Skillshare vs MasterClass: Which One Is Coming Out on Top?

Catherine Cooke

26 November, 2021

Skillshare Vs MasterClass Comparison

I decided I wanted to learn a new skill and choosing between two of the most popular Online learning platforms out there, Skillshare and MasterClass wasn’t easy. I didn’t really know what their differences were and which one would offer me the right online course.

I had a lot of unanswered questions like; What are their prices? Does either offer a free trial?, Is there a refund policy?, Who is my instructor?

To answer all these questions and more, I’ve created an in-depth Skillshare vs MasterClass comparison.

Let’s dive right in!

 

Skillshare vs MasterClass Summary

Skillshare premium works on a subscription basis that is either billed annually at $180 (working out at $15 a month) or monthly at $32. The annual fee will need to be paid upfront. As well as individual memberships, Skillshare offers 3 different plans for teams, the Starter package is $159 per user, per year.

Similarly, Masterclass offers subscription plans on its annual memberships which will need to be paid upfront. You can choose between the Standard, Plus and the Premium. The Standard costs $180 (working out at $15 a month) the Plus $240 (working out at $20 a month) and finally the Premium $276 (working out at $23 a month). MasterClass offers annual memberships for teams and business, and the price will vary depending on the size of your team. To conclude, Skillshare focuses on creative topics and MasterClass has 100+ VIP instructors teaching its classes.

Let’s dive in, so by the end of this comparison, you’ll know whether Skillshare or MasterClass is the right platform for you.

Round 0: Which One Is More Popular?

As you see below in this Google Trends screenshot, when it comes to popularity, there’s one clear winner: MasterClass.

Skillshare and MasterClass popularity on Google Trends

Skillshare and MasterClass popularity on Google Trends

MasterClass is a stand-out online learning platform, due to the fact it has famous faces like Yotam Ottolenghi and Alicia Keys teaching its classes. It was founded in San Francisco in 2014 and currently has 100+ classes across 11 categories. Its classes are highly engaging and really well produced that leave you with a cinematic aura.

The Skillshare platform is a popular online learning platform for creatives and entrepreneurs. It is currently offering 35,000+ classes on topics like illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing and more. Its big pool of classes provide learners with an endless list of classes to enjoy – you definitely won’t get bored.

Even though google trends does give us an indication on which is the most popular online learning platform. It doesn’t answer which one is better for you the learner: Skillshare or MasterClass?

Round 1: Ease-of-Use & Interface

If you are anything like me, then having an online platform that is easy to move around and has an intuitive layout makes the whole learning experience much more enjoyable. So let’s find out which platform has the easiest system?

Registration

The registration process for Skillshare is really simple. You can create your account by simply adding an email account and a password. On top of that, you are also allowed to create an account using your Google, Apple or Facebook account. Once you are signed up you’ll need to add your credit/debit card, Sepa or Paypal account, this will activate the start of your free Skillshare Premium trial. You won’t be charged anything until the free trial ends.

Skillshare Membership Plans

Skillshare Membership Plans

MasterClass has a similar registration process. To create your account, you will simply add your email address and click on ‘Get Started’. You will then be asked to choose your annual membership: Standard, Plus or Premium (see image below). Once you have selected your preferred annual membership, you will be taken through to add your card details. Finally, you will click on PLACE SECURE ORDER and your membership will begin immediately.

MasterClass Annual Membership Plans

MasterClass Annual Membership Plans

Backend & Design

Once you are registered with Skillshare, you can begin enjoying its free trial and the 35,000 classes it has to offer. Once you have chosen a category, you can begin browsing its classes. It offers a couple of helpful filters where you can pick the class length and sort the classes by most Popular and recently added (see image below).

Skillshare filters

Skillshare filters

Skillshare and MasterClass have a very similar and intuitive interface for its video lessons. The layout of the video lessons from MasterClass are intuitively listed down the right side on the screen, making it easy to find what you want to watch.

MasterClass Video Lessons

MasterClass Video Lessons

To the right of that you can find My Notes, which helps to remind you of what you have learnt during the class and is like a modern-day notebook.

MasterClass adding notes to the lessons

MasterClass adding notes to the lessons

Overall, both Skillshare and MasterClass have a really intuitive and user-friendly platform, not only making it easy to find what you are looking for but also an enjoyable learning experience.

The Skillshare and MasterClass app is available with all paid subscriptions, so you can learn on the go and at a time that suits you.

Winner: This is a tough one, as both Skillshare and MasterClass offer a really user-friendly and intuitive design.

So I will have to kick things of with giving a point each 1-1

Round 2: Skillshare Vs MasterClass Classes

When deciding on the right platform, it’s important that you ask yourself some important questions like: What class topics am I looking for? Is it important who the instructor of the class is? Can I read class reviews?

Class Information

With a platform like Skillshare that is offering such a wide variety of creative classes (35,000+) it’s hard to know where to begin. Skillshare does try to help you by giving you suggestions of classes from Featured Classes, Popular Classes and Trending Classes to give you an idea of what other learners are enjoying.

Skillshare Featured and Popular Classes

Skillshare Featured and Popular Classes

My suggestion is to choose a Skillshare class that peaks your interest and read the Reviews from past learners, as this will give you a real insight into their experience and of what to expect from it (see image below). You can also read in the About tab a detailed teacher profile, so you have an insight into the instructor of the class and links to other classes he/she teaches.

Skillshare Reviews

Skillshare Reviews

MasterClass offers a smaller number of categories (11 in total) but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s lacking in good quality content. You can begin by selecting the categories which most interest you, and then MasterClass will show all the classes within this category.

MasterClass Categories

MasterClass Categories

Sadly, MasterClass doesn’t have any specific reviews for each class from past learners, which feels a shame and something that is lacking on the platform in general. I know as a user myself, I value reading reviews and opinions (even if some aren’t accurate).

Winner: So for this round, the point will have to go to Skillshare due to the fact it offers more than just well produced video lessons.

Skillshare has taken the lead, 2-1.

Popular Skillshare & MasterClass Classes

I wanted to highlight the most popular online classes published by Skillshare and MasterClass to give you an idea of what other learners have most enjoyed:

Skillshare Classes:

Productivity Masterclass – Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity – Ali Abdaal teaches the principles and theories of productivity to help us live a happier and more productive life. This class is 1 hour 55 minutes and made up of 15 video lessons, and throughout the class are reflective prompts and questions to answer. I took this class myself and enjoyed it, you can read about my experience here.

Fundamentals of DSLR Photography – Taught by Justin Bridges, Fashion and Portrait Photographer. This class is beginner-friendly, an introductory photography class where you’ll learn how to manually balance shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to achieve perfect exposure. You’ll also learn Justin’s go-to camera settings, must-have gear and recommendations on a budget.

iPhone Photography: How to Take Pro Photos On Your iPhone – Taught by Dale McManus, a Photographer and Videographer. This class is beginner-friendly and will teach you everything you need to be a professional digital photographer. In this course, you’ll learn plenty of tips and tricks that you can use during every day shooting to make your photos stand out from the rest. Some of what you’ll learn is how to take stunning photos by utilizing shot composition, how to create depth in your photography, how to professionally edit photos in Lightroom and much more.

Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design – Taught by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, co-directors of the Graphic Design MFA program at MICA. This class is beginner-friendly and will give you a solid foundation and core principles of graphic design. You’ll learn and define 5 basic design principles, critique your work for effectiveness and balance, and apply each core concept in future projects.

Video Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro for Beginners – Taught by Jordy Vandeput, a Filmmaker and Youtuber. This class is beginner-friendly, where you will learn how to take your creative ideas into amazing videos with Adobe Premiere Pro. You will learn a solid basis of Premiere Pro which allows you to perform basic edits, create custom graphics and texts, mix audio from speech, music, sound effects and much more.

> Read my detailed Skillshare Review to find out more

MasterClass Classes:

Yotam Ottolenghi Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking – Yotam Ottolenghi teaches you simple steps for making and mixing Middle Eastern-inspired recipes like platters, mezze and homemade condiments. This class is 5 hours 41 minutes and is made up of 26 video lessons. I took this class myself and thoroughly enjoyed it, you can read about my experience here.

Alicia Keys Teaches Songwriting and Producing – Alicia Keys is one of the world’s most beloved singer/songwriter, winning 15 Grammy Awards and more than 40 million albums sold. She invites you to her studio to share her process for creating music built from authentic emotion. This class is 3 hours 22 minutes long and consists of 19 video lessons.

Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring – Stephen Curry teaches the shooting, ball-handling, and scoring techniques that have made him a two-time MVP. He is teaching everything he’s learned, from perfect shooting mechanics to on-court concepts and basketball drills. This class is 3 hours 41 minutes in total and made up of 17 video lessons.

Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep – Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. Matthew illuminates the science behind sleep and teaches you how to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep. This class is 3 hours 12 minutes in total and made up of 15 video lessons.

RuPaul Teaches U.S. Self-Expression and Authenticity – RuPaul has transformed drag subculture into a mainstream phenomenon. Now the Emmy-winning host and performer is sharing an intimate look at his personal journey to self-realization. This class is 2 hours 1 minute long and made up of 16 video lessons.

> Read my detailed MasterClass Review to find out more

Round 3: Free Classes at Skillshare & MasterClass

Something that I get asked a lot is where can I find free courses? This is where I have to be honest, as free doesn’t always mean quality. So, my advice is if you are serious about learning something of value, it makes sense to pay for it. A free class isn’t for everyone.

Skillshare recently stopped offering free classes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another way to check out classes for free. When you sign up for Skillshare premium, you will get access to a 1-month free trial – which I have to say is pretty generous for as far as free trials go. The free trial will give you full access to the platform and its 35,000+.

Skillshare One Month Free Trial

Skillshare One Month Free Trial

MasterClass on the other hand doesn’t offer any free MasterClass course or free trials. The only way you could get around trying out the MasterClass platform is by signing up and paying for an annual membership. If you aren’t satisfied, you will be entitled to receiving a full refund within 30 days of purchasing.

Winner: So for that reason, that MasterClass doesn’t offer any free classes, the point will have to go to Skillshare.

Skillshare is still out in front, 3-1.

Round 4: Available Languages At Skillshare & MasterClass

Alright, I promise this will be a short round.

Skillshare encourages teaching in any language, as its classes can be taught by anyone. But the truth is most of the Skillshare community is English speaking, and naturally, you will get more engagement if your classes are in English.

Available subtitles with Skillshare

Available subtitles with Skillshare

Skillshare does offer subtitles in the following languages Dutch, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese for all its classes. For anyone that English is their second language it can be helpful, but I do want to add here it is important you have a good level of English to really get the most out of the Skillshare platform.

Like Skillshare, the MasterClass audience is primarily English. It does offer a small handful of classes with Spanish and German subtitles, but when I say small handful I mean less than 10 classes.

Winner: This is a tricky one as neither platform does a particularly good job at offering its classes in other languages, but due to the fact Skillshare has subtitles in a variety of languages the point will go to them.

So, there we have it, Skillshare is storming ahead with 4-1.

Round 5: Skillshare Vs MasterClass Certificates

Certificates can be a great way to show future employers of your qualifications. Plus, they can be the motivator to commit and successfully complete the course. It’s important to remember though that not all certificates are verified, as that would mean they need to be issued by a credible institution.

Sadly, neither Skillshare or MasterClass offer any sort of certificate when you successfully complete the class.

Winner: Since Skillshare and MasterClass don’t issue certificates, no one will get a point for this round.

Check out Coursera or Udacity for completion certificates.

Round 6: Skillshare Vs MasterClass Teachers & Community

For many of us, the person teaching the course or class is an important factor for whether we go ahead with it or not. Before making that decision you may have some questions you want answering like:

Does the teacher have qualifications to teach this subject? How many years of experience do they have? Will the instructor be giving me personal feedback?

Skillshare is a platform that allows anyone to teach its classes. So to become a Skillshare teacher, you just need a passion for a creative topic and looking to share that with a creative community. Now this does come with its downside, the fact that anyone can teach a course, meaning: Does my instructor at Skillshare have qualifications? Or How much experience do they really have?

Skillshare Original

Skillshare Original

As well as that, Skillshare does produce ‘Skillshare Original’ a collection of classes that are built in partnership with some well-known professionals and entrepreneurs. These classes are well produced and well received by the Skillshare community.

Skillshare does encourage its learners to share their thoughts and work with the community. And it does make a greater effort than other online learning platforms to emphasize the importance of community through learning.

What makes MasterClass a stand-out platform are the famous faces teaching its classes. Its lineup of 100+ celebrities and VIPs is really impressive, you have the likes of Alicia Keys teaching you Songwriting and Producing or Gordon Ramsay on how to cook. If you like the idea of learning from an icon, then MasterClass has you covered.

MasterClass Teachers

MasterClass Teachers

In all honesty MasterClass doesn’t have the most active community, it is used more for a place to ask and get answers to questions. If a community isn’t that important to you, then MasterClass would be a good fit.

Winner: Even though Skillshare has a more engaged community, the fact that MasterClass has top artists, leaders and icons teaching its classes the point has to go to them.

The score now stands at 4-2 to Skillshare

Round 7: Is Skillshare or MasterClasses Support Better

Let’s be honest, something we all dislike is slow support and bad customer service, right?

Skillshare offers a standard Help Center page where you can find articles on most areas that you would need answers for. It is broken down into Students, Teachers and Skillshare for Teams, so you can easily navigate towards what you are looking for. You have the option to submit a ticket if you need further help.

 

Skillshare Help Center

Skillshare Help Center

MasterClass offers a more detailed Support page, plus it offers a chatbot which I know at times can be annoying, but this one is more helpful than others I have used in the past.

MasterClass Support

MasterClass Support

After purchasing a MasterClass subscription myself I requested a refund (within 30 days of purchasing it) as I wanted to see how its customer service was. I must say, I was super impressed with how responsive and hassle-free it was. I submitted a request here and the refund was back in my account in 5 days.

Winner: Due to the fact MasterClass has a more detailed support page and the fact its customer service is really responsive and hassle-free, the point will have to go to them.

Things are getting exciting now, the score is now 4-3 with Skillshare still holding the lead.

Round 8: Which One Is Better for Businesses

Online learning isn’t just for individual learners, it is for teams and businesses who are wanting to upskill and motivate their team and employees. Skillshare and MasterClass are no different and both offer plans for teams and businesses.

Skillshare offers 3 team plans designed for different sized teams and businesses. The Starter is best for teams of 2-20, costing $159 per user, per year. The Enterprise and Revive plans are ideal for bigger teams and come with a custom price.

Skillshare Team Plans

Skillshare Team Plans

Like Skillshare, MasterClass offers plans for Businesses, its pricing plans aren’t as transparent and you will need to contact sales to choose the plan for your business. Depending on the size of your organization discounts between 5-35% are made when you purchase more than 5+ annual memberships

Winner: As Skillshare offers more plans to suit the size of your team or business, plus what is included within the package, this point has to go to them.

Skillshare is still out in front with the score at 5-3.

Round 9: Skillshare Vs MasterClass Pricing & Refunds

Now we have come to the final category and the most important, pricing. I am sure you, what you really want to know is: What’s actually included? and What’s the refund policy?

Both Skillshare and MasterClass work with a subscription model, let me explain a little more in the table below;

Skillshare MasterClass
Classes ~35,000 ~130
Free Trials 1 month No free trials
Subscription Plans Annual: $180 billed annually

Monthly: $32 billed monthly

Standard: $180 billed annually

Plus: $240 billed annually

Premium: $276 billed annually

Refunds Within 7 days of purchasing Within 30 days of purchasing
Devices Desktop, iOS & Android Desktop, iOS & Android
More information Visit Skillshare.com Visit MasterClass.com

Skillshare does offer the option of an annual or a monthly subscription plan, which is more appealing, especially of you aren’t ready to commit. Plus, the 1-month free trial gives you the chance to get to know the platform before you fully commit to it.

Even though MasterClass does have 3 subscription plans, they do all require you to commit for a full year. And especially without the option of a free trial or at least some free classes, it means a new learner is reluctant to commit. I get it and I do think MasterClass can do better on this one.

Winner: I think that’s clear that Skillshare has to take this one.

So, that leaves us with Skillshare being crowned the winner of this comparison, with 6-3 points.

Well done Skillshare!

Bonus Round: Skillshare & MasterClass Alternatives

You may have got to the end of this comparison, so thank you for hanging around as it turned into a bit of a long one in the end. You may now have realised that actually neither Skillshare or MasterClass is right for you.

Either platform could be lacking in some areas like a verified certificate, selection of classes or career advice to help you apply for your next job role. Let me quickly mention a few alternatives that you might consider.

Coursera

If earning an accredited certificate is something you are looking for, then Coursera partners with 200+ Universities and Companies to produce high-quality courses, specializations, degrees and more. It collaborates with Universities like Stanford, Duke and Penn and Companies like Google and IBM.

Coursera an alternative to Skillshare and MasterClass

Coursera an alternative to Skillshare and MasterClass

You can join Coursera for free, and it offers a variety of courses from individual courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, Professional Certificate, MasterTrack Certificate and Degrees. It also offers Coursera Plus a yearly or monthly subscription plan giving you access to 3,000+ courses.

Read Coursera Review

Visit Coursera.com

Udacity

Udacity is a platform that offers Nanodegrees (a type of learning program) on topics within digital skills. It works closely with top industry partners (like Google, Mercedes and Nvidia) to produce its content. Its content is designed to leave learners with job ready digital skills.

Udacity an alternative to Skillshare or MasterClass

Udacity an alternative to Skillshare or MasterClass

For all students who enroll in any Udacity Nanodegree Program will have access to Udacity’s Career Services which include Personalized Review, Tips to Grow your network, resume optimization tips and more. It is important to keep in mind that learning with Udacity is both a time and financial commitment. Its Nanodegrees start at $399 and go up to $2000 depending on how fast you work.

Read Udacity Review

Visit Udacity.com

edX

edX offers 3,000+ Courses, Programs and Degrees from leading universities like Harvard, MIT and Berkeley. You’ll be able to earn verified certificates when you choose the paid verified track.

edX an alternative to Skillshare or MasterClass

edX an alternative to Skillshare or MasterClass

As well as its paid verified track you can choose the audit track which means you can take the course for free, but its features are limited and of course you won’t receive a verified certificate at the end.

Read edX Review

Visit edx.com

Udemy

Udemy is one of the largest online learning platforms offering over 183,000+ courses on pretty much any subject you could imagine. It offers some free courses and most of its courses are affordable.

Udemy an alternative to Skillshare or MasterClass

You will receive a certificate when you successfully complete a paid course, and you are entitled to a 30-day refund policy if you aren’t happy with the course. As well as individual courses, Udemy for business is for employees who want to help empower and develop the skills of its team, a few different plans are available.

Read Udemy Review

Visit Udemy.com

Final thoughts: Skillshare vs MasterClass

Alright, after this long and detailed comparison, I am sure you’ll be able to pick what platform is best for you. To sum up Skillshare and MasterClass, I have put some bullet points together as to why each platform may be right for you.

Go with Skillshare if you:

  • Are looking for a free trial
  • Don’t mind paying a subscription
  • Value a big pool of creative classes

> Try Skillshare for free

> Read the detailed Skillshare Review here

Choose MasterClass if you:

  • Want well produced and engaging content
  • Value VIP and celebrity instructors.
  • Expect a generous refund policy

> Try MasterClass for free

> Read the detailed MasterClass Review here

There’s a lot to consider when choosing an online learning community, so if you still have some questions, please leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help you.

Last Updates:

23/11/21 Skillshare Vs MasterClass Quiz

19/11/21 Skillshare Vs MasterClass Published

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.
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