MasterClass vs Skillshare: Which Online Learning Platform is Right For You? - History Tools (2024)

Online learning has grown enormously in recent years, with platforms like MasterClass and Skillshare rising to meet the demand. Both aim to bring engaging education right to your home, but they take different approaches.

So how do you decide which platform best fits your learning style and goals? This comprehensive guide explores the key differences and use cases.

Overview and Background

MasterClass, founded in 2015 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen, offers video lessons by celebrity instructors across a variety of niches. Its high production value courses let you gain insights from renowned actors, directors, musicians and more.

In contrast, Skillshare dates back to 2010 when Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong envisioned a learning community for professionals and enthusiasts to share expertise. With over 30 million members, it focuses heavily on creative skills.

While both platforms aim to make learning accessible, MasterClass emphasizes structured learning from industry veterans while Skillshare champions flexibility, variety and peer engagement.

Breaking Down The Differences

Instructors and Talent

The celebrity factor shows clearly in MasterClass‘s impressive lineup of instructors like Martin Scorsese, Serena Williams, Neil deGrasse Tyson and more. Learning from pioneers in their field is a major draw.

Skillshare certainly doesn‘t lack talent, but focuses more on professionals sharing practical skills versus famous names. Though it does partner with some well-known creators for its “Skillshare Originals” courses.

Production Quality

MasterClass sets a very high bar in terms of production value – most classes could pass for professionally produced documentaries! The cinematic editing and visuals enrich the learning experience.

In contrast, production quality varies widely on Skillshare given its community-based approach. But Skillshare Originals meet high standards and the platform has tightened quality guidelines.

Pricing and Plans

For pricing, MasterClass offers tiered annual plans:

  • Individual – $180/year
  • Duo – $240/year
  • Family – $276/year

Its straightforward model grants full access based on number of users.

Meanwhile, Skillshare provides:

  • Premium monthly membership – $19/month

Plus, crucially, they offer an extended 30-day free trial so you can test drive courses risk-free.

Learning Structure

Fans of MasterClass praise its structured, A-to-Z approach to complex topics. Courses methodically build skills and knowledge under the guidance of seasoned veterans.

Skillshare prides itself on diversity of course structures and flexibility though. You can bounce around courses following your curiosity rather than a mandated path.

Community Features

Given its social DNA, Skillshare offers opportunities for learners to share projects, give peer feedback and engage in discussions. This fuels motivation and accountability.

MasterClass, with its solo learning design, does not provide avenues for direct peer interaction. But its engaging celebrity instructors foster inspiration nonetheless.

The table below summarizes some other notable differences between the two platforms:

Course LengthTypically multi-hour comprehensive coursesMix of short modules and longer classes
Course Topics/Categories11 defined categories like film, writing, culinaryWider range focused especially on creative fields
Video DurationGenerally longer videos, 20-40 mins averageMix of microlearning and longer lessons
AccessibilityDownload capability for offline learningAlso enables downloading videos

Key Use Cases and Applications

With a grasp on their differences, which platform should you choose? Here are some top scenarios where each excels:

When MasterClass Wins Out

For Aspiring Directors or Cinephiles

From Martin Scorcese to Jodie Foster, Danny Boyle and more – film buffs rejoice with MasterClass‘s extensive Hollywood access. Learn directing techniques, acting methods and film history straight from Oscar winners.

For Music Lovers and Musicians

Immerse yourself in an artist‘s creative process with MasterClass! Courses from Timbaland, Carlos Santana, deadmau5, Herbie Hanco*ck and others provide rare insight into genres from hip hop production to classical piano.

For Kitchen Wizards

MasterClass offers a world-class culinary education from Michelin star chefs Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck and many more. From knife skills to French pastry, they deliver elite cooking mastery.

When Skillshare Wins Out

For Budding Graphic Designers or Illustrators

Skillshare offers a thriving community and courses geared specifically for designers. With classes in UI/UX design, illustration techniques, logo creation and more – fueled by peer accountability and feedback – Skillshare propels your skills.

For Entrepreneurs or Freelancers

In today‘s economy portfolio careers reign supreme. For those balancing multiple gigs, Skillshare provides hard skills training in social media marketing, branding, productivity hacks, financial management and much more – crucial knowledge for business owners.

For DIY and Crafting Devotees

Unleash your inner maker! For hobbyists devoted to doodling, jewelry-making, knitting, sewing, candle-making and endless creative outlets, Skillshare offers droves of classes to spark ideas and teach practical techniques.

Evaluating Certification Value

You might ask whether completing courses on these platforms leads to tangible certification to highlight on your resume or portfolio?

The truth is neither MasterClass nor Skillshare focus on formal accreditations or certificates. However, showcasing the knowledge gained can still provide genuine professional value.

For MasterClass, mentioning a course by Martin Scorsese or Neil deGrasse Tyson often sparks intrigue given their renown. It signals devotion to world-class insight from pioneers.

Meanwhile, listing a Skillshare class demonstrates hands-on, practical experience – especially vital for creatives. Documenting projects, community contributions and feedback can act as proof of real competencies, not just passive viewing.

In other words, don‘t underestimate the genuine abilities you build!

Examining Pros and Cons of Each

✅ Truly high production quality instruction from celebrities✅ Active community features foster accountability
✅ Structured courses offer in-depth learning✅ Wide range of creative topics and courses
✅ Engaging cinematic viewing experience✅ Flexibility in course structures appealed to different learning styles
✅ Covers wide variety of categories from sports to writing✅ 30-day free trial enables risk-free exploration
❌ No avenues for direct peer or instructor interaction❌ Quality varies somewhat given user-generated content
❌ No free trial option❌ Instructors don‘t necessarily provide hands-on feedback

Summing It All Up

When choosing between MasterClass and Skillshare, start by analyzing what most aligns with your learning priorities:

  1. Access to big-name instructors – MasterClass
  2. Flexibility in course topics/structures – Skillshare
  3. Peer community engagement – Skillshare
  4. Highly produced, premium video quality – MasterClass
  5. Budget considerations – Skillshare offers free trial

The "right" platform depends hugely on personal preferences and learning style. But by clarifying your goals, you can determine if all-access wisdom from world famous experts sounds more enticing or choosing-your-own-adventure creative lessons better fit the bill!

Both can expand your knowledge and skills tremendously – simply start your journey aligned to what matters most in your educational experience.

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MasterClass vs Skillshare: Which Online Learning Platform is Right For You? - History Tools (2024)


MasterClass vs Skillshare: Which Online Learning Platform is Right For You? - History Tools? ›

Both Skillshare and Masterclass offer a wide range of courses, but the focus of each platform is different. Masterclass is more focused on creative fields like writing, music, and visual arts, while Skillshare offers a broader range of courses in areas like business, technology, and lifestyle.

Is Skillshare or MasterClass better? ›

It simply depends on your preference — nothing more, nothing less. The bottom line is this: if you are looking to sharpen your skills in a specific creative industry, opt for Skillshare. If you love entertainment and want to learn from the pros on a wide variety of topics, MasterClass is for you.

What is the disadvantage of MasterClass? ›

Cons of MasterClass

Cost: MasterClass requires a subscription fee, which may be prohibitive for some users. There is also no monthly subscription available; the full annual amount is due to sign up for MasterClass.

What is better than Skillshare? ›

Skillshare 7 alternatives
  • Udemy - "Course selling" Skillshare alternative. Source: Udemy. ...
  • Teachfloor - "All-in-one" Skillshare alternative. Source: Teachfloor. ...
  • Kajabi - "Online course" Skillshare alternative. Source: Kajabi. ...
  • Creative Live. Source: Creative Live. ...
  • Thinkific. Source: Thinkific. ...
  • Teachable. Source: Teachable. ...
  • Podia.

What is the best online education platform? ›

The 13 Best Online Learning Platforms in 2024
  • Khan Academy.
  • FutureLearn.
  • Coursera.
  • 360Training.
  • MasterClass.
  • edX.
  • Mindvalley.
  • (Bonus) CareerFoundry.
Jan 25, 2024


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