What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is an online learning service, where people can either teach or learn their special skills, share their experience or even get a new and great job based on what they like to do. Skillshare also offers team education plans, allowing companies to teach their staff from all over the world. Unlike lots of other services, Skillshare widens the range of its services almost to the extent of the free university.
Using Skillshare is quite easy: you have to register to get your Skillshare login (or you may use your Facebook or Google logins instead) and then you get full access to the free courses (more than a thousand of them). You may participate in Skillshare as a student, teacher or both. You have to get a Premium account to get access to the full amount of courses and teachers or download courses and watch them offline on your Android or iOS app, but there is a lot of stuff to learn even without it.
The customer service of Skillshare responds quite fast and is very helpful. Regarding how much Skillshare costs, they do their job perfectly, providing the best quality service to both teachers and students.
If a person wants to start teaching they can easily do this too. All they need is to create a course according to Skillshare guidelines, get it approved and then pay a regular fee to the service to have their course on the site. Anything extra they earn is their own money. Skillshare provides an explicit teacher guidebook that shows how to promote courses and build the audience. There are also lots of extra activities for teachers, including contests with money prizes or free promotion.
The great feature of Skillshare for students is scholarship. The benevolent people can fund a scholarship program, paying either partially or fully for courses for the most skilled students. Anyone can apply to this program and, if the set requirements are met, get the course with a great discount or for free.
There are lots and lots of different classes and the new ones appear almost daily. Still, they are divided into three categories: Create, Build and Thrive. The Create category includes Animation, Creative Writing, Film & Video, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Music, Photography, UI/UX Design and Web Development. The Build category consists of Business Analytics, Freelance & Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Management and Marketing subcategories. Finally, the Thrive category is divided into Lifestyle and Productivity courses.
Each class consists of several lessons (usually around ten of them). There is also
We can’t review all the best Skillshare classes, but we analyzed the top-3 in the most popular categories:
Best Skillshare Teaching Classes
The very basic class for anyone who wants to teach on Skillshare. It consists of 8 lessons, 21 minutes total, and covers the basics of course making: from outlining to filming to promoting. It is Skillshare native course that has more than 4 thousands of reviews and 5 thousands of discussions. It is essential, because it’s made by Skillshare team and drives the students through all basic requirements to the courses.
Making a course is important, but promoting a course is essential. This lesson is an extension of a previous one, also made by the Skillshare team. Its 8 lessons show the ways to create a Skillshare channel and make it popular. This course has less reviews and discussions, because it is complementary to the first one.
This one is optional but still very handy: most lessons are several minutes long, so good visuals may help to present more information in a better way. The lesson is provided by the top teacher Ira Marcks, who shares some tips about making great visual that hit home and really help to remember information.
Best Skillshare Animation Classes
This course by Bee Grandinetti is one of the basic ones for those who just start to master Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. It is quite lengthy, 19 lessons will take more than 2 hours of your time, but they are really worth it. During this course you will create your first animation and explore the basic possibilities of After Effects and Photoshop.
Animating With Light by Jake Bartlett will teach you to create the neon headings or the classical titles of the old Hollywood movies. Each of the 17 lessons of the course is dedicated to a single particular aspect of light creating and animation. After an hour and a half you will be able to finish your first glowing title project.
Sarah Beth Morgan, the author and teacher of this class, will tell you about the essential part of each animated story – a storyboard. Creating storyboards (a series of pictures that illustrate the main scenes and actions of the finished animated movie) is the first and essential part of the production. It demands some storytelling skills and lots of understanding how things work in the animation. This course is slightly more than an hour and consists of 17 lessons. The lessons are made for intermediate level animators, so the newbies may have to re-listen some lessons several times and re-draw their hometasks.
Best Graphic Design Classes
Basically, we should list here the three courses by Daniel Scott: the aforementioned Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe InDesign CC. These courses are really long (87, 40 and 77 lessons respectively), so you should give yourself a couple of months to finish them. All of them are teaching the Adobe programs fundamentals and made for the beginners. Those who never worked with these programs may start from the first lesson, more proficient users may use the separate lessons to learn the particular aspects. Each course has lots of hometasks that will help you to master the Adobe package and memorize the theoretical material.
This course made by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips is quite short (36 minutes only) and walks you through the basic principles of visual design: symmetry, scale, framing etc. It is suitable for beginners. The course doesn’t have home assignments, but it requires a final project to be uploaded and checked.
Logotype is one of the most frequent tasks designers get. This course will teach you to draw text logotypes and show you the basic principles of logo making. There are several case studies embedded into the course. There are also several technical lessons that show students how to make small-scale adjustments or vectorizing.
Best Classes for Business
This course by Chris Bolman, Founder & CEO of Brightest.io shows the basic principles of startup growing step by step. Each of 27 lessons is dedicated to a single aspect of it, from the very definition of strategy to the planning of your own business strategy. The final project for this course is a full presentation of Strategy Statement, the one you may present to your investors.
These 9 lessons by Justin Gignac describe the process of establishing yourself as a freelance specialist, choosing your area of proficiency, promoting your services and creating your client base. Special part of the course is dedicated to creating your portfolio and growing your online presence. The practical task is connected to this, so you will finish this course with a fine portfolio and great self-promotion text ready to be presented to your potential customers.
This course by Scott Dobroski, Director of Corporate Communications at Glassdoor is for those who aren’t ready to start their own business. It will show you how to make a perfect resume and cover letter, how to prepare for the phone call and the first interview and how to negotiate with HRs. You will learn the tricks and cliches of headhunters and Human Resource managers and the techniques of diminishing the stress during the interviews.
Best Coding Classes
Disregarding the language of programming you will choose, you need to know the basic principles of coding. This course by Greg Hamilton from Applause Interactive will show you the fundamentals of coding and building algorithms and show you that you can already code. The language of the lessons is simple and suitable for beginners. There are 32 lessons of almost 8 hours total, so prepare to spend a month or two learning. There are no hometasks, but the last lesson has bonus content with challenge you can participate in.
Game coding is one of the most popular areas of programming. But one can make a game even without deep knowledge of programming languages. This course (or a series of courses) will guide you through building your game with Unity engine. The author of the course is Brandon Wu, Founder of Game Studio Pepwuper. The quality of video isn’t the best of all the courses presented on Skillshare, but the material is given explicitly and in a simple language. The course is quite lengthy, the first part consists of 18 lessons and there are more of them coming – but it explains the process of building a game in all the details.
Another series of courses by Aga Naplocha is called Creative Coding (the link above is to the first course from the series). They will teach you to use CSS code to animate your graphic on the web pages, making it easy to download and to embed. Aga will also show some CSS tricks and special effects that can be achieved on the sites. Knowing CSS code will be a great boost for your web graphics skills.
The registration on Skillshare and some courses are free, but you may go Premium and unlock many more courses and teachers for yourself – and also download them and watch online on your devices. You don’t have to do this – the monthly cost is $15 (or $99 per year) after all. But Premium cost should motivate you to really take everything you paid for and learn thoroughly. If you are not sure if Skillshare is for you, you may use the Skillshare coupon that gives you 2 months of free Premium account. You may cancel it anytime within two months, but after this period you will be charged an annual Premium cost of $99. Unfortunately, no refund is acceptable due to the Terms and Conditions of the service, so we strongly recommend you to use the free trial period.
Previously, Skillshare has a solid 4-star rating on Trustpilot and Sitejabber but in 2021, the rating has dropped to 2.6. There are several hundreds of reviews, so the statistics are completely credible. The disappointed reviews tell about charging for trial period (Skillshare does charge for it after the two months of trial period, which is stated in Terms and Conditions). This is the main reason for leaving 1-star feedback.
The customer support of Skillshare doesn’t usually respond to users’ feedback on third-party sites, so if you have troubles, you may contact them first and leave a review only if they don’t answer.
Here are some of fresh 2021 Skillshare reviews available on Trustpilot, Quora, Reddit, and other platforms.
- “I found it lacking. A lot of it was lesser quality than what you can find for free on Youtube and the UI was a mess. If there’s a specific artist that you like that is offering courses it might be worth it, but I paid for a year, and ended up regretting it.”
- “Love the idea but the price is too high. Every time I go to subscribe, I never feel like I am getting the value for the cost so I unsubscribe.”
- “Got locked account after 3 hours of subscription. I didn’t have time even to start a course.”
- “Super scammy billing practices, watch out! The content is meh, honestly you can get the same quality on YouTube for free.”
- “Same story as so many others. Charged for a years subscription when I signed up for a free trial. I had to cancel my card.”
- “I was hoping to love it however it had no new or valuable information I had not already seen on youtube.”
However, there are also positive ones:
- “Great selection of classes, the videos are really well structured and easy to navigate.”
- “It’s good, if you want the most out of it, make a list of skills you want to get better at, mediums, programs, subjects, fundamentals etc. Then go down your list through classes on skillshare.”
- “I did the two months free and liked it. There’s a popular teacher on there who’s drawing courses are excellent. At the end of the two months I signed up for a year but haven’t found many courses I’ve really been into since then. I did stumble across an Adobe Illustrator course recently which has been very helpful so far for my day job.”
- “I used skillshare’s premium 3 month free trial, I cancelled it and was told that I could carry on using until date of renewal and I had forgotten about it since. That is until on the 28th December 2020 I saw a charge for skillshare premium on my bank statement. I contacted customer services and within an hour a lady called Chrissy had emailed me back. I asked for a refund due to having cancelled my account and the pandemic having made earning a wage much much more difficult than previously. Chrissy had resolved the issue and had authorised the refund, I can’t even begin to express how helpful she was in resolving the matter. If I was her boss, she would definitely be getting a raise!”
Is Skillshare worth it?
It can work out but we cannot recommend this platform based on many aspects mentioned and many negative customers’ reviews. You may enjoy free courses during two months of trial and there is always a competition between teachers, so one topic is covered by several courses you can choose amongst. Social programs such as scholarships and teachers’ competition with prizes also add credits to the service. But be careful and don’t miss the end of the trial period, otherwise, you’ll be charged the annual fee. The tech support most likely won’t answer requests connected with refunds, because all your payments are non-refundable.
Skillshare vs other online courses
Skillshare vs Lynda (Linkedin Learning)
Lynda (which has become Linkedin Learning) is a service, dedicated to developing skills needed for a great job (so not too many courses for startupers here). There are solutions for companies, universities or colleges or whole governments that allow buying a team pack and educate the employees – similar to Skillshare ones, just bigger in scale. Lynda offers a month of the free trial subscription and seems to have no free courses.
Skillshare vs Udemy
Udemy has quite similar content to Skillshare – this service is also focused at the business, design and personal growth. Udemy claims to have more than 100 000 lessons and provides lifelong access to the courses. Unlike Skillshare, where you pay for the subscription, here you pay for each course in particular (usually, the price is around $20) and get access to the videos, home assignments and discussions.
Skillshare vs Brilliant
While Skillshare is mostly connected to art and business courses, Brilliant teaches Math, Science, and Computer Science. It also offers some free courses (usually they are basic ones in each discipline) and a week of free Premium trial. There are only 60+ courses on Brilliant – in comparison to thousands of Skillshare – but they are more thoroughly picked and have more hometasks than Skillshare ones. There are also daily challenges for subscribers of Brilliant to keep them engaged.
You may enjoy free courses during two months of trial and there is always a competition between teachers, so one topic is covered by several courses you can choose amongst.
- Lots of different areas of courses
- Hundreds of courses in each area
- Scholarship programs
- 2 months of a free trial
- Courses are not updated and not much of new content
- They charge you after the trial period automatically
- Their customer support sometimes can be unresponsive
- The video quality of some courses is low (the lessons themselves are fine though)
- No refunds. Ever.