For a while now, commerce has gradually shifted to the online world. Goods are sold, services are rendered, contracts are signed, and business deals are transacted on the internet.
Then there’s the prominence of online learning platforms where people learn and acquire new skills.
Despite all of this, many people still need to be convinced about the genuineness of these online platforms.
“Are they truly effective? How do they work? Which is better for me? Will I get my money’s worth?” These are but a few of the many questions! We have taken it upon ourselves to review and analyze each online learning platform.
From our research and trial of both platforms, Skillshare offers courses on just about any skill, while MasterClass is more for lifelong learners who want to learn not-so-traditional skills like cooking and singing.
This review will center around MasterClass vs. Skillshare. We’ll look at each platform critically and observe its specific features, qualities, and value for money.
We’ll also examine what you can gain from each platform and why you should consider using them. Then we’ll compare and contrast the two media based on their characteristics.
You’ll be able to choose the best online platform for yourself. Let’s begin the review! But first, we’ll quickly describe each platform.
Brief Description of Both Platforms
This online platform has been long in the game since it was established in 2014 by Aaron Rasmussen and David Roggier.
Since then, they have made a name for themselves and are now one of the frontrunners of online learning platforms. This is to say that the platform is legit, and you need not fear being scammed.
MasterClass is an online streaming platform that enables people to learn from celebrities and industry experts worldwide.
Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California, and The United States. There they recruit well-known and recognized professionals to teach the skills they are admired for.
It is no surprise that they have 43 investors, including the prestigious Vershina Capital and Empede Capital.
Skillshare is another long-standing and legit online learning platform. It was founded in November 2010 by Malcolm Ong and Micheal Karnjanaprakorn. But unlike MasterClass, Skillshare is headquartered in New York.
On Skillshare, different skills are taught and shared by professionals who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.
The platform offers thousands of courses, and you can learn about anything. From a simple craft like knitting to a technical course like Web development, Skillshare gives you a chance to know them all.
Key Features of Each Platform for Learners
All online platforms are alike in many ways, but each has some key features that are particular to them and endear to people. The same applies to MasterClass and Skillshare.
Most online learning platforms offer their members the chance to learn new professional skills like website design or Data science. Still, MasterClass caters to a different set of people – lifelong learners!
The platform attracts people with its list of celebrities and hooks them with its cinematic videos and classes where you feel like you’re having fun even while learning. It is no surprise that it is one of the most popular online learning platforms.
That leads us to another key feature of MasterClass. MasterClass allows people to tap knowledge from the best of the best.
You’ll get the chance to learn from your favorite celebrities and hear firsthand the principles they follow in their crafts and lives. You might even be lucky to get one or two of their secrets to success.
However, a large amount of these star-studded courses will only serve to inspire you. You will need more in-depth knowledge of the skills.
So If you’re only looking for a platform where you can learn unconventional skills like gardening or cooking from time to time, then this is the platform for you.
Here are some examples of the courses offered on MasterClass:
- Serena Williams teaches tennis;
- Daniel Negreanu teaches poker;
- Ron Finley teaches gardening;
- Margaret Artwood teaches creative writing;
- Chris Voss teaches the art of negotiations;
- Dan Brown teaches writing thrillers;
- Christina Aguilera teaches singing;
- Nail Gaiman teaches the art of storytelling.
Also, MasterClass allows you to stream lecture videos whenever and wherever you desire. This can be done on your smart mobile phone, tablet, or personal computer.
The video lessons are available on AppleTV and FireTV streaming players. You can download your favorite videos and watch them later or show a friend.
And what’s more, you can listen to the lectures in an audio-only mode, although this doesn’t apply to all the classes.
With MasterClass, you are guaranteed your privacy in learning. You decide when, how and in what way you want to learn.
The best feature of Skillshare is its variety of classes. They offer thousands of courses on different topics, even the most unlikely ones.
You can learn virtually everything on this platform. This feature endears the platform to people because you can be sure of finding a course on the topic or skill you desire to learn.
All you need to do is type in a topic of interest or a related keyword on the search bar, and a suitable course will pop up.
In addition to this, the classes offered on Skillshare are concise, so you get to learn what you need in a short while without wasting valuable time on details you do not need.
The brevity of the courses makes it easy to navigate through the many courses on the platform.
Skillshare offers courses on practical skills with projects you can work on in most cases. Some instructors conduct workshops encouraging more active participation and community involvement.
Also, Skillshare is an excellent option for learning a skill you can immediately use to make money, like photo editing, coding, or Web development.
They even offer financial courses like Digital Marketing, Business Analytics, and Entrepreneurship. It functions like a traditional learning institution; you learn these skills for way less than you would have otherwise spent in formal education.
Some of the most popular courses offered on Skillshare include:
- Copywriting for beginners: how to write Web copy that sells without being cheesy;
- Getting Started with Email Marketing;
- Creative non-fiction: write truth with style;
- The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to successful writing habit;
- Hand lettering essentials for beginners;
- Intro to UX: fundamentals of usability;
- Novel writing: creating loveable characters in 5 easy steps;
- iPhone photography: how to take pro photos on your phone;
- Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type, and Colour.
There’s also the fantastic feature of Skillshare for teams. Here you can register your team or employees for training under Skillshare at affordable prices.
Employees can learn complex skills, soft skills, or even courses on work-life balance. Skillshare has well-trained and expert tutors ready to instill their expertise in your team.
They coach your staff to excellence and professionalism, as testified by Paul Johnston, a global design manager at Dentons. “We try to develop a more creative mindset in our team. We tried everything — from face-to-face training to using LinkedIn Learning. But it wasn’t until our team leveraged Skillshare that we saw results quickly. It has transformed what we can offer and has made our team more engaged and collaborative.” He says.
Pricing of the Courses
These platforms offer their services at different costs. While Skillshare offers free courses once you’ve opened an account with them, for MasterClass, you can only learn courses if you subscribe to a membership plan.
Below, we’ll look at the pricing plan of each platform.
- The Individual Membership Plan - $15 per month.
- The Duo Membership Plan - $20 per month.
- The Family Membership Plan - $23 per month.
MasterClass comes in three different plans. All of which have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. All the plans are billed annually and give you access to the classes and sessions along with bonus class guides and content.
The plans include the following:
- The Individual Membership Plan:
The individual membership plan is for just an account and allows for use on only one device at a time.
Also, you cannot download videos for offline viewing on this plan. This plan costs $15 monthly and amounts to $180 a year.
- The Duo Membership Plan:
The duo membership plan allows for use on two devices simultaneously, but only one account can be created.
It costs $20 monthly (which equals $240 per year), and classes are available for download and offline viewing.
- The Family Membership Plan:
This membership plan costs only $23 monthly and adds up to $276 annually. As far as value for money is concerned, this is the best plan as you save more.
It allows one account to be utilized on six devices at once, and you can download classes for offline viewing.
The good thing is that every plan can be used on a smartphone, tablet, TV, or computer.
- Starter Plan - $159 per year.
- Enterprise plan - Custom pricing.
- Revive plan - Custom pricing.
The Skillshare premium membership comes at $15 per month and $99 per annum.
Meanwhile, Skillshare for teams is in three different plans, and they are:
- Starter Plan:
The starter plan accommodates a team of 2 to 19 people and is charged annually at $159 per user.
This plan gives your team unlimited access to over 35000 classes, a personalized experience for each user, and easy-to-use admin capabilities. Plus, the lessons can be viewed on mobile or downloaded offline.
- Enterprise plan:
This plan caters to teams with over 20 members, and it comes with every offer on the starter plan, custom-curated class lists, and a dedicated customer success manager.
- Revive plan:
The revived plan is open to teams with 50+ employees. In addition to the privileges and offers enjoyed on Skillshare for groups, it comes with perks and benefits for registered employees.
Note that both the Enterprise and Revive plans of Skillshare for teams require Custom pricing. You have to contact the sales team to do this. We can say Skillshare is a better platform than MasterClass when it comes to cost since their services are offered at a lower price, but the fee sometimes translates to value for money.
Quality and Value for Money
The quality of the courses on Skillshare varies, and some might need improvement. This is because most of the systems are uploaded by independent instructors.
However, Skillshare’s courses that are produced in-house have high production qualities. These courses tend to have famous instructors.
One thing that sets Skillshare apart from other platforms is that the classes are split into precise and shorter chunks. So you can complete them at your own pace and take breaks in between.
Also, it makes it easier if you’re only looking to learn a particular skill aspect.
For instance, if you’re a photographer seeking to sharpen your skills in portraits, you can easily find a class for just that and learn it without taking a whole course on photography.
Another outstanding quality of Skillshare is the ability to annotate videos. This means you can make notes on the videos citing specific points or marking where you left off so you can pick up from there later. It makes it easier to navigate through the videos and find what you want.
Some courses on Skillshare offer projects to work on and upload while learning. The idea is to get feedback from your peers taking the same course as you.
The instructor might even comment if you’re lucky, but this is only on rare occasions.
Other courses offer downloadable study materials, which you can look over later.
Overall the interaction of students with the instructors and the online learning community is better on Skillshare than on MasterClass.
The quality of the videos on MasterClass is spectacular. This is one aspect that MasterClass beats Skillshare.
Every video lesson is carefully curated and made to be very appealing and engaging, to the extent that anyone could mistake one of the courses for being a glamorous movie.
After all, it features celebrities and famous faces like Alicia Keys, Steve Martin, and Saint Vincent.
MasterClass offers over 150 classes across 11 different categories. These classes are pre-recorded by instructors who are all experts in their fields.
Currently, over 100 instructors are on MasterClass, each for a different course. Some of the categories of classes that you can learn on MasterClass are:
- music and entertainment;
- film and TV;
- sports and games;
- culinary arts;
- business, politics, and society;
- science and technology;
- design, photography, and fashion;
Most of the classes range between 2 hours to 5 hours, with individual lessons that take 2-5 minutes but it is possible to find a course that lasts as long as 20 hours.
The classes consist of a pre-recorded video lesson by the instructor, a class workbook, interactive assignments, and sometimes community activities. Students may get the chance to submit work to instructors for feedback, but this is rare.
Aside from the classes, Masterclass offers interactive sessions. These sessions are newly introduced and it is conducive.
In a session, you learn alongside professionals by working on a series of activities and projects based on a structured curriculum in 30 days.
During these 30 days, you’ll be allowed to participate actively in the session with a community of your peers and get feedback from the trained teaching assistants. What’s more, the session is not limited to any skill level.
Although the session is structured for 30 days, the content is pre-recorded, so you can still maintain access to all the session materials.
MasterClass and Skillshare have a lot to offer, and you get excellent quality and value in exchange for the money paid. However, MasterClass offers better-quality videos, more engaging classes, and additional learning resources. Skillshare offers various styles, video annotations, and interaction between students, peers, and teachers.
One downside to MasterClass is that there needs to be more interaction between the students and instructors. This is primarily due to the caliber of instructors on the platforms.
It is unrealistic to think that an A-list celebrity like Alicia Keys will have the time to give feedback on the work or assignments of students.
Also, you cannot communicate with other students taking the same course or lesson as you. MasterClass does not offer live classes, but they have begun to improve in this aspect.
They plan on organizing live shows from time to time, like the recent live broadcast talk with Simon Biles, an Olympic Gymnast.
MasterClass offers neither a free trial nor free classes. So you cannot test-run the platform to see if it suits you or have a chance to see if a course is what you’re looking for.
They, however, offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on every membership plan, and if you’re not satisfied, you can cancel and request a refund.
You cannot learn a technical or professional skill on MasterClass. To acquire a practical skill, you should go for Skillshare.
Avid learners can only enjoy the payment plan of MasterClass. It is not ideal if you seek to learn more than one topic, as you will not get value for your money.
Imagine paying $180 only to watch one video, that would give you only a portion of the value for your money.
Lastly, MasterClass does not offer a certificate for any course learned on the platform, so apart from the additional resources, there needs to be proof that you know a course on the forum.
Like MasterClass, Skillshare offers no certificate, and though you can acquire a new life skill here, you only have the knowledge you gained and the projects you worked on to show for it.
Skillshare doesn’t have the caliber of instructors that MasterClass has. This is because, unlike MasterClass, anyone can teach on Skillshare, which means that there are likely to be courses that could be of a better standard.
Your experience on Skillshare, especially if you’re learning a free course, gets interrupted by annoying ads.
There is no fixed standard for the quality of videos uploaded on Skillshare, which means that some of the videos could be of better quality.
However, several reviews from students have shown that a good number of the videos possess high quality.
There are no one-on-one classes on Skillshare because the platform focuses on creating a shared learning experience. This is not good for students who prefer to learn solo.
An Overall Comparison of Skillshare and MasterClass
|Price per month||$15- $23||$15|
|Price per year||$180-$276||$99 per annum|
|Guarantee||30-day satisfaction guarantee.||No guarantees.|
|Trials||There are neither free classes nor trials.||Free courses and a free trial of premium membership.|
|Instructors||Renowned experts, A-list celebrities.||Professionals.|
|Learning resources||There are additional resources.||They offer few other resources.|
|Content||Limited amount of courses.||A large variety of methods.|
|Quality of videos||Impressive video quality.||Video quality varies from course to course.|
MasterClass vs Skillshare For Teachers
Having reviewed and compared MasterClass and Skillshare for students and what they stand to gain from both platforms, it is only fair that we look at the media from the teacher’s perspective too.
Are the platforms worth it for teachers? What is it like working as a teacher on each platform? Which is better for teachers, Skillshare or MasterClass? Read on to find out!
Reports show that instructors at MasterClass get a one-time cut of at least $100,000 per course. They are also entitled to 30% of the revenue generated. CEO David Rogier further clarified that contracts vary by individual and every instructor is paid differently based on several factors.
Mike Berliner – An employee at MasterClass testifies that MasterClass maintains a high standard for their employees. He also says that MasterClass is one of the best places to work, employees are paid well, and a comfortable working environment is provided.
It is a sure fact that you would have fun teaching at MasterClass. But remember, instructors on MasterClass are primarily celebrities and big names in the industry. Only some people can teach at MasterClass!
Unlike MasterClass, Skillshare accepts a wide range of teachers. As long as you’re talented and skilled in what you do, you can be taken to be an instructor on Skillshare.
Also, if your class adheres to the Skillshare class guidelines, it can be published on Skillshare at no cost whatsoever. All you need to do is make a video of your class and upload it on the platform using the Skillshare easy class upload tool.
Top-earning teachers at Skillshare make over $100000 a year. You’ll receive royalties monthly for every student that watches your class.
Another way of earning money on Skillshare is through a referral bonus anytime you refer a student to Skillshare. And the good thing is you don’t need to promote your classes.
Since Skillshare has a membership plan, your class will have a large audience from the start. Teachers on Skillshare can get resources from the platform to aid their teaching. This goes a long way to make your job easier. You also get the opportunity to grow your brand on Skillshare.
One of the teachers, Tabitha Park, says, “Teaching on Skillshare gives me the financial flexibility to take on only the work I’m most passionate about.”
From the reviews, It is easy to see that teaching at Skillshare is worth it.
However, if you’re of a science background, Skillshare is not exactly a good option, especially if you’re a beginner. This is because these classes are less popular on Skillshare. They appear at the bottom of curated lists; hence they are less likely to be watched.
Also, you need to find out if you’re being paid the royalty you deserve or getting cheated.
The better online platform depends entirely on you. As we have shown, MasterClass and Skillshare are great online learning platforms catering to different niches.
As a student, choose MasterClass if you would love to learn from celebrities you’ve always admired. On the other hand, select Skillshare if you seek to pick up a life skill. Meanwhile, for teachers, you have little choice; you can only go for MasterClass if you’re a celebrity. Otherwise, choose Skillshare.