In today's online learning schools and institutions, learning a new skill or improving your career prospects has become easier than ever before. Unfortunately, because of this influx of numerous learning options, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best system for you. Here, we'll be going over 2 stellar platforms that are great for learning a large number of skills fairly quickly; MasterClass and Skillshare. As the two platforms share a lot of similar qualities with one another, this review will break down both of them to find out which one is the best for you.
In this review, we will be going over each platform's price, design, quality, variety, certificate options, as well as some common pros and cons between the platforms before finally coming to a verdict. Keep in mind that your interests should always be considered first and foremost before making a decision. If one option is objectively better but doesn't have the things you want, take that into consideration before making a decision on which you'll want to jump into by the end of the review.
So without any further delay, let's jump into it!
Arguably the most important part of deciding what course you want to take is its price. It doesn't matter how nice the platform is and how accessible or useful the classes are, if you can't pay for it you're basically just imagining how great it is.
Skillshare, like most other online learning platforms, uses a subscription-based payment method. This means that, for as long as you are subscribed to the platform, you have access to the vast majority of the content available in the site's library.
The downside to this ultimately comes down to the fact that you don't actually own any of the material. This means that you must be online to access the information, you are barred from all information if you are unable to pay, and all the information may be lost if there are any issues on the company's side of things. Still, many often prefer this option as it is generally cheaper than options where you will have to pay for individual courses.
For Skillshare, there are 2 pricing options: monthly and annually. The monthly rate is about $8.73 per month while the annual rate is $63 per year. This means that you are saving almost $42 per year through the annual option.
MasterClass operates largely the same as Skillshare in terms of its payment structure. It is also a subscription-based platform. Originally the platform had the option to purchase an individual course where one could buy a single class for around $90. Since then, however, they have completely transitioned over to an annual rate, charging $180 per year for the service.
As with Skillshare, the downsides to this option are largely the fact that, while there are some individual pieces of downloadable content that you can print out, the vast majority of the courses are online and require an internet connection to access. Similarly, if there is ever an issue with payment, or the company itself, you will likely be completely barred from the information, something that would not be the case if you could simply purchase an individual course.
We will get to design and quality later, but from strictly a pricing standpoint, Skillshare offers a better price for students. It doesn't matter if you choose the annual rate or simply continue your monthly service over the span of a year, you are going to be paying less with Skillshare than you would with MasterClass.
Design & Interface
While design and interface certainly aren't essential to the overall quality of the platform's content, that doesn't negate the fact that it's what we see when we first sign onto the service and use what they have to offer. The overall design isn't just about having a look that is visually appealing, but also easy to navigate and interact with.
When it comes to the site's overall design and user interface on Skillshare, it's actually not bad. Especially when compared to many other options available on the market today, Skillshare has a sleek and modern appearance that easily transitions you from one thing to the next. They have several different tabs and categories you can easily click on at a glance to quickly and effectively move through the site's catalog.
The only real downside to Skillshare's setup is that, because their content library is so large, it can be difficult finding a particular course if you don't know the exact name, though this is hardly a dealbreaker for the site.
All-in-all, Skillshare's design and interface easily supersedes virtually every other MOOC (massive open online course) with very few exceptions.
MasterClass very much prides itself on its sleek black design that is very simplistic and easy to move around. It shares many of the benefits of Skillshare in terms of transitioning you from one area to the next without feeling too bland or unappealing.
What does drag it down, however, is the fact that there are very few definable tabs on the site. While you can certainly search in the general categories, such as “Music” or “Arts & Entertainment”, you want to specifically find areas surrounding playing the piano or specifically talking about painting, you're either going to have to wade through the many different options one by one, or know exactly what you are searching for while using the search button.
That said, as with Skillshare, the appearance is incredibly well down and gives the impression that you are actually joining a secret school.
Like it or not, while MasterClass certainly has an amazing visual design and a great interface, at the end of the day, not only does Skillshare have an equally amazing setup, but it also has a number of distinctive tabs and side sections to help you more easily find exactly the course you are looking for. This doesn't even include the different workshops as well as saved or recently viewed content.
While initially very much a shock, Skillshare is the more effective website design of the two.
Quality of the Platforms
Next up is the general quality of the platform itself. What we mean by “quality” generally encompasses every aspect of the site from how well the classes are taught to what is included in each lesson and if there are more advanced options for those looking for a challenge. Depending on the platform, there may be a form of quality rating which may also be included in determining the overall quality of the courses here.
Ultimately, we are talking about how much benefit a student will get when they take a course.
Starting up with Skillshare, it's actually surprising just how much weaker the content quality actually is on the platform. While certainly there are a ton of different options available on the site itself, Skillshare kind of suffers the same issue as Udemy has, in that pretty much anyone can put material up on the site with very little vetting on Skillshare's part. Again, while this definitely results in a large catalog, that doesn't mean much of it is certifiably good. I've personally taken a few courses and felt very much as though I had wasted my time due to the incredibly general and vague points brought up in the class.
The platform doesn't necessarily have a way of rating courses either. The best type of “rating” that is offered has more to do with the number of students involved in a particular course. Again, that's hardly a clear method of deciding just how good a course is but it's the best that Skillshare offers.
Now, with all that said, I'd be lying if I didn't balance it out by saying that most of the content is of value for most students. Not only that but because the membership is all-inclusive, you can take as many courses as you want, relieving some of the potential stress you may have about taking a class that isn't so good.
MasterClass, on the other hand, is fairly different compared to Skillshare. Though also offering a ton of varied course options and subjects, the biggest advantage that comes from using MasterClass is its instructors. In fact, the biggest draw for many to use the platform comes by way of its A-list star and celebrity instructors. People like Gordon Ramsay, Serena Williams, Natalie Portman, Alicia Keys, and many others are all available as experts in their respective crafts to train you in a particular area.
Not only that, but courses will often have additional learning material that can be downloaded and used as well. These can range from being an overall synopsis of what the classes talked about to additional materials and assignments to help you improve in your area even more.
The one downside is that the classes themselves are all fairly beginner-friendly and very much centered around the production quality of the course rather than the course quality as a whole. The classes themselves are very bite-sized in nature, with most being no longer than 10 minutes per session and geared for those looking to make use of a bit of extra dead time in their schedule rather than those looking to actually treat the information as something worth investing their time in.
I really didn't want to do this, however, the reality of the situation is that both Skillshare and MasterClass are largely equal in terms of their quality and what they offer students. While Skillshare does offer a setting with trained instructors that are trying to teach their students the information, the platform's lack of vetting opens students up to wasting time on an entirely useless teacher that won't actually teach them anything practical.
On the flip side, MasterClass does have fully vetted and highly skilled instructors that offer training on video as well as with some practical steps for its students. The downside ultimately comes by way of the platform's continual focus on the casual student. This ultimately results in students never getting as much as they could from the material as if they were in a setting more conducive to learning.
Ultimately, they both have severe gaps in their quality that make it difficult to crown either one the true winner in this category.
Class Variety on the Platforms
The variety offered in a platform is far and away different compared to the quality offered. Rather than worrying about how “good” the material is, this distinction focuses on how much is actually available on the platform.
In terms of variety and number of options, Skillshare is one of the largest out there. While it isn't on the level of something like Udemy, the platform has well over 23,000 different classes available. These range from coding to freelance writing, to e-commerce to dieting and self-discipline. Moreso than any other platform, Skillshare has the widest and most versatile range of courses offered to students.
When it comes to variety, while MasterClass is certainly no slouch, the fact of the matter is that it simply cannot compete with Skillshare. It has 10 separate subjects with over 100 individual classes. This number is an ever-growing one as it is reported that they add new classes and lessons every week. There, they have courses in music, business, arts & entertainment, food, design & style, writing, business, science & tech, and more.
As stated earlier, the reality of the situation is that, while the quality may be comparable, the amount and the variety certainly are not. To make it very clear, Skillshare has over 230 times as much as MasterClass in terms of available courses and lessons.
Skillshare takes this victory by and landslide.
What are the Certificate Options
Getting a certificate is one of the biggest reasons people sign up for an online course. The idea is that, in addition to acquiring the knowledge, students can leverage the information for an improved position in their current job or an established position at a company. This is particularly the case for MOOCs that emphasize coding and software development. (something offered both in Skillshare and MasterClass to varying degrees). Here we will see which is better overall.
Upon completing a course, Skillshare does not offer you any form of a certificate. In fact, there isn't really all that much of a note of your completion in the course, to begin with. This is because the classes are largely meant as online lectures that you take in without actually performing physical or practical activities with the exception of the personal instructor.
As such, there is no certificate offered, and the rare instructors that do include one do not have the authority of certifying it, making it solely ceremonial.
While Skillshare doesn't give you any form of certificate, MasterClass does give you a congratulatory document. Unfortunately, it holds just as little weight as no certificate at all. As you can print the document at any time and do not have to complete a quiz, it is entirely useless in terms of getting a professional or educational working position.
The fact of the matter is that neither have any real certificate of worth. While MasterClass does offer a congratulatory document, it isn't accredited and holds no weight in any official or professional setting.
The main purpose of using either MasterClass or Skillshare is to improve your overall abilities in a given area for your own wellbeing as opposed to for an opportunity at getting a job.
Because of that, both Skillshare and MasterClass are a draw.
Of the two options, while MasterClass has a ton of great aspects to it and is very good in its own right, it simply does not compare to Skillshare. The platform, while not backed by A-level celebrities and tv stars, has numerous experts in hundreds of different fields and subjects. The website in and of itself is very well designed and it has thousands upon thousands of different courses that are available to its students.
While a person cannot get an accredited certificate when completing a course, if they find a great course, they can acquire all of the skills they personally desire to develop into their best self.
Again, MasterClass is certainly great in its own way, however, if you are someone that is looking to learn a skill in the best way, of the two, Skillshare is the platform worth looking into.
Shared Pros & Cons Between Skillshare and MasterClass
- Inexpensive: At prices between $60 and $200 a year, both platforms are much more inexpensive than the vast majority of MOOCs on the market today. E-learning sites like Coursera can range between $29-$99 per course while edX generally costs $50 per course.
- Wide Variety: Both platforms offer a huge variety of different courses, granting those that are interested an effective way to improve in skill.
- Enjoy at Your Own Pace: One of the great things about online courses is that they allow the person complete freedom in terms of time. Rather than sit under a specific deadline, as is the case in school, students can work on the course in their own time without fear of failing.
- Easy to Navigate User Interface: As stated earlier, both have very intuitive web designs. They both also have an online app that they can use to take their education with them and learn on the go. Both websites are incredibly easy to operate and look amazing as well.
- No Accredited Certification: Neither platform has any form of accreditation for their platform. This is due to the unverified nature of either platform compared to more prominent ones such as Coursera or edX.
- Unfocused Curriculum: Both courses have a wide curriculum. And while this is great to one extent. it does mean those seeking a greater focus on programming and IT will likely be out of luck, even despite the other courses available.
- Not Ideal for those Looking for a Degree or Higher Education: If you are someone looking to get a degree or transfer to a university, neither Skillshare nor MasterClass can help you. Instead, consider Coursera or edX.