Skillshare vs Masterclass: Which Offers Better Value for Learners?

Skillshare vs Masterclass

You might want to learn something new, to get a leg up in your career or just find that creative spark. Sites like Skillshare and Masterclass are out there, tempting you with promises of exciting courses. But which one is going to give you the best return on that hard-earned cash? We’re here to break down the hype and help you make that call.

Skillshare: Platform Overview

If your brain craves variety, Skillshare is its paradise! Imagine a seemingly endless buffet packed with thousands of classes on everything from graphic design to guitar, watercolor painting to web development.  The focus is on giving you the chance to sample a wide range of skills, hobbies, and professional topics at a price that won’t break the bank. It’s learning made flexible – perfect for the curious and those dabbling in different passions.

Skillshare’s been around since 2010, founded with a mission to make creative and practical learning accessible to everyone. Unlike traditional classrooms, Skillshare’s format is built around bite-sized lessons and a strong community vibe. Whether you want to learn the basics of photography, try your hand at animation, or finally figure out what the heck cryptocurrency is, there’s likely a class for it.

Think of it as the “sampler platter” of online learning. Not every offering will be a five-star gourmet experience, but the sheer diversity and affordable pricing make Skillshare an excellent place to discover your hidden talents and get your feet wet in exciting new subjects.

Masterclass: Platform Overview

Masterclass is the place to go if you want to learn directly from the superstars. We’re talking household names like Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking, Natalie Portman on acting, or Serena Williams breaking down her tennis techniques. Forget boring textbooks and stuffy classrooms – Masterclass wants the experience to feel like a personal mentorship session with the world’s leading experts.

Founded a few years after Skillshare, in 2015, Masterclass aims to democratize access to genius. Imagine having an acclaimed author, a legendary athlete, or a visionary chef guide you through their craft. Their lessons are beautifully filmed and expertly structured, going way beyond just surface-level tips. You’re getting insights you won’t find in a typical online course.

While you might assume Masterclass is all about Hollywood, their reach actually extends far beyond that. You’ll find courses on photography, business strategy, chess tactics, interior design, even space exploration! Yes, you can actually learn from an astronaut. If you crave deep dives led by the absolute best in a chosen field, Masterclass delivers on that ambition.

Course Offerings and Content Quality

If we stick with our store analogy, Skillshare truly is like that giant craft store. Aisles packed with supplies for every project imaginable! You’ll find classes on hand-lettering, web design, marketing, photography basics – the list goes on. The quality can be a bit of a mixed bag, since there’s less control over who gets to teach, but that also means you might stumble across some hidden gems.

Masterclass, on the other hand, is like a beautifully curated art gallery. Their course selection is smaller but meticulously chosen. Everything is focused on a specific skill or topic, taught by industry icons. While Masterclass also covers creative fields and business, they extend into less “traditional” learning areas, like a chess grandmaster teaching winning strategy or R.L. Stine teaching writing for young audiences. The content quality is consistently high – polished videos, deep dives into theory, and even downloadable workbooks packed with exercises.

Teaching Styles and Instructor Credentials

This is where the real difference between Skillshare and Masterclass becomes clear. Skillshare instructors tend to be working professionals – designers, artists, entrepreneurs – sharing their practical, in-the-trenches knowledge. The teaching style can be informal, almost like getting advice from a slightly more experienced friend. It’s a great way to get started but might not go as deep as you’d like.

Masterclass goes the opposite direction. Their roster is a who’s-who in various fields. These aren’t just successful people – they’re icons, pioneers, the absolute cream of the crop. This means you’re not just learning skills, but absorbing the philosophies and approaches that made them leaders in the first place. Masterclass productions are also very polished, with a slower pace and often stunning visuals to support the lessons.

In short, Skillshare leans into a community-driven, learn-by-doing vibe. Masterclass is all about taking a masterclass (pun intended) directly from a legend.

Pricing Models and Subscription Benefits

Skillshare gives you unlimited classes for a monthly or annual fee. Sweet deal if you plan to go all in!  Masterclass works a bit differently. You can purchase individual courses or get an annual pass for everything. They sometimes run free trials too, perfect for dipping a toe in.

Learning Experience and Platform Usability

Both Skillshare and Masterclass make it easy to find stuff you’re interested in. Their video quality is top-notch. But Skillshare has a bit of an edge when it comes to community features – sharing projects, giving feedback, that kind of thing feels stronger on their platform.

Pros and Cons of Each Platform

Ok, so there’s a lot of good about both Skillshare and Masterclass. They each are awesome ways to learn, but neither one’s going to be a magical solution for everyone. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each platform is key to figuring out which one fits your learning style and budget. Should you go for the unlimited buffet, or is it worth shelling out for a master class with your personal hero? 

We’ll break down the good and the not-so-good, so you can make that call with confidence.


  • Pluses:
    • Variety: Unbeatable range of subjects, perfect for those who like to explore different interests.
    • Price: Subscription model offers excellent value if you plan to take multiple courses.
    • Sense of Community: Project sharing, forums, and class discussions help you connect with fellow learners.
  • Watch Outs:
    • Instructor Quality: Varies greatly, so you’ll need to pick and choose carefully.
    • Depth: Some classes might feel too basic, especially if you already have some experience.


  • Pluses:
    • High-caliber instructors: Get direct access to the thought processes of top performers.
    • Beautiful Courses: Production quality is top-notch, making the learning experience that much more engaging.
  • Watch Outs:
    • Pricey: Subscription-based with three tiers. Can get pricey if you want full access.
    • Lack of True Interaction: Mostly a one-way learning experience, with limited opportunities to connect with instructors or peers.

Want a second and even third opinion? See what PC Mag and The Motley Fool have to say about Skillshare vs. Masterclass.

Which Platform Offers Better Value?

The real answer? It depends on what you want out of it. If exploration is your thing, and you don’t mind doing a little digging for the best instructors, Skillshare might be the ticket. If you wanna learn something specific from the very best, Masterclass could feel more worth the investment.


The e-learning industry is not only here to stay – it’s growing. The market is projected to reach 279.34 billion by 2029. Now is the time to dip your toes in and start getting accustomed to the online classroom. Finding your footing with Skillshare or Masterclass is no joke – both offer cool ways to learn. Ask yourself: what’s your style? How deep do you wanna dive? That answer will point you in the right direction. Hey, the learning’s already started! 

Josh Hutcheson

E-Learning Specialist in Online Programs & Courses Linkedin

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