In this article I’ll do a thorough Skillshare review so you can see if they are a good fit for you and your learning style.
With over 8 million students and 25,000 courses taught by 8,000+ teachers on topics that range from coding to marketing to cooking, Skillshare is one of the leading players in the world of online learning.
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure).
What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is an online platform for knowledge sharing that allows users anywhere access to educational courses from their phones, tablets, PCs or Macs using a subscription model.
Each course is designed to take between 20-60 minutes to consume, split into 2 to 5-minute short videos that are easy to absorb.
Not only that, but you also get to create your own project based on what you learned and then share it with your class so you can get feedback from teachers and fellow students.
The best part is that instead of paying for individual courses, Skillshare gives you access to their entire course catalog for a reasonable monthly or yearly fee. In a way, Skillshare is the equivalent of Netflix for online learning.
And like Netflix, you can choose to follow your favorite experts as they add new courses on a regular basis, or simply search their catalog a-la-carte for courses that match your specific needs.
Here are some of their most popular courses:
- Logotype Masterclass by Jessica Hische
- Still Life Photography: Capturing Stories of Everyday Objects at Home by Sean Dalton
- Remixing Dance Music: Digital Production Basics by King Arthur DJ
- Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style by Susan Orlean
- Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner's Guide to Painting the Natural World by Rosalie Haizlett
- Animating With Ease in After Effects by Jake Bartlett
- Everyday Flowers: Simple, Stunning Arrangements for Any Occasion by Spencer Falls
With over 25,000 courses, there’s virtually something for everybody.
Why Should I Join Skillshare?
There are three main reasons why you should consider joining Skillshare:
- First of all, it’s project based. Not only do you get to learn a new skill, but you also get to put it to practice in a supervised environment while getting feedback from teachers and peers
- Skillshare has one of the largest course catalogs for developing practical skills that could be turned into a source of income
- Offers you the ability to either learn at your own pace and time or, for those of us who need to learn in a more structured way, it offers scheduled multi-day workshops where you get to attend in a virtual classroom in real time with other students.
How Does it Work?
To access Skillshare you need to create at a minimum a free account, however the basic free level gives you access to a very small number of courses.
So, this free level is really only good to kick the proverbial tires and see if your learning experience jives with their teaching style.
After browsing their full catalog you’ll quickly realize that there's a very limited choice of free courses and you’ll want to sign up for the full access account instead: the Premium level.
Once you have access to Skillshare's full catalog, all you have to do is search for a topic that interests you and then filter the results down by class length (less than 15 mins, 15-30 mins, 30-60 mins or more than 60 mins).
You can also sort results by popular courses or trending courses.
One of the best indicators of quality is the number of students that have taken the class before (this is not a 100% guarantee but it works in most cases).
Each course also has a section where you can read reviews by other students.
And when you complete a course, you get to post your class project so other students as well as the teacher can give you valuable feedback via a comments section.
How Do I Get Started?
Skillshare’s sign-up process is quite straightforward. Below you’ll find the step by step process to get you going and learning new skills quickly!
Here's how to start:
1) Sign up
Click this link to sign up for a free 14-day trial to the Premium membership.
Next, sign up with using a Google, Facebook of Apple account if you have one. Alternatively, you can enter your name, email address, a new password and click the green Sign Up button at the bottom of the screen.
You'll then be presented with a screen where you'll have to enter your credit card details to begin your free trial.
You card won't be charged for the first two weeks, giving you plenty of time to evaluate the online learning platform and sign up for any Premium Skillshare course free of charge.
If you're not satisfied, you can cancel your Premium membership at any time during the free trial period.
2) Complete your account settings
Once you're logged in and before you browse the main categories, take the time to check your privacy settings.
Do to so, click your account avatar icon (top right-hand side of your screen) and select Account Settings from the pull-down menu. Remember to save your changes.
3) Browse what courses are offered
Alright, if you're ready to learn new skills it's time to check out the wide variety of courses Skillshare offers under each category (over 25,000 in total!)
To do so, click the Browse link and a new window will pop up showing the different top categories of online courses divided into the three super-categories: Create, Build and Thrive.
This window will give you unlimited access to all self-paced courses so you can learn brand new skills with the push of a button — a true Netflix of online learning, with dozens of new courses added every day by thousands of Skillshare teachers.
4) Choose a category
Now it's time to click a category on the popup screen to be able to see all the courses in it. Here you can scroll down to see a sampling of top rated Skillshare offers grouped as Featured, Popular and Trending Courses.
If you want to see all courses under each group, click on the View All button and you'll be able to thin out your list by clicking the Filters button.
This will reveal two filters: Class Type (Premium or Free courses) and Class Length (from under 15 to over 60 minutes).
5) Choose your course
Next, select the course of your choice by clicking one of the available panels and start your learning experience by clicking on the play icon in the middle of the video screen.
6) Choose a workshop
Alternatively, if your preferred way to learn involves more structure than a self-paced approach, you can click the Workshop link to view scheduled workshops that involve multiple classes with different teachers on set dates.
What Course Categories Does Skillshare Offer?
Skillshare offers over 25,000 courses in a variety of topics, ranging from entrepreneurship to calligraphy. The courses are divided into three super categories: Create, Build and Thrive.
- Create deals with all things creative, from writing to drawing to film making & photography to web design and development.
- Build deals with areas like career development, project management, goal setting, and decision making.
- Thrive offers educational content in areas like with cooking, interior design, self-care and organization.
Each super category houses a number of main categories and each in turn contains hundreds of courses.
Here’s the breakdown from the top:
- Creative Writing
- Film & Video
- Fine Art
- Graphic Design
- UI/UX Design
- Web Development
- Business Analytics
- Freelance & Entrepreneurship
- Leadership & Management
What Is the Difference Between Skillshare and Skillshare Premium?
Skillshare operates in two modes: a free membership and a paid Premium membership with a free trial.
Unpaid Skillshare members get access to free classes, but only a brief 1-2 minute introduction for Premium-level classes while the rest of the content remains locked down.
Now, the number of free classes on offer is quite limited and it excludes content from popular teachers, but it's sufficient to get an idea about the platform and also to see if Skillshare meets your expectations for quality.
Skillshare Premium, on the other hand, gives you unlimited access to the entire catalog, free and paid, and also allows you to download classes to view offline if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi or mobile coverage.
How Much Does it Cost to Create a Premium Skillshare Account?
Skillshare pricing is very straight forward. You have the option to either pay monthly for your Skillshare membership ($15/mth) or pay for an annual subscription ($99/yr or $8.25 per month equivalent).
To help you decide, they offer a 14-day free trial with full access to the entire catalog so you can test it out fully before committing.
You may cancel at any time and if you do you’ll still get access to your premium content until your paid period expires.
What Are the Benefits of Joining Skillshare as an Instructor?
The main benefit for teachers is exposure to Skillshare’s audience of over 8 million students. A secondary benefit is income, since you get paid for your content (based on meeting certain rules.)
In essence, Skillshare pays their teachers royalties based on how much of their content is viewed by students.
Skillshare allocates 30% of all revenue from Premium accounts to a royalty pool, and then disburses those funds to all teachers on the basis of share of viewership.
So for example, if on a given month a teacher’s courses receive 3% of all minutes watched by Premium account holders, then 3% of the pool will be paid to that teacher (subject to a minimum of 30 minutes a month.)
How Much Can You Earn as a Teacher on Skillshare?
The average first-time teacher earns $200 a month, so we're not talking fire-your-boss type income here.
However the most watched teachers are known for bringing in several thousand dollars a month in payments and some even make over $100,000 a year.
In addition, if a teacher brings in new students to the platform through their own promotional efforts, they’ll get paid a commission of $10 for every student who signs up to a Premium account.
Also, if a teacher refers a new teacher to the platform, they’ll receive a $50 bonus when the new teacher publishes their first class.
Wrapping Things Up
Skillshare is a great online learning platform for students because:
- You can learn anything, anytime
- Get lifetime access to over 25,000 different courses
- Learn from experts and professionals in their field on virtually any topic you are interested in
- Allows you to make connections with other students and get valuable feedback
- You'll be able to find niche courses that are super specific and tailored just for your needs
For teachers, Skillshare can provide great exposure through their worldwide student body of over 8 million accounts, and over time it can become a significant source of income via royalties and referral payments.
In summary, here are Skillshare’s pros and cons:
- Skillshare is a membership-based learning community: it's like Netflix, but for education
- There are courses on everything from knitting to business management
- Anyone can sign up for a monthly or annual membership with no prerequisites and start taking classes immediately
- Unlimited access to over 25,000 classes taught by over 8,000 experts
- Over time, it’s possible for teachers to earn a significant amount of income from royalties
- The free version of Skillshare is very limited
- You can't download courses for offline viewing unless you pay for the Premium membership
- Teachers that don’t receive at least 30 minutes of watch time on a given month don’t get to participate in the royalty pool that month.
If you want to try Skillshare, click this link and let me know what you think in the comments below.