Introduction

Feeding your brain is about much more than just eating superfoods, listening to NPR, and getting enough sleep. It’s about challenging yourself to learn new skills. 

Fortunately, in today’s day and age, you don’t have to sign up for a full-fledged college degree in order to flex your cognitive muscles. Taking online courses is one of the best ways to embark on a brand-new learning experience that will sharpen your skills, enhance your understanding of new concepts, and allow you to learn new things

There are plenty of online learning platforms that will allow you to take online courses and learn new skills for free – or for very little money. From Udemy to Coursera, LinkedIn Learning and beyond, there are plenty of online learning communities you can join.

Skillshare courses are among some of the best. The Skillshare platform is a relatively new online learning community that makes online learning easy, affordable, and effective. 

If you’re new to this concept and want to know what Skillshare classes have to offer, you’ve come to the right place. In this Skillshare review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this learning platform, from Skillshare membership details, Skillshare pricing, available class offerings, and other key features of this unique resource.

Here’s what you need to know. 

 

What is Skillshare?

Skillshare is a US-based online learning community for people who want to learn in a self-paced, self-guided setting. The majority of Skillshare’s content consists of educational videos, with most courses available by subscription. 

Focused more on community than on lecturing – something that’s unique to Skillshare when compared to other online learning platforms – Skillshare offers the goal of learning by completing a project. There are several main course categories you can gain skills in, such as entrepreneurship, arts, design, and technology. 

The platform was founded in 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakrn and Michael Ong, making it one of the youngest websites of its kind. Many courses are taught by industry leaders, with more than 30,000 free and subscription-based classes for you to choose from. 

 

Who is Skillshare For?

Skillshare is truly a platform for anyone and everyone. This online learning community is open to anybody who wishes to take a class, create a class, or teach a class. You can create your own projects, learn new skills, or become a teacher.

However, Skillshare is best for people who are interested in learning creative skills, particularly those in fields like creative writing, photography, leadership, and analytics. 

 

How Does Skillshare Work?

If you are interested in becoming a lifelong learner, Skillshare is the platform for you. This website will allow you to learn just about any skill, simply by engaging in video lessons and online workshops.

Most online courses have traditional lectures as well as supplementary resources like readings, worksheets, and even interactive online learning communities where you can interact with other students about your work.

Skillshare is a platform that covers a wide variety of subject matter, although its focus primarily rests on creating online courses for creative categories. You’ll find all kinds of topics that can help you benefit your career or simply indulge your hobbies. 

 

Features and Functionality

Shared Learning Experiences

Skillshare is unique in that it offers a shared learning experience similar to what you’d enjoy in a regular classroom, either online or in-person. You’ll be able to work with other students to impair your level of experience and point of view and to provide feedback based on classes you’ve already taken. 

Seamless Instructional Features

If you’re a teacher hoping to create and sell courses on Skillshare, you’ll find the process to be more or less straightforward. Skillshare’s team will walk you through every step of the process, from making and publishing classes to advertising and even getting paid. 

As an instructor, you can upload videos directly and then add interactive project steps. These steps will make it easy for you to display information exactly how you want it to appear.

Technical Specifications

Skillshare is offered on the web as well as on mobile devices like Android and iOS. There is also an app. You can take classes both on a computer as well as on your phone. It’s integrated with several companies and technologies, too, including Adobe, MailChimp, VS, Bigcartel, inVISION, Shapeways, Quirky, and more. 

Skill Tags

Another unique feature of Skillshare is the “skill tags” setting. Skill tags allow instructors to mark their courses based on which skills they teach. Plus, they help students find those courses as you can drill your search down to specific skills and browse classes accordingly.

What Type of Classes are Offered on Skillshare?

Skillshare offers classes that are categorized into three main subjects: Thrive, Build, and Create.

The Thrive category has only two subtopics – Lifestyle and Productivity. Build includes classes related to business topics, such as leadership and management, marketing, analytics, and freelance and entrepreneurship.

Create has subtopics for – you guessed it – creators. You’ll find subtopics covering skills in creative writing, filmmaking, art, illustration, graphic design, photography, web development, animation, UI and UX design, and more.

It’s important to note that these categories seem limiting, but Skillshare has many other courses that simply aren’t included in the categories mentioned above. While the aforementioned categories cover a vast majority of the classes on Skillshare, there are plenty of other classes – like those in cooking – that simply don’t fall into a neat genre or classification. 

Because of this, Skillshare makes it possible for you to find classes in two ways. You can search the categories, or you can type what you are looking for into the search bar.

 

How to Choose Skillshare Courses?

When you’re ready to start taking courses on Skillshare, you’ll likely find that the biggest challenge is choosing the right class to begin with. There are thousands of courses to choose from, which can be downright overwhelming when it comes to making the final cut. 

There are a few different ways you can find a class. You can browse a topic or a category or look at trending or recommended classes. Of course, the simplest way to find a course, if you already have something in mind, is to just use the search bar.

Once you find a class that looks interesting, go ahead and bookmark it to watch it later. You will need to have a Skillshare account to do this, which is recommended anyway, as it will allow the site to suggest classes for you based on your preferences. Once you’ve created an account, you can bookmark classes you’re interested in and you can then organize those classes into playlists.

Once you enter the course, you’ll notice that there’s an enlarged video player along with a list of videos to the right. You’ll also find a description of the teacher, class, and course resources below the video player. You’ll be able to see how many students took the class and how many were interested in it.

You can even access ratings so you can determine whether the class is appropriate for you and your experience level (the courses are ranked based on their suitability for beginners, people with a bit of experience, or people at all levels). 

 

Review of Skillshare Pricing & Costs

There are several options for you to look at when it comes to Skillshare pricing. The most basic plan is the free membership. The free version is ad-supported and does not allow you to access all of the video classes available on Skillshare. It also restricts you from accessing related content or supporting documents like PDF workbooks or community discussions.

The next step up on the Skillshare pricing ladder is the Premium Membership. This Skillshare membership removes all ads and opens up the entire catalog of courses.

You’ll also be able to download cases to the mobile apps so that you’ll have the freedom to watch online. The Premium Skillshare Membership costs $19 per month or just $99 per year.

Not only that, but signing up for a Premium Membership will enable you to tap into a long list of other “freebies,” including discounts for Squarespace, Adobe Creative Cloud, Shutterstock, and more. 

A final option is the Team’s account. This subscription costs exactly the same as a Premium Skillshare Membership, but its features are a bit different. With this membership, designed for organizations who want to give their staff members Skillshare accounts that are administered under one single account, you’ll pay just $99 per month

There’s one caveat, however, to this Skillshare membership. In order to qualify for this Skillshare pricing model, you’ll need to have fewer than 20 people on your team. If you have more than 20 team members, you will need to get in touch with someone at Skillshare to discuss your options.

Skillshare is much more affordable than many other online learning platforms. For example, if you want to sign up for MasterClass, a similar service, you’ll pay $180 per year. You can choose to take just one class, but it will cost you $90 or more.

LinkedIn Learning also charges an annual subscription fee but it’s only available to LinkedIn Premium members. You’ll pay at least $29 per month. 

Of course, there are other platforms that offer free classes or pay-as-you-go online courses. Khan Academy, Udemy, and Coursera are all examples. Remember, though, that you get what you pay for – just because you’ll find free classes, that doesn’t mean they are always better.

 

The Advantages (Pros) of Skillshare

There are several benefits to using Skillshare to expand your skills and explore new topics. 

Easy to Use and User-Friendly

Skillshare’s courses might vary a bit between instructors – after all, they’re all going to have different teaching styles and modalities -but for the most part, Skillshare is an online learning platform that is consistent and easy to get used to. You’ll know what to expect for each class. 

There are all kinds of technological resources you can tap into that make using Skillshare more comfortable and convenient. For example, you can turn on closed captioning services or slow down the video playback speed – a helpful feature if you need to relisten to something that you already heard. 

You can also pause a video, skip sections, or go back. Since you’ll be able to see each video’s title and description listed off to the side, you’ll know what you’ve already covered and what’s next. You can also jump to new sections without having to playback hours of content.

Community Interaction

Another wonderful feature of Skillshare is its ability for you to actively participate by interacting with the community. You’ll be able to post your projects and work and then open it up to comments from other Skillshare users.

This sounds, at first mention, like it could be opening up a can of worms. What if the other students don’t like your work? What if they’re overly brutal? Fortunately, this tends to not be the case with Skillshare – other users tend to be friendly and offer constructive feedback. 

There are other ways you can continue to engage with the Skillshare community, too, something that’s unique to this platform and not something you’ll find with other online course platforms.

Skillshare Workshops, for instance, are courses that have more structure and community involvement, running between set calendar dates and including a timeline of projects that students must follow.

These have deadlines and a more interactive community that is similar to what you’d experience in a traditional college course. 

Of course, you’ll be able to work on projects regardless of whether you’re taking a Workshop class or not. Most classes have projects so you can gain some expertise while you’re taking the class. 

Great for Learning Creative Skills

Although there are plenty of other online course platforms out there, Skillshare is by far the best if you’re hoping to build your skills in a creative area, like writing or photography. 

Open to Anyone

Skillshare is unique in that it’s open to absolutely anyone. You don’t have to have a college degree to teach a class, and you don’t have to enroll as a student or pay steep tuition prices in order to take one. It’s truly open source.

 

The Disadvantages (Cons) of Skillshare

Lack of Depth

One complaint about Skillshare courses – and one that’s echoed when it comes to other online learning platforms, too – is that they lack depth. You won’t find a Skillshare class with a discussion board that delves deep into the crux of an issue or goes into the theory of any kind. 

Other online courses you may have taken at traditional colleges tend to foster collaboration and deep conversation between students, but whether it’s Udemy, Coursera, or Skillshare, this isn’t something you’re likely to find with these more common open-source course platforms.

Poor Instructor Interaction

Some Skillshare users complain that it’s hard to get feedback from an instructor or to interact with him or her via the platform. Unfortunately, that seems to be a common trend across all online learning platforms and it’s not exclusive just to Skillshare.  

 

The Learner’s Perspective

As a student on Skillshare, you’ll find a clear, clean-cut learning platform that’s pretty easy to get used to. Classes are structured in a consistent manner so you don’t have to worry about adapting to a new format whenever you log into a new course. 

The one thing that does vary significantly among the classes is the length. Some Classes contain 50 or more short, one- or two-minute videos, while others contain only 10 videos that are each 10 minutes each. There are no restrictions or requirements on how long or short a class can be. 

Similarly, some classes have assignments, while others do not. In most cases, you’ll be invited to share your work with other students who are taking the class. Some instructors continue to give feedback on student work – in fact, this is a good way to tell if a Skillshare class is worth your time or not – while others do not. 

There are essentially two main categories of classes on Skillshare – Skillshare Originals and individual-created classes. 

If you are an individual creating a class on Skillshare, you’ll make money from the class and sell it yourself. A Skillshare Original, on the other hand, is one that is produced by Skillshare, often in conjunction with partners like Patreon and Mailchimp. These classes might be taught by celebrities and they are generally of a much higher quality. Most of these classes will include several videos that are about ten minutes long, meant to be completed sequentially, and very easy to follow. 

These classes are some of the best to take if you really want to gain mastery of a subject. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting and the videos are short enough that you can watch them in bits and pieces, pausing and restarting them as needed, for a truly self-paced course. 

User-created (or individual-created) classes also tend to be of a high quality, though they aren’t quite as consistent. These tend to be a bit shorter and are less likely to be taught by familiar faces that you already know and love. However, Skillshare is unique among other online learning platforms in that its team will consistently and regularly go through courses to audit them, removing ones that aren’t of the highest quality. 

As a student on Skillshare, you’ll love the large array of courses available. There are plenty of options to choose from and most classes are taught by skilled instructors. Of course, there are some that are clearly taught by instructors who don’t know much about what they are trying to teach. However, it’s pretty easy to weed these out by reading reviews from other students and taking a quick preview of the course. 

 

The Instructor’s Perspective

As an instructor on Skillshare, you’ll experience several advantages to posting your class here, particularly when compared to other course platforms. 

The beauty of Skillshare is that anybody can be an instructor – you don’t have to have a degree or any other kinds of specific credentials. Not only that, but you’ll have complete autonomy when it comes to your course. It’s up to you to decide how to structure the course, how to design it, and even to handle all the day-to-day minutiae, like uploading materials and videos.

As a Skillshare instructor, you’ll earn money from the course royalties. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly how much you will earn can be a bit difficult to decipher at first, although it’s a pricing structure you will eventually get used to.

According to Skillshare, your royalties will become part of a pool of money every month. This is 30% of the Premium membership revenue. Also, Skillshare will add up the number of minutes that Premium members watched your videos, and that’s not just members who are paying. The calculation also takes into account unpaid subscribers who watch the videos. 

Interestingly, the speed and length with which each student watches your video also impacts your royalties. For example, when a student increases the playback speed on a video, it decreases the time watched and lowers the royalties you get.

You’ll get a payment that includes all of the Premium minutes watched for the month and then calculate a percentage for each teacher. It’s important to note that you must have at least 30 minutes watched across all of your videos to earn royalties every month or you don’t qualify.

This payment structure is a bit overcomplicated for many Skillshare teachers, a factor that leads many to take their classes to other online learning platforms. However, the beauty of Skillshare is that you don’t have to worry about paying any sort of membership fee and you can figure out how much you’ll earn each month so that you can more or less plan on the income.

 

Conclusion

Ready to learn new skills? If so, Skillshare might be the way to go. This online learning platform provides training in a wide variety of skills, and with a free version available, there’s really no reason not to give it a try. 

Hopefully, this Skillshare review has been helpful to you as you search for the best online courses and career development opportunities. Sign up and start learning today!

 

 

FAQ

How Much Does Skillshare Cost?

There are several Skillshare pricing options you can choose from. You can sign up for free with just your email address. A free account will give you access to any free classes that are available.

You can also choose to upgrade to a Premium Membership, which will give you access to more than 20,000 classes in the Premium catalog. The Premium Membership costs $99 a year or $19 per month. There is also a seven-day free trial for Premium Memberships as well as a Team Membership.

Does Skillshare Have a Monthly Fee?

Skillshare only has a monthly fee if you choose to sign up for the Premium Membership and to be billed on a monthly basis. Otherwise, you will pay just once a year.

Is Skillshare Free?

Skillshare does have a free version. However, you’ll have access to more courses if you choose to sign up for the Premium version, as well as other features like the ability to download courses to your mobile device so that you can view them offline.

Is Skillshare Legit?

Skillshare is legit, and for the vast majority of people, it’s well worth the money you might pay for a Premium Membership. Not only will you get the chance to learn a wide variety of skills online from expert instructors, but you’ll be able to do so from high-quality videos that you can watch at your own pace.

Is Skillshare Accredited?

Unfortunately, Skillshare is not accredited. If you’re just learning to pick up a few skills here or there, that’s not an issue. However, if you’re hoping to take courses with the goal of transferring credits to a university program, that can be problematic. You will need to enroll in a full-fledged college program of study if you are looking for an option that is accredited.

Does Skillshare Give Certificates?

Unlike other online learning platforms, Skillshare does not offer certificates. You can, however, post your class project to show that you have completed a class, and you’ll have a fun new project to add to your professional portfolio, too.

Does Skillshare Offer Money Back Guarantee?

Skillshare doesn’t have a money back guarantee, per se, but it does offer refunds for annual Premium Membership payments if you contact Skillshare within seven days after the charge has been processed. There are no refunds on monthly payments and you can only get one refund per customer.

How Do You Cancel Skillshare Subscription?

To cancel your Skillshare subscription, you will need to log on to the account settings for your Skillshare account. Click “payments,” which can be found in the left-hand navigation menu. Then click “cancel membership.” You’ll be able to follow all the steps for cancellation there.

Is Skillshare Worth it?

If you want to build your skills in a certain area and don’t mind dedicating a few hours here or there to do so, Skillshare is absolutely worth it. With a free trial and a totally free version available, it’s a great way to learn more without having to spend a ton of money.

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Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a writer with a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked both as a college admissions counselor as well as a high school English teacher and has also written extensively on topics related to educational technology and the college selection process.

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