Have you already decided what do you want to become in your life? Or maybe I should put it this way: are you happy with your decision of ‘who you would like to become in your life' you have made maybe several years ago from now? Or maybe you are not happy enough of your current skills' baggage?
If we start to think about all these kinds of philosophical questions in parallel to how much can this cost to you both financially and mentally, we can just get overwhelmed or even stressed-out. I can't express my excitement enough to show you guys how happy we really are that we have such great technology in our lives that we are able to save so much time, money and nerves. We can learn pretty much anything (except medical area I guess) nowadays without ever leaving home.
Today I would like to represent (in case you're not familiar with it yet) one of the most beloved online learning platforms – Skillshare. A big THANKS to the creators of the Skillshare for making our lives more conscious and intelligent. Every learning platform that I do reviews for has its own uniqueness and it wouldn't even be here if the platform wasn't worthwhile. In this Skillshare review, I will cover a couple of topics about this platform and I hope you'll find this information useful.
What is Skillshare and what makes it so great
Skillshare is a great online education platform providing tens of thousands of interesting courses for every possible taste. In fact, Skillshare also works with like-minded partners which makes this platform a reasonable choice by millions of learners worldwide.
Let me ask you something guys, who could teach you email marketing better than the professionals from MailChimp? Or, for example, who could teach you some of the creative techniques and stuff better than the professionals from Adobe?
I think it's one of those situations where there are no questions asked.
It's best to learn from the first-class experts and because Skillshare partnerships with the world's leading companies you have an opportunity to learn some certain technologies from the experts.
Skillshare has interesting course compartmentalization by subject, so there are 3 main groups: Create, Build and Thrive. Let me explain all these groups in more detail.
In the Create section, there are courses where you can make your creativity thrive. So it includes the likes of Animation, Creative Writing, Film & Video, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Music, Photography, UI/UX Design, and Web Development.
In the Build section, there are courses where you can learn skills like Business Analytics, Freelance & Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Management, and Marketing.
And lastly, there's a Thrive section where I find myself spending my time the most because it contains subjects like Lifestyle and Productivity.
From my own perspective, I don't like to read romance books nor watching useless films. When I'm not tired from the monitor screens, I prefer watching courses on Skillshare (a.k.a. Netflix for learning) on personal development topics to realize things that I haven't ever even thought of.
Skillshare doesn't focus on a single topic like technologies, but it strives to provide a variety of quality classes on many different topics to help to learn as many people as possible.
Skillshare features that stand out
Here are the best features of the Skillshare that are both very helpful and unique across all platforms at the same time.
- Recommended courses. Skillshare has a smart artificial intelligence that picks the most relevant courses for you personally. I am pretty sure that Skillshare will keep and maintain your interest in many of these courses at the very high levels.
- Join groups. I've seen it nowhere else, to be honest. It's great when you can learn and socialize with other like-minded people about the material that you learn at the same place (not time!).
- Student projects. This one is also a great proof that these courses actually work and people are getting the proper information in order to gain a skill. This is a place where people can showcase what they've created after watching the class with millions of like-minded people on the platform.
- Workshops. There are many workshops created and announced on the platform so you can join them with the other members and learn to create something cool and then share with everyone.
Pricing – how much does Skillshare cost
And here we come to one of the most important questions – how much for this great platform?
Let me start this by saying that you can get started for free! There are classes on Skillshare that are free forever, and to be honest, there are quite a few of them! Obviously, you won't find everything you could imagine for free, but still, you have a nice selection of around 2000 classes.
You can see a comparison of what's included with the free access and the premium in the picture below.
It would be too good to have access to the whole library for free forever, so you will get one month of premium access for free and then based on your needs, either you want to pay on monthly basis or yearly. You will be asked for your credit card details since you want to start your free month. If you won't like the platform for some reason, you can cancel your subscription with no questions asked. If you do this before your trial ends, you won't be charged a penny.
Obviously, the recommended subscription would be the yearly one as it's almost half cheaper than monthly. It costs ~$9/mo. (£7/mo.) on a yearly basis and ~$16 (£13/mo) on a monthly basis.
First and foremost, Skillshare offers a free trial so users can have a good time to try the platform inside and out with no restrictions for free for one month.
I have started using Skillshare by signing-up for a basic account and once I've registered I have received an email with a nice gift in it. That gift was 2 months of PREMIUM membership for free. I am sure you should receive the same gift as I did, it might not be forever, who knows. It's clearly marketing stuff. But I'm very pleased with that.
Course quality and variety – are Skillshare classes good
In the beginning, since I was not familiar with the Skillshare classes I was looking at the platform a bit skeptical. I thought this is just another learning platform where I won't find anything really useful to me personally. I went to their website to find out whether there's a chance to try out some of the classes for free. So I signed up for a free trial and started digging into the platform.
I had a bad time selecting the most interesting classes as there was a huge selection of them, but ultimately I have managed to cherry-pick and save some classes to my saved classes library to find them easily later in the future.
I am sharing here my list of classes that I've saved, I couldn't show you guys every possible class that I am personally interested in, but here's a brief list of classes that I've saved and I will also briefly review them all.
- Shopify – Setting Up Your First Shopify eCommerce Store. You all probably already know what Shopify is, but do everyone know how to set up this e-commerce store properly? This course is created by Kevin Ward who has an MSc in Computing and Information Systems from Greenwich University, London, UK. He will teach you how you can easily set up Shopify store, manage and edit products, use pretty much every setting to properly set up taxes, shipping and everything else you possibly need to launch your e-commerce store using your domain name. This course is for Shopify beginners. The whole class consists of 12 lessons and the total duration is 1h 26m.
- Shopify Essentials for Web Developers: From Store Setup to Custom Themes. This class will teach you how you can start modifying Shopify themes which is crucial if you want to maximize your sales. Instructor of this class, Kurt Elster, MBA is a Senior Ecommerce Consultant who helps Shopify store owners uncover hidden profits on their websites. Without any doubt, he will help you to gain your Shopify skills further. The whole class consists of 17 lessons and the total duration is 3h 2min.
- The Ultimate HTML Developer. The course is great for everyone wanting to get familiar with HTML and who are keen to start a career as a web developer. Students who enrolled in this class have made 6 projects (by the time of writing this article), the whole class consists of 48 lessons and the total duration is 3h 10min.
- WordPress Academy: Learn WordPress step by step. I'm very keen on this class and once I've got some more time I will dive deep into it. As we all know, WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world so having a solid understanding of it will help everyone to achieve the results they want. Starting with the fundamentals it goes into quite deep technical details later on in the class. The instructor of the class is Chris Dixon, who is an online teacher with many years of experience in web development. The whole class consists of 76 lessons and the total duration is 8h 2min.
- Fundamentals of DSLR Photography. I didn't know what DSLR was all about until one Friday I chose to watch this class instead of Netflix. This introductory photography class is a smart, inspiring way to get up to speed quickly. Taught by photographer Justin Bridges, you'll learn how to manually balance shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to achieve perfect exposure, every time — and then hit the NYC streets to see it all in action. By the time of writing this article, there were 161 student projects created. The whole class consists of 12 lessons and the total duration is 1h 19min.
This list could go on and on, but I've decided to stop it here because it could be endless. I intended to show you some of the classes available on Skillshare, how different they can be, what class length you can expect and that the instructors are real professionals. Also, I wanted to prove the quality of these courses. The projects created by students speak for themselves.
Is Skillshare accredited and does it give certificates
It is not an accredited institution. Skillshare is similar to Udemy in that these platforms do not issue certificates when you complete courses. Skillshare focuses more on providing a variety of courses rather than issuing certificates. If you want to earn certificates for what you learn, the better choice would be to learn through Coursera or Pluralsight.
Although Skillshare does not issue certificates that are not a problem at all anyway because you can earn certificates from a specialized institution later on after you've learned the material and taken dozens of classes.
What is the learning experience like on Skillshare
After we've got all the information about the platform legitimacy, pricing and fairness it's time to discuss other important aspects which is the learning experience on the platform.
UI Design. I thought it's okay to include some words about the UI design of the platform in the learning experience section. I think UI design plays its important part in the overall learning experience. The first impression of the UI design is very important to be fair, just like about anything else. There probably is a wide variety of opinions, but to me, the overall UI design of the platform looks clean and tidy which makes me stick on the platform for longer.
Navigation. Once you on the ‘All Classes' page, for example, you have all categories listed on your left-hand side, middle-top there are a filter and sorter, and in the middle of the screen, right below the filters, there are classes you can choose from. The website and the mobile apps are working smoothly, there's no laggy page scrolling or delayed page views, everything works instantly, which is great.
Another thing about the navigation, which could be better, that once I pick one class from the list and click on it, I get redirected to the class page and it starts playing automatically. What I would personally expect is to have an overview of the class in front of my eyes first and then I'd like to be able to click a ‘Play' button somewhere separately to start playing the class, once I'm happy with the overview.
It's not a big deal though, the overview is still available under the class video.
Overall, I think Skillshare has a great and comfortable to use learning experience.
Can I become a Skillshare author
Yes! Good news for people who want to earn money by teaching people online. It's a very easy process, includes no approvals or reviews.
Skillshare teachers earn revenue based on a royalty system. Each month, between 30% and 50% of Skillshare’s Premium Membership revenue goes to a royalty pool for teachers. The remaining revenue goes towards marketing and promoting your classes, supporting and investing in the website and platform, and running the day-to-day operations of our business.
There are some disadvantages too.
Not all instructors do a great job at teaching, some of them may lack better English, some classes may seem kind of boring so you can't wait until the end and you simply fast-forward the lessons or skip them. Some classes are just too short to be able to teach anything on a wide topic, so some classes could be renamed to be more specific to reflect the real thing they are teaching about.
Online education platforms have become very competitive with each other as there are many of them these days and I'm sure there will be even more in the future. Although this is probably a big headache for the companies behind these platforms, for us students is very exciting.
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The more platforms we have available, the lower the prices for the subscriptions or individual courses. Due to the growing number of platforms available on the Internet, we might face some problems too, such as that most of the courses will be of pure rubbish so we have to be prepared and know how to do proper research about the courses and authors before we buy any course.