlimited access to all course content.
This content comes in various formats: videos, lectures, notes, assessments, and playlists. Premium members also can access content offline.
What exactly do you gain from a subscription to Lynda?
While there are fewer courses available on Lynda, it offers a more diverse and professional based catalog of material.
It also offers certifications that can be displayed on LinkedIn for employer consideration.
Skillshare also offers a 30 day free trial to new users, with a month-to-month subscription starting at $15 a month, and an annual subscription starting at $8.25 per month, which offers an annual savings of $80.
There are also need-based, small business and student scholarships available on this platform, making it quite accessible regardless of the budget of the learner.
What do you stand to gain from a subscription to Skillshare?
Unlimited access to the entire course catalog as well as offline access to course material.
The learning tools available include projects as well as videos for interactive learning.
When it comes down to return on investment, which platform is the winner?
It depends on the type of skills you're looking to gain or improve as well as how much you want to impact your resume.
Lynda is a better option for those looking to increase technical skills and appeal to traditional employers with certifications earned for learning from experts in a given subject.
It costs substantially more, but offers higher quality video content as well as alternative tools and assessments to deepen the knowledge gained.
Skillshare, by contrast, is great for learners on a budget who wish to improve creative skills and perhaps for people with entrepreneurial pursuits in the creative realm, such as writing or photography.
2. Subjects and Topics Taught
Both online learning platforms offer creative topics like photography and graphic design, etc.
Lynda provides access to a wider variety of quality courses with standardized content.
In the case of Skillshare, the learning is limited to creative topics only and the content is not standardized.
Since anyone on Skillshare can become an instructor, course quality tends to be variable and less reliable.
For most of its courses on creative topics, Lynda offers certificates to its students. Whereas this facility is not available with Skillshare.
There is no doubt that Lynda offers much higher quality video content. The length of the courses, as well as video lectures being standardized, allows users to plan their learning hours accordingly.
By contrast, on the Skillshare platform, you will not be able to access fixed duration courses all the time.
The video lecture duration on Skillshare varies between 10 minutes and a few hours.
Lecture quality on Skillshare isn't necessarily guaranteed to be consistent, but still, you can find many outstanding instructors on this platform.
Learners are allowed to select their course before starting a lecture on the Skillshare platform.
Lynda has courses ranging from creative skills to web and technology development.
Skillshare course categories are more focused on creativity and entrepreneurship.
3. Course Examples
You have a basic idea of the kinds of subjects and topics that each of these online course websites offers.
But here are some specific course examples to give you a better idea.
4. Who Are The Instructors?
On the Lynda platform, experts in the field create and manage the courses, so you can feel fairly assured that you are learning applicable information for professional development.
There is a rigid application process for instructors on Lynda so that the site can guarantee the quality of lesson plans and teachers.
Skillshare offers an opportunity for any user to also be an instructor, which means there is variation in the quality of lessons and content here.
There are exceptional instructors here as well, you may just have to invest more time in choosing courses that are reputable and will offer the best return on your investment.
In order to properly sift through instructors, look up the course instructor and be sure you are learning skills from a knowledgable source.
If the instructor has a thriving business or a LinkedIn profile displaying their credentials, this is a great way to be confident in your course selection.
By contrast, Lynda works closely with universities and governmental organizations. The courses on this platform are taught by experienced academics.
These are also associated directly with LinkedIn as Lynda has been acquired by LinkedIn Learning.
You know as you sign up for a course that certification can then be added to your LinkedIn profile.
If your goals are more entrepreneurial in spirit, you may learn more on a platform like Skillshare because there are many creative and entrepreneurial instructors offering insights from personal experiences.
5. Accreditation & Certificates (How Does It Look On Your Resume or CV?)
If earning certificates is the main reason why you're using online learning sites, Lynda is the clear winner over Skillshare.
While Lynda does offer courses on more professional and business-related topics, they may not appeal as much to individuals with more creative and entrepreneurial goals.
Despite Lynda courses offering certification for completing a course, it is no guarantee that employers will accept or note those courses or certifications when making a decision to hire.
Whereas you can use creative skills to build a portfolio with what you learn from either online learning platform.
Lynda programs are more structured and have assessments and offer access to instructors with proven credibility.
As a result, a certificate from Lynda will look much better on your resume or CV than listing your coursework with Skillshare.
The fact that Lynda is connected to your LinkedIn profile makes it a digitally sharable format.
Not only can you print copies to put in your portfolio, but you can put them directly into your LinkedIn profiles as well, providing convenience and efficiency.
If you are intending to enhance your CV or resume, Lynda is likely the better choice, especially because of it's direct connection to LinkedIn.
6. Time Commitment
You can invest as little as ten minutes in a course on Skillshare or as many as several hours on either platform.
This provides the learner with some flexibility in their learning approach and investment of time.
Some Lynda courses are more in-depth, as they offer various modes of learning for several courses rather than just videos - including projects, notes, and assessments.
Some courses only have a few hours worth of video lectures and written content to read, and can be completed in a single afternoon if you are eager to learn.
Lynda can be likened to what you would expect from an online class that you would take from a university or formal institution.
The more course content available, the more likely there is to be projects associated with completing the learning.
This can extend beyond or be done much more quickly depending on your self-guided time management.
This is also a way to ensure well-rounded information on the given subject.
7. Summary – Pros & Cons of Each
The huge number of courses
Since Skillshare is open for anyone to create courses, there are a huge number of programs available. There are currently more than 29,000 different courses available. Whether you want to learn about graphic design, music, writing, or starting your side hustle, you can rest assured you can find courses on Skillshare.
Offline Access with Premium Membership
You can have learning-on-the-go on your mobile device or tablet, whether you are on or off the grid. Premium membership is also not a major cost difference for the benefit.
No ads while watching lessons
This offers uninterrupted learning with video content, whether they are short or lengthy.
These courses cannot offer you completion certificates. Skillshare courses are best for learning a specific skill for yourself or to build a portfolio, not to add to your professional resume. So for the person looking for technical or business related-skills, this is not the best option.
Since Skillshare has instructors with varying expertise, the quality of courses can vary immensely. Some are not very thorough and in-depth if you are seeking deeper knowledge. This is why it is crucial to do some of your own research into the course instructor and look at reviews.
Courses may not be available long term; no lifetime access.
Video quality is high and consistently updated
Lynda's media content is professional and well produced. The quality alone is a nice investment, as the content is frequently updated and there is access to content for the duration of your subscription.
Looks better on your resume
Certificates gained through Lynda will actually look impressive on your resume when you go for an interview, as opposed to a course that you take through other platforms like Skillshare. Lynda courses are more academic in nature compared to many other online course platforms.
More structured learning
If you need assessments to feel you are making progress, Lynda is a good choice for you. Being part of an online course with checks and balances will provide more accountability and help you gauge the efficacy of the course.
Well-designed iOS and Android apps
The quality of the apps allows for learning on the go and is available to iPhone and Android users. You also have access to content offline with either membership option.
The financial investment is substantially larger. About double the cost of Skillshare, depending on whether you're paying monthly or annually. So for those on a budget looking to gain skills, it might not be the wiser option.
Not best for entrepreneurs or creatives
This platform is more suited to those with careers in tech, business or programming, with some courses in creativity but an emphasis on skills that can be used for employers and government agencies.
8. Lynda vs Skillshare Alternatives
If you're looking for alternative sites for online education which are similar to Lynda, then check out the following options.
You can find academically accredited coursework on the site Coursera if you are looking to add to your professional resume.
-> Read my comparison between Lynda and Coursera
Similar to Coursera and also offering university accredited courses is edX.
-> Here's how Coursera and edX compare
Another option is Pluralsight, who specialize in high-quality courses about IT and tech-related topics.
If you like the low cost, a wide range of topics and flexibility of learning that both Skillshare and Lynda offer then you should definitely check out Udemy, one of the leaders in online learning.
-> Understand how Udemy compares with Skillshare here
-> And the differences between Udemy and Lynda here
Finally, you might want to check out Udacity, who offer nanodegree programs across a range of different tech-related topics.
Udemy offers users on a budget the best chance to afford courses as you can pay for each course individually.
-> Check out my comparison of Udemy vs Skillshare here for more info
So if you're someone obsessed with constantly learning, you can really get your money's worth in terms of value, and tailor your learning experience to fit your budget.
If you'd like an overview of all the e learning options and how they all differ, then have a read of my Complete Guide To Online Learning Platforms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Lynda certificates matter?
It depends. While the certificate or courses are not credited, you can still learn vital skills and enhance your knowledge of Lynda. Some employers will not place any value on the courses and certificates for that reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to your benefit.
Discussing the relevant experience or skills you have gained from your Lynda course and certificate can be helpful during an interview.
Undertaking these courses also shows employers you are dedicated and committed to developing your skills and shows a level of professionalism that many employers will admire.
However, as most Lynda courses involve watching videos (which you could easily pretend to do), some employers will not place any worth on them. Include them on your resume if you have completed them, but your experience will matter more!
How reliable is Skillshare?
Skillshare is a fairly reliable platform that will allow you to attend courses and learn new skills. Generally, teachers on Skillshare seem to be happy and find the service to be reliable. However, not all students would agree, it seems.
Reviews of Skillshare in terms of its reliability are very mixed, with some students saying that they have been charged for courses they had not taken or were charged multiple times even when they weren’t using the service.
The quality of the courses has also been questioned. Anyone can post a course on Skillshare without any approval or application period. While it's great for teachers, it means some courses might not be the best or deliver the high standard of education that you want.
It seems to be a mixed bag, and it's worth doing your research and ensuring the course is right for you before joining! After all, there are plenty of rave reviews too about Skillshare’s reliability!
Is Skillshare really free?
While Skillshare is advertised as free, you are limited to what you can do! To sign up and create a free account, all you need is your email address.
Here you will have access to free classes that you can access via the internet. There are plenty of free courses available for you to use, meaning that you can use Skillshare for free and not have to part with any money.
However, more and more courses are not free. In these cases, to access paid-for courses, you will need a Skillshare Premium membership. You can use a free trial initially to see if you like it, but then it's a monthly or annual cost.
The fee allows you to enjoy the entire catalog of courses that Skillshare offers and view them offline via their app too! You will get far more choice and flexibility when paying for Premium, but you will need to factor that cost into your budget.
From all of the details we discussed in this article, we know that Lynda offers consistently high-quality content for a wide variety of topics.
However, you should consider how this is reflected in the price range if you are looking for the most budget-friendly option.
It is possible to increase professional skills as well as knowledge on both platforms, but the outcome will entirely depend on your purpose for this extra learning as well as your budget.
I would suggest signing up for a free account on both of these platforms, Skillshare vs Lynda, and then spend some time learning by navigating courses for free.
This will give you an opportunity to move through chosen coursework on each and gauge how much it will benefit you.
It will be far easier to compare with hands-on experiences, and to take advantage of the free trials.
You can also learn skills here that can benefit your personal and entrepreneurial skills.
If you are more invested in gaining professional skills for a resume boost, Lynda may ultimately be the better investment.