Skillshare vs MasterClass: Which Is The Better Online Learning Platform?

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Woman watching lesson online and studying from home.
There are a number of ways you can learn online without having to go back to school or a classroom.
Image credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

I always hated the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have any interests; rather, it was that I had too many.

In high school, I liked English, science, history, and art. I learned how to play guitar, represented my class in student government, performed in a vocal jazz group, ran track, and participated in Speech & Drama. After college, I taught myself photography and videography. I took courses in herbalism and nutrition, and I had a phase where I learned everything I could about becoming a better distance runner. 

I noticed my tendency to dive into a new topic, learn everything I could about it, ultimately feel like I needed another challenge, and then move on to my next topic of interest. 

If, like me, you consider yourself a multipotentialist—experiencing a never-ending curiosity for new interests, skills, and development—you’ll love the online learning capability offered by MasterClass and Skillshare. But which one is better for your learning style? I took a closer look at each service to find out.

Skillshare Review

Skillshare selecting class topics screenshot.
The variety of class topics you can expect from Skillshare. You pick some topics of interest when signing up.

Visit Skillshare’s Website

Skillshare calls itself an online learning community for creative and curious people. Think of Skillshare like a local community college. It’s a fantastic place to learn something new or develop practical skills.

The website covers a variety of topics for personal and professional growth. Courses fall into three main categories: build (e.g., entrepreneurship and marketing), create (e.g., graphic design and photography), and thrive (e.g., culinary and crafts).

Some of Skillshare’s most popular classes include:

  • iPhone Photography: How To Take Pro Photos On Your iPhone
  • Digital Illustration: Learn To Use Procreate
  • Mastering Productivity: Create A Custom System That Works
  • Video Editing With Adobe Premiere Pro For Beginners
  • Introduction To SEO: Tactics And Strategy For Entrepreneurs

5 Key Features

Skillshare copywriting class overview screenshot.
An example of a copywriting class and the lessons included in the course.
  1. Monthly and annual membership options
  2. Unlimited classes with membership
  3. Topics in business, creative, lifestyle, and productivity
  4. Classes taught by industry leaders and working professionals
  5. 35,000+ classes

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
7-day free trialClass quality can vary widely based on instructor, video quality, etc.
Diverse content
Helps you develop new skills
Personal and team plans

Our Personal Experience With Skillshare

When I was first getting started in watercolors, I found so many wonderful art classes on Skillshare where I could learn new techniques from talented artist. I grew a lot from my experience on the platform and would recommend it to anyone learning a new skill set.

Michelle Schenker, Co-Owner Of We Rock Your Web & Skillshare User

MasterClass Review

Picking topic areas in Masterclass.
An example of celebrity instructors you can learn from in Masterclass.

Visit MasterClass Website

If you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best—that’s MasterClass’s approach. If Skillshare is comparable to a class at your local community college, MasterClass is closer to a guest lecture series at a prestigious university.

Each MasterClass video course is taught by a leader in their particular field. Learn culinary skills from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay or productivity tips from “Atomic Habits” bestselling author James Clear. Take a course on successful business strategy from Mark Cuban or photography from Annie Leibovitz.

Courses touch on a variety of topics and skills, from communication and creativity to digital content and entrepreneurship. Each class consists of around 20 video lessons, averaging 10 minutes in length, and an in-depth workbook. Classes are designed for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. 

5 Key Features

masterclass course overview with progress jpg
An example of the course overview and progress from an interior design class in Masterclass.
  1. Monthly membership with unlimited class access
  2. High-quality, professionally-produced courses
  3. Celebrity instructors
  4. 200+ classes across 13 categories
  5. Supplemental materials like workbooks

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
30-day money-back guaranteeNo free trial
Top-quality production
Unique topics (acting, sports, outdoor adventures, wellness)
Bite-sized lessons

Our Personal Experience With MasterClass

masterclass home dashboard jpg
Sadie’s Masterclass home dashboard shows saved classes and class history.

Instead of binging reality TV shows, I signed up for MasterClass as a fun thing to watch on the weekends or after work. I thought it would be a fun way to learn new skills and fill my brain space with more intellectual content than trashy television.

I’ve known about MasterClass teaching from experts in their respective fields for years, but I was surprised to find out once I subscribed that there are actual modules and (optional) homework to complete. I like that each course is divided into sections that you can start, stop, and come back to at your own pace. I was worried the classes would feel like going back to school, but the subject are so fun, and it doesn’t feel like work. It’s entertaining and educational at the same time. You can even customize the course if there are certain areas you want to skip.

When deciding which classes to take, I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by the variety of topic areas and very impressed with the caliber of experts they have. Everyone from highly successful athletes and coaches like Coach K and Serena Williams to celebrities and actors like Amy Pohler and Steve Martin, to politicians including Hilary Clinton and George W. Bush, and entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Sara Blakley. Not only are you learning from the best of the best, but they show you applicable examples in real time of whatever they are teaching.

As a visual person, I found this super helpful. Can’t pick on a particular person? There are bundled playlists on focus areas like Communication, Design, or How To Be A Good Teammate. They only offer an annual subscription (you just pick how many devices you can watch on), and I’m glad they do because there’s so much content it will take months to get through it all.

I look forward to challenging myself and continuing to use MasterClass and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for career or personal growth. It could also make a unique gift for someone who enjoys experiences or a workplace offering to employees as an incentive to brush up on leadership or tactical skills.

Sadie Cornelius, We Rock Your Web Designer & Tech Guru

I have used MasterClass for many years. I truly enjoy this learning platform in large part due to its flexibility. As a busy professional and mom, I don’t have time to commit to a regular class meeting time in the middle of my day. MasterClass offers such a flexible platform that I can take classes whenever it works for me. I also love the broad reach of subjects, as well as the more personal approach of the instructors. Classes are easy to access and follow and the best part is that you can pick and choose what you want to watch or do.

It is a wonderful way to build my skills and expand my reach with new knowledge. Of course, one of the biggest draws is that I can take a class taught by notable people I admire, like famous authors, poets, actors, and entrepreneurs. For me, this is a great platform to explore my personal interests and development.

There is such a huge selection that I never have trouble finding a class to engage in. In fact, sometimes I worry that I am not using my subscription enough.

The biggest downside is that Masterclass does not offer certificates for classes or classes in hard career skills like coding, business, etc. Another drawback is that MasterClass is lecture-based, so there is very little interaction with others on the platform or in classes, nor feedback from instructors.

Danielle DeGroot, We Rock Your Web Research & Writing, Lifelong Student, Book Nerd, & Educator

Skillshare vs MasterClass

We consider price, course variety, and production quality to help you decide which of these two online learning sites is better suited to your needs.

Skillshare vs MasterClass: Pricing

After Skillshare’s seven-day free trial, the best deal is its annual plan, which is $8.25 monthly ($99 billed annually). Skillshare also offers a monthly plan, which runs $29 per month. 

MasterClass’s standard plan costs $10 per month. For extra features, such as offline mode and additional devices, you must subscribe to MasterClass Plus, which costs $15 monthly ($180 billed annually).

Pricing Winner

WinnerSkillshare

Skillshare vs MasterClass: Course Selection

Skillshare focuses on bolstering your proficiency, especially in the creative space. It includes various creative courses, including animation, creative writing, graphic design, illustration, photography, and UI/UX design. Skillshare features various courses to help grow your business, including marketing and e-commerce courses. The site also touches on business and lifestyle skills. Use Skillshare as a resource to help grow your business or finesse your skills in cooking, sewing, interior design, and more. The sheer number of topics means you’ll always have something to learn.

In contrast, MasterClass is less focused on developing specific skills; instead, the value of these classes lies in hearing about the workflow and insights of an expert in a particular field. With MasterClass, it’s less of a how-to and more of a look at the big-picture concepts—the philosophy behind a course of study. There are 13 areas of study with 200+ classes.

Both of these online learning platforms offer a wealth of knowledge, though they’re entirely different services. 

Skillshare vs MasterClass: Production Quality

While some of Skillshare’s videos are produced in-house, most are created by independent educators. For this reason, production quality will vary widely from course to course. 

Regardless, Skillshare’s videos are far from the production quality of MasterClass. These courses have everything you expect to see in a high-value production, including pleasing set design, lighting, and audio. It’s clear that professional filmmakers help make these courses, and the cinema-level quality makes them that much more engaging.

Production Quality Winner

Winner: MasterClass

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions our readers have about MasterClass and Skillshare. If you don’t see yours, ask us in the comments.

What’s The Difference Between MasterClass and Skillshare?

It’s not fair to compare MasterClass and Skillshare because they offer completely different services. MasterClass offers a variety of interesting courses to entertain the lifelong learner, while Skillshare teaches specific technical skills for growth and development.

Is MasterClass Actually Worth It?

If you enjoy documentaries or TED Talks, you’ll love MasterClass. The classes are very engaging and explore big-picture concepts while featuring insightful nuggets from renowned instructors.

Is It Worth Paying For Skillshare?

If you want to take a deep dive into a specific topic—say, mastering illustration—Skillshare is a resource. You’ll learn applicable skills from experts via easy-to-follow lesson plans. Skillshare’s 35,000+ classes ensure you’ll find a teacher that caters to your learning style and preferences.

Best Online Learning Platforms

Skillshare and MasterClass are just two of the many online learning platforms available. In our best online learning platforms article, we’ve chosen our favorites for business, web development, and more. 

Have you tried Skillshare or MasterClass? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Why Trust We Rock Your Web

Since joining We Rock Your Web, Tara has covered topics ranging from email marketing to online legal services. She knows that small business owners today must familiarize themselves with online tools, and she’s dedicated to helping them learn how to do just that. Tara worked with the We Rock Your Web team for this article to test Skillshare and MasterClass. Both platforms provide valuable tools and information for small business owners and entrepreneurs, including communication, branding, and marketing courses. 

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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