When it comes to learning new skills online, Skillshare and Masterclass are two of the most popular course platforms out there, but there are some key differences between the sites. In this Skillshare vs Masterclass breakdown, we’ll tell you all about the similarities and differences between the two, pointing out what each does well, where they could improve, and most importantly, helping you figure out which one (if any) is the best fit for your needs.
Sure, they are both course platforms that can help you learn about everything from building a successful business to cooking your favorite gourmet meal.
And yes, both sites offer top-notch quality content from some of the most respected instructors in the industry.
But beyond that, there are still a few major differences between them.
In some ways, comparing Masterclass vs Skillshare is like comparing apples to oranges.
That’s why we’ve put together this full side-by-side guide to help you clearly understand the similarities and differences between the two sites.
We looked at things like pricing, teacher quality, lesson quality, course selection, device allocation, and other factors.
We determined that we love both services, but they should be used under different circumstances.
Masterclass shines if you’re looking for A-list talent to teach you the tricks of their trade. It’s for hobbyists looking to brush up on their skills. Think of it as sitting in on a guest lecture from a celebrity who’s sharing their story and unique perspective on a topic (e.g. Gordon Ramsay offering his insights into being a better cook and walking you through some recipes).
Skillshare is more popular for people looking to upskill some niche skills. For example, on Skillshare you might take a class on the fundamentals of Excel or Word from a teacher you might not have ever heard of but who has experience in the field. For the sake of our comparison, taking a course on Skillshare might be more comparable to signing up for a class at your local community college.
All in all, your pick between Skillshare and Masterclass will likely come down to what you’re trying to learn, why you’re trying to learn it, and how you want to learn it. Both services come highly recommended, but they are different.
Find out more in our full 2023 Skillshare vs Masterclass comparison below.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is the ultimate website for learning just about anything imaginable. You can explore 30,000+ online classes across countless categories, from business to hobbies and more.
Skillshare is an online education portal that gives people the chance to learn and/or teach a variety of topics.
Since 2011, Skillshare has helped to create and manage tens of thousands of classes. Right now, there’s an estimated 34,000+ courses available on the platform.
Over 12 million people have tried Skillshare and taken part in an active community of learners.
You can find a wide range of technical, professional, and creative classes taught by industry professionals and experts covering topics like web design, videography, digital art, UI/UX design, music, digital marketing, data science, data entry, Microsoft Excel, entrepreneurship, project management, time management, freelancing, and more.
Skillshare is great with both creative hobbyists and upskillers looking to build practical skills to further their personal or professional aspirations.
You can learn how to brush up on your computer or marketing skills, but you can also learn more about photography, art, or even cooking.
With nearly 40,000 classes, there is something available for learners of every skill level.
Overall, there are two types of Skillshare classes — Originals and user-created courses.
Skillshare Originals are courses created and produced by Skillshare. These classes are often taught by recognizable names in their industries, like Seth Godin, Jonathan Van Ness, Guy Kawasaki, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
In addition to learning, Skillshare allows anyone that has a working knowledge of something to create classes. If you have a high level of knowledge about something, you’re able to create a class. That said, there are specific guidelines in place to make sure that each class is up to Skillshare standards.
These are the user-created courses.
Depending on your point of view, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Some see it as a positive as niche experts in their fields can share their knowledge and experience with everyone. That’s what allows Skillshare to have such a huge catalog of courses covering basically any topic imaginable.
Others may see it as a negative as they feel some less-than-stellar courses could theoretically find their way into the platform.
Regardless, Skillshare has plenty to offer for those looking to explore their curiosity or hone in on specific skills. With an ever-growing list of courses, you’ll be able to find something that matches your interests or goals.
Skillshare works on a subscription model. You pay one price annually and you get access to every single class that Skillshare has to offer.
You can take as many classes as you want and if you don’t like one, you can just move on to another. You can take the classes online or you can download classes and learn offline.
You’ll have the option of learning via computer or mobile devices.
A free 30-day trial is available if you want to try Skillshare before signing up.
Pros & Cons of Skillshare
- One annual fee for everything Skillshare has to offer
- New classes are regularly available
- Many classes can be taken in less than an hour
- Classes are available on virtually every topic imaginable
- Offline access is available for classes
- A free trial of Skillshare is available for 30 days
- If you just want to take one class, the subscription model makes it an expensive choice
- Whether or not instructors participate in the community features will vary
- The feedback process from fellow learners can vary and is sometimes unhelpful
- Some user-created courses might not be as good as others
What is Masterclass?
Since 2015, Masterclass has been on the scene offering hobbyists a chance to learn from some of the world’s biggest celebrities, like Alicia Keys, Gordon Ramsay, Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman, Bill Clinton, John Legend, Melinda Gates, and others.
Each class is offered in video format (the production quality is second to none), and most lessons are between 5 to 15 minutes each, with each course having 15-20 lessons typically.
You’ll also receive a class workbook with lesson suggestions, additional reading, and other offerings from your class professor.
Currently, more than 180 classes taught by celebrity instructors are available on topics like photography, fashion, business, singing, cooking, acting, personal development, and more. Not only that, but Masterclass also offers additional content like Masterclass Sessions — a 30-day cohort-style, structured curriculum with a group of learners and a Masterclass instructor — and original series.
While you can certainly learn some useful skills on Masterclass, it’s not a place where you’ll master a subject or earn a certification for work. For example, you won’t find any technical courses on learning a specific software program or anything along those lines.
That’s not to say that Masterclass won’t be a great place to start learning something new, or that you won’t gain some valuable knowledge from the courses. It’s just important to be aware of the fact that you won’t become an expert in any subject after watching the videos.
At its core, Masterclass is designed for helping people learn something new for personal enrichment or enjoyment rather than professional development.
It’s all about learning for the sake of learning, and having fun along the way!
If that’s what you’re looking for, Masterclass is definitely worth the investment. You’ll get top-notch instruction from A-list industry professionals, access to a supportive community of fellow hobbyists, and lots of helpful resources and tools to help you get the most out of your learning experience.
Masterclass also offers a subscription model. You can choose an annual plan for yourself, or you can opt for a family plan.
Once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to take as many classes as you want. You’ll even be able to put classes you want to take in a hub for easy use.
You’ll also have a record of previous classes you’ve taken, so you can go back and review videos or gain access to the class extras whenever you want them.
All the materials and videos are yours to enjoy for as long as you remain a member of Masterclass.
More than anything, with Masterclass, you’re paying for the knowledge gained from A-list celebrities. You might sign up because you want to learn to sing like Christina Aguilera, cook like Gordan Ramsey, or frame the perfect photo like Annie Leibovitz.
You can be certain that every Masterclass instructor is in the top tier of their field.
So, whether you’re learning about marketing or screenwriting, you’re going to be learning from people that have become a success using the strategies that they are teaching you.
This is another key differentiator when it comes to Masterclass vs Skillshare. You know you’re getting the best of the best, and the production quality is best in class.
Masterclass does not offer any free courses to sample before signing up. Additionally, they do not offer any type of free trial.
What you will get though is a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you do sign up and discover that Masterclass isn’t for you, you’ll be able to get your money back.
Pros & Cons of Masterclass
- Over 180 classes available for one annual fee
- Multiple membership options available for one, two, or a family plan
- Courses are taught by world leaders and A-list celebrities
- You are protected with a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee
- A dedicated hub in your account is available for all the classes you’ve taken and want to take
- Excellent production quality of class videos
- No free classes to sample
- No free trial to experience the service before paying
- Only around 180 Masterclass courses are available at this time, which is far less than most competitors
Price Comparison: Skillshare vs Masterclass
Both Skillshare and Masterclass offer annual subscriptions that give you access to the entire course catalog to go through as you please. You can take a couple of classes or all of them if you want. Both of these online learning platforms are very affordable for all that they offer.
Overall, Masterclass is slightly less expensive than Skillshare, but not by a ton.
Skillshare is available for around $165 per year. They start you off with a free trial that lasts for 30 days. Your membership gives you access to over 34,000 online courses with more being added all the time.
In contrast, Masterclass has multiple membership options.
An individual membership is available for $120 per year. The Masterclass Duo plan includes support for two devices and offers offline options for $180 annually. Finally, there’s a family plan that includes support for 6 devices at $240 per year.
A couple of times a year — usually during the holidays — Masterclass will run a buy one, get one free membership deal which is a great way to gift someone else a membership without paying more.
You won’t get to sample any classes beforehand and there isn’t a free trial unless you get a current Masterclass user to send you one of their free trial invites.
Course Selection: Skillshare vs Masterclass
When it comes to a comparison of classes and teachers, Skillshare and Masterclass couldn’t be more different.
For starters, Skillshare has over 34,000 classes and Masterclass has over 180.
On the Skillshare app, you can find courses in almost any skill you can think of, with classes ranging from blogging to graphic design.
On the Masterclass platform, there are only certain categories that they offer but the classes are taught by renowned experts in their fields. Masterclass instructors are true icons in their fields.
Naturally, Skillshare has more content and they cover more categories. While you can take a class on music, writing, or something else creative, they also have a huge number of classes that will enhance your computer skills, teach you marketing, or enhance your business and career opportunities.
Masterclass does have some classes that are on marketing or other business topics, but most classes are related to either creative pursuits or how to market and succeed at your creative projects. For the most part, Masterclass is aimed at helping users develop soft skills, like creative thinking and communication, rather than technical skills.
Both services are subscription models that offer you the chance to take any available class you want, but that’s a huge difference in content from one service to the next.
Winner: Skillshare. While both platforms offer great courses and they’re each trying to do something different from one another, Skillshare’s vast selection makes its course catalog more appealing for most people.
Instructor Credentials: Skillshare vs Masterclass
It’s important to consider who is teaching the courses you’re taking online.
Skillshare does allow just about anyone with knowledge on a topic to become a teacher for that subject. You could make and submit a class, all on your own. There are rules and guidelines, so there is a level of standard that must be met. Beyond that, it’s possible that you won’t know who many of the Skillshare instructors are.
Masterclass only partners with celebrities and world leaders to create classes for the platform. You’ll find the top sports stars, musicians, filmmakers, and writers telling you all you need to know to enhance your creative endeavors.
As we mentioned earlier, Skillshare is more akin to taking a class at your local community college while Masterclass is like sitting in on an exclusive guest lecture from a world-renowned icon.
Interface & Ease of Use: Skillshare vs Masterclass
One often overlooked factor to consider when choosing an online learning platform is the interface and ease of use. The user experience should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and have a design that puts the content front and center.
From the sign-up process to navigating the courses, both Skillshare and Masterclass do a great job of making their respective platforms accessible to users.
While Skillshare’s huge course catalog might seem intimidating, they do a very good job of categorizing content to make it easy to find. Additionally, their search feature allows users to quickly find what they’re looking for. And once you’re inside a course, browsing through the video lessons is a breeze.
Masterclass also offers an elegant user experience. They have fewer courses, but that makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. The app itself calls to mind Netflix, with a sleek and modern design that allows you to quickly browse and search courses and watch the video classes on whatever device you want.
In conclusion, both Skillshare and Masterclass offer great user experiences with their intuitive interfaces and ease of use. So regardless of which platform you choose, you’re sure to have a great time learning.
Production Quality: Skillshare vs Masterclass
The production quality of Skillshare courses can vary greatly from one class to the next. Some are very well filmed and produced, while others are more homemade.
Masterclass, on the other hand, is very consistent in its production quality. Every lesson is filmed with high-end cameras and professional lighting, creating a viewing experience that’s nothing short of cinematic. It feels like you’re watching a course made for the big screen.
Bottom Line in Our Comparison of Skillshare vs Masterclass
Both Skillshare and Masterclass have plenty to offer where the online learning space is concerned.
We’re fans of both platforms and can see the need for both, but for different reasons.
Masterclass is the only place where you can learn something like tennis from Serena Williams or filmmaking from Ron Howard or Martin Scorsese. Add that to the top-notch production quality and it’s easy to see why people would want to head over to Masterclass and learn something new.
Skillshare may not come with that level of star power, but they have still tens of thousands of classes taught by industry experts.
While Masterclass is going to be best for a general audience or someone to brush up on their creative skills, Skillshare is more suited for working professionals hoping to upskill or build new skills relative to their career.
The best service for you is going to come down to what you’re looking to learn.