Develop Your Creative Skill Set – A Skillshare Review
Skills in the fourth industrial revolution are becoming as dynamic as ever. And these days you can get skilled not only through attending schools or physical training. There is a myriad of online and virtual academies available that compete for your attention.
One such popular platform is Skillshare, which focuses on developing your creative skills in art, media, design, illustration, or photography and offers classes that teach you how to sell and market your products and your brand. Is Skillshare worth it? Our Skillshare review narrows down the features you’re looking for and discusses highlights, pros and cons.
Skillshare Review – Quick Overview
Skillshare is one of the best known online learning platforms and was founded by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong in New York City. With their tagline, “Inspiring discovery through creativity”, Skillshare aims to hone creativity among its students through video lectures giving them a chance to showcase their projects.
Teaching – Similar to Udemy, literally anyone can create and publish content to teach people skills. However, Skillshare’s focus is more to help creative professionals to develop the right business skills. Skillshare, furthermore, produces its own content called Originals and curates and recommends well-structured content and teaching through Staff Picks.
To give you a rough review of Skillshare’s catalog structure, I briefly summarize the main sections you can use to find the best Skillshare courses that will match your interests.
CREATE – animation, media, fine art, illustration, photography, design, web development
BUILD – business analytics, entrepreneurship, leadership, management, and marketing
THRIVE – lifestyle and productivity
Catalog & workshops – With more than 22,000 Skillshare classes to choose from, it offers a vast pool to explore and build creative skills. Additionally, you can take part in workshops which are a set of classes in a particular field (i.e. photography). You can join those at a scheduled time and make your learning more goal-oriented.
Courses: 22,0000+ | Students: 1,000,000+
Language: English, Spanish, French, and others
Pricing: $15/month or $99/year.
Apps: iOS, Android, Apple TV
Skillshare Review Rating: ★★★★★ | 4.7
Skillshare Certificates and Pricing
You may already know a few providers such as Udemy, edX, Coursera, or CreativeLive, and have seen different pricing models. Udemy requires you to pay for each class you enroll in while Coursera lets you study but asks for a fee if you need certification. Similar to LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare gives you an option to subscribe to monthly or annual plans.
Plans – Those premium plans let you access all content and workshops available. The basic plan is even free but only offers access to a limited selection of content. Premium is $15 monthly or $99 if billed annually which turns out to be $8.25 per month.
Pro Tip – I recommend sign-up for a free basic plan first and wait a few hours for Skillshare to send you a trial offer via email. At the moment, this is a 2-weeks trial (click here to get 2-weeks). Note that conditions might have changed. Furthermore, you will need to enter your debit or credit card or PayPal details to register for a premium trial.
Upon registering, you have unlimited access to all premium content. Keep in mind to cancel a trail before it ends if you do not wan to proceed learning with SKillshare.
No Certificates – As of now, Skillshare is not issuing certificates. The platform is purely to learn without getting official credentials. Yay or nay? Learn more as you read this article.
Dashboard – Students of Skillshare usually find the dashboard very user-friendly. And I have to agree that Skillshare is one of the few platforms that have a stylish looking interface and motivates you to simply browse and start a class. It’s fun and easy to explore classes.
Browsing – The front-page welcomes you with a video-based banner that communicates what you can expect from the platform. The “Browse” menu offers quick access to categories, however, it does not offer a search bar for some reasons. You need to click on a category or “All Classes” to see such a bar. Scrolling down, ongoing and scheduled workshops appear to give you an idea of what is on right now.
Sections – Skillshare’s content is also categorized into sections such as “Recommended”, “Featured” or “Trending”. If you look for information about teachers you will find the names of the most recognized ones here including a link to their profile page. The footer hosts all these and other links if you need further details before making any decisions.
Apps – A great thing about Skillshare is their mobile application. If you want to watch lectures anytime and anywhere, using the platform’s apps offer a very convenient way to learn. Some dubbed it even as “Netflix of creative learning”– that instead of binge-watching of movies, you can have tutorials. Well, I’d leave that up to you to decide.
Class pages – Making sure that students will not get bored, video lessons are chunked into smaller segments to create continuity and also to maintain the attention and focus of students. Watching the video intro or browsing details such the curriculum, course duration, number of students or ratings help make an informed decicions to enrol, skip or move on.
Interactivity – Skillshare wants to be interactive. While you can take part in class projects to submit your work for review and feedback you can also ask questions or leave comments. An interesting feature are time stamps meaning you can leave comments and notes while watching the actual class.
This feature aims to help people find interesting quotes, details or information. Some find this feature rather distractive than interactive as it encourages you to stop and read comments, and indeed not many of them actually add value to the class. However, the ability to concentrate can vary hugely between people.
Skillshare Basic vs. Premium Subscription
As mentioned above, creating an account that includes a trial requires your payment details. You can set up a free account by adding your card details to get a quick look at how it feels though you browse all classes and watch intros without even being required to log in. Skillshare works through a subscription system, and while there are free classes, you might not get much out of them in the long run.
There is one Skillshare plan that will charge you monthly, currently $15, and one subscription to pay for all services annually, which will set you back $99 or $8.25/month. Well, should you go for the free basic or premium plan? Here are the differences between the two so you can decide whether to stay with a free account or worth upgrading to premium.
With your basic account, you can access about 2,100 free video lectures and tutorials. Additionally, you get access to the Skillshare community that will allow you to create projects, join discussions with other students enrolled, and enjoy all that content on the Skillshare mobile app as well.
How about premium? A subscription gives unlimited access to over 22,000 classes that you can download, save, and use offline. Another advantage of the premium plan is the absence of ads when you watch videos. Depending on your personality, this could increase or reduce a significant source of distractions. Finally, with a premium subscription, you support the teachers directly as they will receive a portion of your fees. Another share will go to fund scholarships – as the platform claims. So, is Skillshare worth the cost? Let’s figure it out.
Skillshare Review – Content
No matter how stylish the Skillshare website looks like, in the end, it all comes down to the quality of classes. To be frank, Skillshare’s content does not come from universities but will be created by professionals and ‘claimed’ experts from various industries. Creators and teachers are usually experienced and well-recognized professionals, for example, web developers, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, artists, musicians or filmmakers.
Levels – Courses range from beginners to experts though I found that the majority targets various beginner levels. Hence, if you are new to the skill and have no background, Skillshare is for you. Although some students have expressed disappointment with lectures being too basic, certain skills require you to start from scratch.
Structure – On the other hand, certain Originals cannot be classified at all and apply to all levels equally. Particularly topics such as entrepreneurship, productivity or motivation are suitable for all students and they can hold valuable insights and are a source of inspiration for your work and career. To summarize, each class offers a video introduction and displays information about the learning level, enrolled students, and the curriculum to assess its suitability to help reach your goals.
Teachers – As mentioned, to produce the Originals, Skillshare hires “teachers” who are not technically teachers but who are experts in the field and want to share their skills with people from all paths of life. Originals follow Skillshare’s quality standards.
On the other hand, there are no strict qualifications required to produce and publish a class on Skillshare. This way, you may come across a class that compares equal to the many educational YouTube videos available. Saying this, a major downside is that audio and video quality, as well as pedagogic methods, might not be up to your standards all the time.
Skillshare Originals and Staff Picks
What are actually those Skillshare Originals? Like other online media services, Originals is a popular marketing term that refers to content produced in-house. At Skillshare, these originals offer high-quality content that follows a structured curriculum delivered by a certified or industry-recognized and experienced instructor to teach you a certain skill.
Popular examples are the Productivity Masterclass with Thomas Frank, Digital Illustration with Jarom Vogel or Unlocking Your Potential with Emma Gannon. I really like them, particularly as they deliver practical knowledge within 1-1.5 hours.
Staff Picks are another way to explore curated content. These include high-quality teaching that follows best practices in how skills will be taught and producing and delivering audio and video. Great examples are the iPhone photography with Dale McManus, Interior Design with Rose Sprinkle or Modern Water Color Techniques with Cat Coquillette.
Skillshare Refunds and Payments
Payments for premium upgrades can be made using your debit or credit card or PayPal. Just a reminder, after signing up for a free trial account, Skillshare will give you a 14 days free premium trial. If you wish to avail of it, no problem. But if during that duration, you wish not to continue, do not forget to cancel before the end to avoid inconvenience in refunding.
Refunds – Speaking of refund, some Skillshare reviews from users say that it’s too hard for customer service to process unwanted payments causing them to pay the extended subscription. Others express positive comments that even if they just sent an email to the help desk, they have received refund confirmation.
It’s somehow inevitable for these kinds of platforms to have all kinds of feedback from users. As I was saying, if you want to avoid these circumstances, have your trial deadline written down somewhere to not forget about it or simply cancel if you know you won’t keep using Skillshare afterward.
Skillshare Pro Tip: Keep in mind that your 2-month trial will be ended as soon as you cancel your test membership. This is certainly annoying as it forces you to keep an eye on your calendar in order to make the most out of those eight weeks.
However, I also don’t think this is super sneaky as Skillshare touts a two-week trial on their website and the 2 months are a surprise you will receive when signing up for the free account. Thus signing up for the free account is better than going for a 14-day trial.
Skillshare Review – Pros and Cons
Wrapping up or Skillshare review, we can conclude that the pros and cons are:
- Skillshare Originals to offer in-house content
- Staff picks to curate high-quality available content on Skillshare
- User-friendly website. Easy to navigate.
- Offline learning. Save video tutorials to watch on your mobile app (premium only)
- A wide array of free to learn courses
- Ideal to learn skills from scratch
- Workshops to further advance and master skills
- Good for anyone who prefers visual learning through videos
- Interaction with other students
- Not all classes follow best practices for audio and video quality standards.
- Not all courses maintain good teaching quality or structure.
- Distracting timestamps/comments integrated into videos
- Potential problems with refunds
- No certificates/credentials to issue
- Requires payment details to access Skillshare premium trial
It is worth noting that those who do not have debit or credit cards or a PayPal account cannot use the advantages of the free trial as adding a valid payment method is mandatory.
Concerning the learning atmosphere at Skillshare, you will find the environment to be interesting and stress-free. Most of the tutorials are not overwhelming in terms of jargon, and the fact or illusion that they are talking to you directly is a nice feeling.
‘Stress-free’ as well because due to its modern layout, it feels like as you were chilling and watching Netflix. Wanting to learn new skills, improve what’s existing, or simply prepare for the future? Skillshare is certainly worth a try.
Skillshare Review – Verdict and Bottom-line
Concluding our Skillshare review, yes, this platform is suitable for young or old, for those who discovered their talents or those who want to change careers. No matter the creative skill there is certainly something for all types of students.
Overall, Skillshare is ideal for developing students’ creativity and skills in animation, writing, film and video, fine art, illustration, music, photography, UI/UX design, and web development. It also helps leverage in the field of business analytics, freelance ad enterprises, leadership and management, and marketing; and thrive for lifestyle and productivity.
The annual subscription is the best deal as it reduces the monthly rate down to $8.25 which makes it highly competitive when looking at similar or comparable providers such as Udemy or CreativeLIve. You may further maximize your investment if you try joining workshops and create a scheduled learning plan to attend as many classes as possible in the field of your interest. It will be worth the price!
However, it is important to keep in mind that Skillshare won’t issue any certificates. Hence, if you rely on certification in order to get a job, consider platforms such as edX, Coursera or Udaycity that offer such skill validation.
Is Skillshare worth it? Yes, it is. It is ideal for those wanting to learn skills quickly and easily. We though recommend using the trial to see if it works for you. Keep in mind that if you plan to use Skillshare for longer than 6 months, an annual subscription may offer a cheaper way to use it and allows access for 12 months in total.
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