Skillshare Review 2020: Is Skillshare Worth it?

There are a lot of options when it comes to online learning. If you've been considering trying out Skillshare classes, read on for my review.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

What is Skillshare?

Skillshare is an online educational community with thousands of courses on topics such as creative writing, film, art, graphic design, illustration, business, marketing, and productivity.  

According to their About page, they believe that “ the seemingly simple act of creating can be a force for growth, change, and discovery in people’s lives. We want to inspire and multiply the kind of creative exploration that furthers expression, learning, and application.”  

The values driving their business seem to be around inspiration, learning, connection, and making discoveries. 

Skillshare’s approach to learning is unique because each class has a project associated with it.  This also allows them to have a focus on community.  You can create a project and share it with the class.  Usually when you do this you get feedback or comments from other students and/or the teacher!  That makes it kinda fun.  

What Are Skillshare Courses Like?

Skillshare courses are all based on 3 pillars of teaching.  These include:

  • Classes are focused and digestible:  On average the classes are between 20-60 minutes, and broken down into 2-5 minute videos.  The classes typically focus on something very specific, such as completing a project of some sort.  I think this is perfect for when you just want to quick learn how to do something.  
  • Classes are project based:  All classes at Skillshare focus on some sort of project.  Instead of being a passive learner, Skillshare encourages you to participate in what you’re learning by completing a project.  You then can share your project with the community for that class.  Your uploaded projects will also be shown in your profile.  
  • Interaction is personal, honest, and human:  Skillshare encourages safe connection through the community aspects of their platform.  Teachers are expected to create an environment of openness and welcoming personal connection in everything they do.  
I’m a huge fan of companies who live by their values. 

How Does Skillshare Work?

Skillshare is a membership based program.  There is a free version, a monthly version and a yearly version.  

The free version includes quite a few courses, but does not include their premium courses.  I have not tried the free version so unfortunately cannot compare.

Instead, I use the premium version which allows me to participate in any of their courses or workshops.  While the courses are one off project based courses, the workshops are a curated selection of courses that go well together.  

At the time I am writing this, the upcoming workshops are:

  • Express Yourself with Memorable Personal Essays
  • Surface Pattern Design:  From Starting Out to Creative Business
  • Create a Successful Youtube Channel:  From Concept to Camera
  • Lose Yourself, Find Yourself:  Journal and Draw for Creative Self-Discovery
  • Make Creativity Your Career:  Find Your Passion, Purpose, and Path
  • Learn to Draw;  Easy Proportions, Shading and More
  • Painting for Pleasure:  Woods and Gardens with Watercolor and Gouache
  • Portraits of Home:  Photographing Yourself, Your Pet, and Your Space
  • Create the Perfect Night In:  Gourmet Pizza and a Signature Cocktail
  • Animating Letters, Logos, and More
  • iPhone Filmmaking:  Create a Short Cinematic Video
  • Food Photography:  Capture Your Culinary Creations for Instagram
  • Master Instagram for Your Business or Personal Brand
  • Flex Your Creativity with Drawing and Doodles
  • Stick To It:  Build and Maintain a Creative Practice
  • Create Small Illustrations with Big Impact
  • Making a Living as an Artist:  Business-Building and Money Habits for Creatives
  • Animating in After Effects for All Levels
  • Focus on Home:  Making Your Space a Sanctuary
  • Live Well:  Peace, Self-Care and Creative Growth

Phew!  That was a lot to type but I chose to type them all out so you can see the variety of workshops that are offered right now. 

Skillshare courses are taught by course creators who submit their courses to the platform (following specific guidelines).  Those teachers get paid according to the amount of minutes students watch the courses.   Pretty cool.    Teachers also get paid by referring students to their course through affiliate links like the ones in this post.  

How Much Does Skillshare Cost?

I mentioned above that Skillshare does allow you to take some courses for free.  I personally have never used the free version so I do not know how limited it is, though I’ve read elsewhere that there are 2000 or so classes included.  

The reason I never felt the need to try the free version is because they offer a very generous free trial.

Currently you can try out Skillshare Premium with a free trial.

If you sign up for a full year using my link you can also get 30% with my coupon code (annual30aff)!  It looks like you can’t enter the coupon code when signing up for the free trial.

One bummer about Skillshare is its hard to find out what the price is without signing up.  No worries, I logged out and signed up for a new account so I could tell you the current pricing.  

A year long plan is $8.25 per month ($99 annually)

Or you can pay $19 a month.

Wow, you get a pretty good discount by purchasing yearly (approx 43%).  

How Do I Access Courses on Skillshare?

You can watch your courses online with your computer or through mobile apps.  Skillshare has apps for iOS as well as in the Google Play store.  With the iOS app you can stream courses or download them to watch when you’re away from internet.

One thing I found difficult at first was navigating through the sheer number of courses because there are so many classes.  Topics include:

  • Animation
  • Creative Writing
  • Film and Video
  • Fine Art
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Music
  • Photography
  • UI/UX Design
  • Web Development
  • Business Analytics
  • Freelance and Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and Management
  • Marketing
  • Lifestyle 
  • Productivity

I personally don’t find those the category listings helpful because the courses I’ve taken on Skillshare don’t always fit in those categories.  I mentioned in a previous article reviewing CreativeLive that I use Skillshare primarily for fun art classes.  I suppose they would fit in illustration or graphic design, but probably not fine art. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Skillshare as a way of coping with the panedemic.  My focus has been on learning hand lettering, doodling, and using the Procreate app on my iPad.  Clicking through the different topics, I see these topics fall under multiple categories. 

Instead of using the topics though, I search for what I’m interested in.  A search for the word “Procreate” gives me 725 results.  I then can sort my results by Premium versus Free, class length, or when it was created.  

I think it’s fun to go through and bookmark classes I want to take.  I have a lot of classes bookmarked and feel like I’ll never run out of things to learn!  

What’s cool is that they’re all pretty short classes that teach really specific things.  And that’s my favorite thing about Skillshare.  Sometimes I just don’t have 7 hours to do a course.  But a 19 minute course, YES, bring it on.  

I’ll admit at first I thought there was no way that I could learn what I needed to learn in 19 minutes, but I learned how to create this cute girl drawing on my iPad in Procreate and then to vectorize it in Illustrator.  I had not used Illustrator prior to this course.  I was shocked at how this turned out:   

Is a Skillshare Membership Worth The Price?

As with anything, when looking at whether a membership is worth the price, the first thing you have to answer is whether you will use it. 

Skillshare makes it easy for students to consume courses because they are so short!   I think this is pretty awesome.  

There are some highly sought after teachers who produce courses on Skillshare so just having access to some of these teachers makes it worth the price of admission.  

Examples:

Teela Cunningham of EveryTuesday teaches Intro to iPad Lettering

Peggy Dean teaches Botanical Line Drawing 

Craig McKeown, Author of Essentialism teaches a course on productivity

Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why teaches about sharing ideas that inspire action.  

You get the idea!  There are some great courses on there.  

But again, you have to decide for yourself whether you would take the time to use them.

I’ve had the membership for almost a year and I just started to use it recently.  When I decided to start pursuing art as a way of coping with stress, I started to use it a lot more and I’m so glad I did.  I will be renewing for sure.  I’ve had a lot of fun with Skillshare.  

I love the project based nature of the courses.  You get to spend an hour or less and create something really cool.  This helps you if you’re trying to become more creative because you can try lots of different things in a short period of time!

Skillshare: How to Cancel, Autorenewals, Etc.

When I sign up for a membership I like to know how to cancel.  I hate being on autorenewal so am pretty in tune to whether a subscription has autorenewal.

Does Skillshare have autorenewal?  Yes. 

How do you cancel?  If you want to cancel your membership to Skillshare you go into your account under payments and you click on Cancel Membership.  Pretty simple, you just have to remember to do it. 

Lucky for me, I had already decided I was going to subscribe for another year because I was just charged for another year last week!    (Must write down my subscription end date on my subscription tracker!)

The Bottom Line: Do I Recommend Skillshare?

I have been having a lot of fun learning on Skillshare and recommend you try it out!  Remember, you get to try it out for free!

Marlena's Rating of Skillshare:
4/5

Pros

  • Large variety of topics
  • SHORT CLASSES
  • Classes have actionable projects
  • Can watch on your own time (no need for a schedule)
  • Can watch on computer or on an app
  • Can watch online or off
  • Affordable
  • Free version with a lot of options
  • FREE TRIAL

Cons

  • The sheer amount of courses can be overwhelming 
  • Skillshare could be more transparent with their price
  • Quality can vary based on the teacher 

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