As a freelance graphic design, I’m always looking for online resources and courses to keep my skills up to date. Years ago, I came across Skillshare, which was founded in New York back in 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong. It’s an online learning platform that focuses on creative categoires offering dozens of categories and subcategories
To guarantee that this Skillshare review is informative and beneficial, I’ve invested time in extensive research on Skillshare’s classes, instructors, pricing model, refund policy, and have analyzed feedback from its users. Furthermore, my Master’s degree in Teaching and Education, combined with years of experience utilizing online learning platforms, has equipped me to create this comprehensive assessment.
Catherine CookeUpskillwise Advisor
If you have time to read on, I explain all about my experience in this comprehensive and honest Skillshare review, without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
Skillshare is an online learning platform, providing more than 34K+ classes covering a wide selection of creative fields such as animation, illustration, music, photography and much more. It offers both a monthly and annual subscription plan, the monthly plan costing $29 USD and the yearly plan costs $99 USD (equivalent to $8.25 per month). A free trial is available upon initial sign-up to Skillshare, enabling you to explore the platform before committing financially, and you won’t be charged if you decide to cancel within the first 14 days. Skillshare is an ideal platform for creatives, entrepreneurs or those eager to acquire new skills and broaden their knowledge in creative sectors. Its community encourages user interaction, collaboration and support, whether it’s providing feedback or sharing their final work with their peers.
Besides the individual annual plan, Skillshare also offers ‘Skillshare Teams’, a plan priced at $159 per user per year, tailored for teams and businesses. The plan is adaptable to suit teams or businesses of any stage, structure or size. Scholarships and Financial aid are available for qualifying learners. Its free trial is a great place to start, be mindful that you’ll need to add your card details to get access to Skillshare’s free trial.
Skillshare Pros & Cons
Even though you have to commit to Skillshare’s plan for a year, when you work it out monthly at ($13.99) its affordable compared to other online learning platforms.
Skillshare offers a free trial on its Premium membership, so you can enjoy the full learning experience before financially committing.
Skillshare has a highly engaged community, this can make its classes interactive and fun.
Big pool of classes
Skillshare offers thousands of classes, on topics that include illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing and much more. I think it will be hard for you to get bored with the selection.
Skillshare’s courses focus on developing practical skills using hands-on projects, which is a really engaging way to learn.
If you are looking to deepen your skillset with a set of curated classes for beginners to advanced learners.
Skillshare has 11K teachers and some of its classes are taught by industry leaders Youtuber Marques Brownlee and Photographer Amelie Satzger.
There isn’t any type of official (or non official) certification awarded when you finish a course. It’s a platform for personal growth.
Since anyone can create their own course at Skillshare the available courses’ quality can vary from course to course.
Only Available In English
Although Skillshare welcomes courses in any language, in reality, there isn’t much on offer in languages other than English.
The Skillshare Premium Membership only allows you to pay for its subscription annually.
How To Open A Skillshare Account?
Opening a Skillshare account is straightforward to open, you only need to follow these steps:
- Visit Skillshare.com and click on ‘Sign in’ (top right corner) or ‘Sign Up With Email’
- Or if you prefer you can Continue with your: Facebook, Google or Apple account
- You will then be directed to add your payment details
- Once completed just select Start your free month
What Classes can I find on Skillshare?
When you click on Browse in the top-left corner you will see that Skillshare has divided its creative classes into 3 main categories Create, Build and Thrive (see image below).
- Create: Animation, Creative Writing, Film & Video, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Music, Photography, UI/UX Design and Web Development.
- Build: Business Analytics, Freelance & Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Management and Marketing.
- Thrive: Lifestyle and Productivity
Skillshare offers thousands of free classes in all the areas listed above, so it is an ideal way for you to try out its courses. Plus the free trial on the Skillshare Premium plan gives you full access to its library of classes and courses.
7 tips To Find The Perfect Class
Like most of the other elearning platforms, Skillshare has a review system that you can check to find out what previous students think about a certain course. But these aren’t the only ways you can find the right course for you, let me highlight some tips on how you can find the right class for you.
Filter out the classes
If you buy on sites like Amazon or eBay you are probably used to the filters to narrow your searches down. Skillshare’s interface comes with filters you can use to find the right course for you.
Once you’ve selected a category (topic) you can then filter the classes out by free vs premium and select the desired course duration (in minutes). There is also the possibility to order the classes by popularity or trend.
About this class
In the course landing page, you can find the ‘About this class’, a section that will detail who the course is aimed at, what you will learn, the level of the class (from beginner to advanced) and the skills that you’ll be able to acquire after completion.
There is also a short blurb about the instructor, normally it details their experience, passion and why they teach this subject.
A good place to start is checking that the skills taught in the course are what you are looking to learn and that the level of the course matches your experience.
Since Skillshare classes are project-based, you can have a sneak peek of the projects that the instructor will use to support her or his teaching throughout the lessons.
As you can see in the image above, the course resources can be accessed even before starting the course. I’d recommend doing so as they will give you a pretty clear idea of what you’ll be practising and learning.
Read reviews at Skillshare
Another great tip to find the course of your dreams is to be checking what past students have to say about it.
Its review system offers a breakdown of what students thought of the course, you can then click on one of the grades and read the reviews for it (e.g. only ‘Exceeded!’ rating reviews).
You can also go ahead and read some of the reviews from other users, but be aware that Skillshare sorts them by default from best to worse. you can always sort them by ‘Most Recent’ to read a more balanced pool of users’ feedback.
I also checked the ‘Most Liked’ section too, this section provides information about the different aspects that students valued the most. For example, helpful examples, the instructor was clear or how organized the classes are.
Find out more about the instructor
At Skillshare.com, every teacher has a page where they explain who they are, their professional experience and what their teaching goals are. Going through this page can be useful to get a vibe of each teacher and see if you like their approach to education.
However you are not limited to the information that you can read on their instructor landing page, as you can see in the image above, they normally have references to either their website or their social media accounts. Check them out to gather more information on your potential teacher – but please don’t be a creepy stalker 🙂
The 7-day free trial gives you the opportunity to try out the Skillshare platform and all its courses for a week.
Remember, you can always cancel before the first 7-day if you want to avoid continuing with the Skillshare premium plan, and you won’t be charged anything.
Skillshare mobile app
You can access Skillshare from your tablet or phone thanks to the Skillshare app. With the premium membership, you can learn on the go even when you are offline. All you need to do is download the classes beforehand, and then you can learn from anywhere. As you progress in different classes, this will all be synced with all your devices, be it your computer, tablet or phone.
So if you have a busy schedule, or a long commute, then learning with the Skillshare app maybe the answer for you. The Skillshare app is available for IOS (4.8 rating) and Android (4.5 rating).
Will Skillshare Help Me With My Career?
Whereas Skillshare won’t get you a formal promotion as it doesn’t have accredited certificates, it’s very possible that it helps improve your professional skills so you can work confidently.
I would say that Skillshare is ideal if you are a freelancer (or part of a creative team) and you don’t care too much about earning certificates and developing your CV. Skillshare is more about teaching you the knowledge you can apply to your work.
There is also an engaged community of students at Skillshare, this can be a great way to get in touch with other professionals from your field.
After this in-depth Skillshare review, I hope you have a clearer understanding of how this popular creative online learning platform works and whether it is right for you. Let me summarize why it’s worth it;
Its premium plan is affordable and gives you access to 34,000+ classes which are geared towards creative professionals, entrepreneurs and learners. The course community is normally engaged, so interacting with other students can be a fun way to learn. The 1-month free trial gives you the opportunity to test the waters out before financially committing.
If you are part of a creative team or business, one of its three team plans may be suitable. The starter plan is the cheapest option, and then you have the Enterprise or Revive, which are both custom plans.
As mentioned earlier, if you are looking for any kind of official recognition of your learnings (e.g. a certificate), you’ll have to look elsewhere (e.g. Coursera or edX). Even if they have a lot of online courses available, they are normally focused on design, marketing and entrepreneurship – you may not be able to find the course you need.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.