Is Skillshare Worth The Money In 2019? A Complete Review
You’ve probably heard of Skillshare by now and that’s probably true because you clicked to this article. But today we will look deep into Skillshare and see whether it is worth getting a membership in 2019.
Skillshare is an online learning platform that teaches skills that fall into the category of “Creative”, “Business”, “Technology” and “Lifestyle”.
Within each of these 4 areas, you have more sub-categories that you can take courses in. You’re not limited to these categories though, you can search up for any skill you want to learn and you will most probably find it.
The teaching takes place in the style of videos and a few projects you can carry out yourself to test your knowledge.
Is Skillshare free?
Skillshare does come with a basic plan (completely free) that allows you to watch videos from around 2000 courses. However, as you may have expected, the free courses are not as popular as the ones that come with a premium membership.
How much does Skillshare cost?
The premium version of Skillshare comes in at $15.00 per month or if you bill annually, it turns out to be $8.25 per month with a bill of $99 annually. Therefore paying the annual subscription fee will save you 45% more as compared to the monthly subscription.
Are you a student that has a valid .edu email address?
If so, you may be able to get up to 50% on a premium Skillshare membership. Skillshare considers this to be a scholarship- to get this, you need to apply right here.
There are also special plans for people looking to get Skillshare for teams and employees. For that, you can visit the Skillshare website.
That’s already too much for me…
It is understandable that not everyone will look to spend $8.25 to $15 per month on a website that teaches skills via online videos. But the amazing thing is, Skillshare allows you to try 2 months of the premium for free.
There is nothing to loose with a free trial. After 2 whole months, you can decided whether Skillshare is for you or not. In these 2 months, you can get a feel of the different teachers, courses and people that you meet on the platform. If you feel that it’s not right for you then you can simply cancel your subscription.
If you want to get started with the 2 months, click here.
Reviewing the UI
Skillshare has a clean design which allows you to create lists, see workshops, access all your saved classes and view your watch history. The home page will continually give you recommendations of classes based on your topic interests and viewing history.
Browsing for classes is super easy with the category, drop-down menu as well as the handy search bar. In the search option, you can filter classes based on:
- Whether they are free or premium
- The release date for the course
- Duration of class
When it comes to playing the video, the video player allows you to adjust the play speed (between 0.5x and 2x) however there isn’t any option to adjust the video quality so if you have a poor internet connection or have limited bandwidth you may need to consider this.
Another cool feature is that you can find ‘notes’ from other people as you watch the video. At certain timestamps, a blue highlight will signify that people have made some notes- you can make a public note for others to see or just make notes for yourself. This gives some sense of engagement with the video at the very least.
Is Skillshare Premium worth it?
I am writing this a student’s point of view. I have had the Skillshare premium subscription for just under a year now and I have to say that I have learned quite a few skills since then.
Currently the Skillshare Premium membership gives you 29,000 courses and more courses are being continually added. I was pleasantly surprised to see courses from people who I famously recognized myself this included: Simon Sinek, Thomas Frank and Gary Vaynerchuk.
My experience with Skillshare has been great. With the annual subscription, I paid $99 for 365 days. That comes down to just $0.27 per day.
In terms of content quality, there is always variation. Some courses are better than others. Most of the time, the best courses are the ones with the most students currently on them (Skillshare does show the number of active students watching a particular course at the same time as you).
On Skillshare you may find courses under an hour long or up to 8 hours long. There are also some courses that have part 1, part 2 and so on.
The best courses on Skillshare definitely come with premium package and are highlighted as being “Skillshare Originals”. If a class has “Orginal” written over it, chances are that it is a high-quality course. However, I am not saying that a class has to be labelled “Original” to be good- there are tons of great classes out there without the label.
My highlight classes were based on leadership, creating productivity systems, how to improve memory and photoshop skills. These classes were of high quality and the very useful for me as I wanted to improve on these specific skills. I felt that the instructors were very energetic and motivated and the lessons were inspiring and easy to follow.
What I would recommend is that you make a list of skills or courses that interest that you and then search up these courses on Skillshare. If the courses you want to do are on premium then it will be worth the money to get the membership.
Plus don’t forget, you have a free trial to check out what’s being offer at Skillshare. Use this to help make the decision.
Can I download Skillshare videos?
You may find yourself somewhere secluded, away from humanity, without any internet! But don’t worry, no wi-fi can’t stop you from learning…..as long as you have a premium membership.
With the premium membership you can download videos for offline viewing although this only works for the installed Skillshare app on IOS/Android. You can only watch the videos within the Skillshare application itself.
Who can benefit from Skillshare
Skillshare is for anybody really. Whether you are a student at school, college, university or a person with a job, perhaps an entreupner. There is always something you can get your hands on when it comes to an online course.
It is however important to note that you won’t get a certificate of completion for a course that you do, so you may need to keep that in mind in case you do use it for official documentation or a CV.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from mentioning what you’ve learned from Skillshare in a job interview or application essay to a university for example.
There are lots of courses that focus around personal development and productivity. You can learn quite a bit from these courses on how you can improve your presentation skills, writing skills, journaling, organisation and productivity. In the end, you are looking to become a person with more skills under your belt that will help you do better in your work life and personal life.
The problems I faced
After having bought the premium membership, I have to be honest and say that I did not use Skillshare everyday. And definitely not every week. A lot of other people will be facing a similar problem- they pay for the premium membership but rarely go on the website and spend the time learning.
If you are going to get Skillshare then you need to ensure that you spend sufficient time going onto the website for at least a few minutes a day. If you feel that you cannot do this then perhaps look for the alternatives below.
Once you get into a routine, you should be able to find that you can go on Skillshare everyday- even if it’s only for a few minutes. For the people who commute everyday and find that they have free time, Skillshare would be perfect for you, especially the fact that you can download classes on the app.
What are Skillshare workshops?
Workshops are a way of taking courses that have a set schedule- chosen by a course teacher or by someone working at Skillshare. The workshops have a set timeline in which you have to complete projects as well. In addition to this, there is a discussion section for you to ask any questions (which doesn’t seem to be extremely active at times).
The workshops themselves are just a collection of videos from different teachers and courses. The structure and timeline for the course can help you stay more focused on completion; this is something that is preferred for some over having just lots of courses with unlimited access and no deadline dates.
But don’t worry if you pass the deadline date, the videos from the workshop will always be available for you on Skillshare at any time (so long as you have the right subscription).
Are workshops free? Well if the workshops contain videos from premium classes then you will need the premium membership to participate in them. There are only a few workshops available with the basic (free) plan.
You will not need to pay extra for workshops if you do have premium membership however there are some workshops that do have a sign up fee (one-time only). These workshops are limited to only a few people which allows a better learning experience because the teacher can get closer to the students.
In general, workshops are just here to give you some structure for some of the skills you learn in Skillshare. Remember that there may be several courses on the same topic areas (like photography). Therefore, a workshop can guide you so that you can get the best skills from a specific topic area. Also, the fact that you need to complete projects encourages you to take action- this is highly important when it comes to learning skills.
Alternatives to Skillshare
In general, Skillshare is a platform that teaches courses on various topics but it seems to be very casual and relaxed. A lot of the courses, are focused on skills like photography, media, cooking, art and writing. Some of the courses are from leaders in the industry or individuals who are highly skilled however, there are not many courses by educational institutes or university (whereas sites like Coursera, Udacity and EdX do).
There are various alternatives to Skillshare. However, for your best benefit, you should specifically search up a course and see the details before you decide to make any purchases.
Udemy also offers various courses on variety of different topics (very similar to Skillshare). However with Udemy, you buy each course seperately whereas Skillshare has a membership which allows you to take unlimited courses at once.
This does mean that courses on Udemy are expensive (and tend to be much longer up to 40-50 hours) with prices going for around $199.99. But, the great thing is, Udemy throws amazing sales which brings the $199.99 courses down to just $11.99. So you should probably wait for a Udemy sale to go on before you purchase a course.
Because Udemy, does not follow a membership- you have to buy each courses separately with Udemy. Therefore, if you are person who has a particular course in mind and wants to just focus on a specific skill (e.g learning Python- a programming language) then Udemy may be for you.
Additionally, if you are super busy and know you won’t have lots of time to spend on Skillshare then buying a single $10 course could be better for you wallet. When you buy a course on Udemy, you do get life-time access and a certificate upon completion.
However, if you like to explore different areas and indulge yourself in several courses from different aspects of life then Skillshare will allow you to watch videos from any of the courses online. This definitely means that Skillshare has a better value in terms of the range of skills offered per dollar (if you can consistently use it).
Coursera, Udacity and EdX
Now if you are a student in high school, college or university and you want to watch courses that are very technical and created by universities then you have to check out these sites instead. These websites do offer programs from top universities and top global companies (MIT, Harvard, Google, IBM to name a few).
When it comes to pricing, you may find yourself a free course but you will have to pay for a certificate of completion and probably have to do test/quizzes. Some courses are equivalent to online degrees so be prepared to spend the money and work real hard.
In these websites, you will find courses mainly on computer science, engineering, general sciences, mathematics, finance, business, humanities. These courses are similar to what you find when studying at university or after high school (in terms of knowledge depth and difficulty) as opposed to courses on photography, cooking, fitness, film making, editing and personal development offered on Skillshare and Udemy.
You can check out an in depth view of these websites here.
What about YouTube?
YouTube contains tons and tons of videos, and no doubt that this number is far greater than the number of videos on Skillshare. However, that’s one problem. There are so many videos on YouTube that are just not education related; this makes it hard to focus and learn from a YouTube video because there are so many video distractions on YouTube (you know on the ‘recommended’ column).
No doubt, there are excellent tutorials and even courses on YouTube and if they fit your needs then check them out.
This is from the Skillshare help centre:
“…classes published to the platform are moderated daily for length, teachability, subject matter, minimum education quality and applicability.”
However, some Skillshare courses may not be as good as some videos on YouTube. And yes, that would mean that the free option is better than the paid option which really directs you away from Skillshare. Despite this, some people would argue that paying for a service encourages them to use it.
In conclusion, you can use YouTube but the fact that YouTube is not focused heavily on learning and education really drives you away from learning. Imagine you set aside 30 minutes of your day to learning something new, you go on YouTube and find a video. For most people, these 3o minutes will not be spent learning and will instead be spent on procrastination. You may disagree with me and that’s compeltley fine.
The point here is that it’s difficult to use a website for both learning and entertainment. You can easily procrastinate on YouTube while it’s much harder to procrastinate on Skillshare (you won’t be as distracted from non-educational videos).
The best thing I would recommend is to explore YouTube and Skillshare (remember you can get a free trial) to see what suits you. If you find that Skillshare does not have the videos you are looking for, you can always get your money back- that’s what the trial is for.