Because you are interested in beginning your creative journey and learning new artistic skills, you are looking for the best online learning platform. And there is one that seems to be the right choice, but first, you need an in-depth Skillshare review.
Sure, Skillshare classes sound excellent. A quick glance at their home page and you can find thousands of courses about graphic design, photography, creative writing, and many more topics, but how good is its learning experience?
At the end of the day, the questions that really matter are: can you learn something here? Is Skillshare worth it?
Well, you are about to find out!
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional adult student’s most trusted resource. We understand that besides college, online educational platforms can be a great alternative to acquiring professional skills to add to your resume or discovering new topics that bring something different to your life.
That’s why today we’ll be sharing our Skillshare review. We’ll explain what they are, how their premium plan works, what online courses you can find, and answer all the important questions you need to know before joining their community of students.
But first, let’s cover the basics.
What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is an online learning community with a wide variety of classes mostly related to creative fields. It was founded in 2011 to provide universal access to high-quality courses that empower its students to progress in their careers and improve their personal lives.
Here, people are encouraged to engage with each other through the class’ hands-on projects, where they can share how they applied the concepts of the lessons and give feedback to older posts.
Who is Skillshare For?
Skillshare built this creative community where people can gain new practical skills and expand their creativity. Its online classes are an excellent choice, whether you are a beginner who wants to discover new passions or an advanced user looking to expand your professional skills.
Something that makes them different and more accessible for everybody is that they have their own mobile app!
The Skillshare App is available for Android and iOS. It lets you access all of their high-quality classes directly from your phone. One feature is that you can stream the courses to your nearest device!
But by far, the best app feature is offline viewing. You can download lessons and watch classes without an internet connection. This way, you can learn new things during your off time. Stuck in traffic or waiting for the bus to arrive? No problem; use the Skillshare app and learn while you wait!
Skillshare is a great option, so we included them in our best online learning platforms list. If you want to see which other alternatives you can find to take online courses, be sure to check out our video!
In Skillshare, you’ll find thousands of courses that cover a wide range of interesting fields of study.
This is their online courses catalog:
Now, there is something critical that needs to be said about Skillshare classes. They DON’T offer a certificate of completion once you finish the course.
We’ll explain more in-depth how its lessons work and how you learn from them in a bit, but it’s important you understand that Skillshare courses don’t have a documented certificate that proves your mastery of the skill.
Instead, you can do that by completing the class project!
For example, let’s say you take an HTML course where you learn how to create your own website. While you don’t get a diploma that validates your presence in the class, you’ll have finished a webpage you built from scratch to add to your portfolio.
Whether this is something good or bad depends entirely on what you are looking for. If you are looking for an online course that gives you a certificate you can show to your employers, then Skillshare definitely is not what you need.
But if you want to acquire creative or practical skills that you can still apply in your professional life without needing certification, then keep reading because Skillshare will be great for you!
Is Skillshare Legit?
Well, it depends on the course you want to take.
It’s also important to clarify that Skillshare doesn’t give out certificates because it’s not an accredited educational platform.
Like other websites, the legitimacy of the course depends on the instructor in charge. However, other platforms, such as Coursera or Udemy, offer a certification of completion that validates your knowledge.
So, whether your class will be legit and include high content quality depends on its teacher. By looking at the most popular courses, it’s clear they all have experienced professionals behind them.
But since Skillshare is an open platform where anyone can go through the process of teaching a class, there may be some courses that will fail to pass the quality control that most classes meet.
You can tell if an instructor is legit by reading each teacher’s detailed profile.
How Much Does Skillshare Cost?
And before we jump into our personal experience, let’s see how much a Skillshare subscription costs.
You can cancel your premium subscription at any time you want. They also offer refunds for annual subscriptions, but only if you contact them within 14 days after you purchase the premium membership.
Skillshare works as a subscription service.
This means that you can’t buy classes individually. Even if you are only interested in one specific course, you must acquire a premium membership.
But if this is your case, or you want to see what their courses offer, you can always use their 1-month free trial.
Scholarships And Discounts
The good news is that they currently have two financial aid options.
One gives you a 50% discount on annual memberships to college students with a valid student address.
The other is awarded to 10 recipients once per month and fully covers an annual subscription to anyone who can’t afford their premium membership.
To apply, you just have to complete a short form and explain why you think you deserve the scholarship.
Plus, because Skillshare wants to be part of a creative community, they sponsor tons of different YouTube channels and creators and have multiple promo codes you can get from them to earn free subscription months and discounts.
Is Skillshare Premium Worth it?
We think that Skillshare premium is a good option if:
Its premium plans are relatively inexpensive, considering the wide variety of courses you can access. Still, they fall behind when compared to other learning platforms. Yes, these can have higher prices, but at least they offer a certificate that validates you.
If this is the learning experience you were looking for, we highly recommend checking out our Coursera Review.
With that said, we are ready to share how our time was using Skillshare
Our Personal Experience Using Skillshare
To create an account, we had to acquire a Skillshare premium membership.
Not so long ago (before July 2021,) anyone could create an account just with an email and then access a small catalog of free courses. But nowadays, Skillshare has taken down these free options and only allows subscribers to navigate through their courses.
This limits what you can do when you are on the fence about subscribing. It’s a letdown that you have to add your credit card information or link your Paypal account even if you are taking the 1-month free trial.
Once we had our account, we were ready to begin using Skillshare.
The moment you log in, Skillshare asks you to list the topics you are interested in so it can give you a personalized experience by showing a range of courses related to them.
Navigating through its website and finding different classes feels super easy and intuitive. In this process, we found what we think is one of Skillshare’s greatest advantages: it constantly encourages you to be curious and take different classes.
Skillshare is basically the Netflix of learning platforms.
Similar to spending hours trying to choose what movie you’ll be watching next, you frequently come across interesting and different classes that could be of interest to you. Even if you don’t want to take one right now, you can save it and go back to it later.
While finding thousands of courses can first feel overwhelming, most classes only require little time to complete, lasting between 1 to 5 hours on average. So, after you realize how fast you finished a course, you feel more encouraged to start a new one!
And it doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a course and want to drop it. If a lesson was not what you expected, you can leave it and start watching another!
How Skillshare Courses Work
Now that we know how easy it is to navigate through Skillshare let’s look at how its high-quality classes work.
To choose an individual course, you can either pick one from the main home or browser.
But if you want to master a skill, you can start with the Learning Paths.
These are sequential classes about the same topic offered by different instructors that cover another aspect of that shared subject. Skillshare compiled these courses and ordered them in an educational track so that its community of students can follow and understand that skill better.
In our case, we based our review on multiple courses, which included:
We included some of these (and many more) in our list of best Skillshare courses. So read that blog post if you need help knowing where to begin your learning experience!
Regarding the user experience, Skillshare courses are as easy-to-follow and as complete as an online class can be. It has:
Below the class video, you can find all the important information:
And what are these hands-on projects?
If you ask us, one of Skillshare’s biggest issues.
The Main Problem With Skillshare
Besides having valuable and exclusive content structured dynamically, classes include a final project that you can complete to practice your understanding of the topic and mark your progress.
Obviously, what you have to do depends entirely on the class.
However, these projects create two problems.
Problem 1: The instructor may not check your work
One of the reasons why Skillshare classes don’t include a certificate is that no one tracks your progress or grades your projects.
To upload these assignments, you’ll have to paste your work or share a link with what you did. But it’s highly likely that the professor in charge of the class won’t review it nor give you feedback on it.
From all the different popular courses we based our research on, we found that only a few had updated replies from the instructor.
And how does Skillshare try to solve this lack of feedback? With its hardly active community of students.
Problem 2: Skillshare is far from having their ideal vibrant community
Skillshare wants an engaged community where its members interact with each other and provide the necessary feedback and replies that most teachers don’t give.
To achieve this, Skillshare lets you create a profile where community users can find a picture, a short bio about you, links to your social media, and see the latest classes you took. Plus, they have an achievements section that displays all the badges you earn by reaching specific milestones.
And besides the projects, each course has a discussion forum where everybody can post their ideas and doubts to interact with a vibrant community.
Having all these features is a great idea that clearly shows how Skillshare is trying to make its users feel part of an engaged and active community that cares for each other’s progress.
But unfortunately, this is not the case.
It depends on the course we analyzed, but most classes have forums with little discussion and only a few class projects uploaded.
Take these two courses as examples. One had over 40,000 students and a relatively active discussion forum, but only 182 shared projects.
The other, which has a significantly shorter number of students, only received three assignments.
If we take a look at its projects, we see that they have little to no interaction, with only a few of them actually receiving comments from other community users.
We get it; sharing your work is unnecessary since you don’t get a certificate.
While completing the assignment is highly recommended to put the concepts into practice, you have to be the one that reviews it and ensures that it’s good!
And yes, you can post it and wait for someone to give you feedback, but:
Nothing and no one guarantees that you have a clear understanding of the topic, and you’ll just have to try on your own judgment.
But again, this is not the case for all courses.
Some of them, like the HTML + CSS Basics, have an engaged community that frequently answers each other’s doubts and leaves comments on their projects.
And other classes even had their instructor replying to every question in the forum and leaving detailed feedback on the assignments!
So, is Skillshare worth it?
In our opinion, it is, but only if you can bear its learning experience and have the true desire to expand your repertoire of skills.
With a Skillshare subscription, you can access hundreds of classes that cover a wide range of topics. Classes offer the best content quality, with multiple features that make the learning experience easy to follow and enjoy.
Skillshare promotes curiosity. It is so easy to use that you’ll constantly feel encouraged to check what courses you can find and save them in a personalized list to take later.
A key aspect of their whole experience relies on building an engaged community. Since teachers don’t need to revise class projects to ensure the assignment is okay, most instructors don’t keep track of what the community submits.
The main problem here is that Skillshare relies too much on its community users to step up and help each other, providing feedback that instructors need to give.
This is an excellent idea, and when it works, it makes the course worth taking.
But when it doesn’t, which is sadly in most cases, it makes their learning experience lose value.
If you wanted to learn something new and have no one to keep track of your progress or share constructive feedback, you would just go to YouTube and search for a quick tutorial.
Skillshare is a great learning platform, but its experience may not be for everyone.
Skillshare Pros and Cons
Learn a New Skill With Skillshare
That was our Skillshare review!
If you want to learn a ton of new creative skills with high-quality online classes and have the willpower to complete the class projects even if there is a chance no one will give you feedback on them, then you are one of Skillshare’s ideal users.
And if you are still trying to decide whether to invest in a Skillshare premium subscription, remember you have the 1-month free trial to access all of its courses and test them in advance.
But if you want to have someone review your progress or are willing to pay for only one specific class, then you should check other alternatives like Coursera and Udemy.
In case you are looking for other ways to expand your knowledge and gain new skills, check out these related blog posts: