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- Skillshare is a platform that provides access to more than 25,000 online video courses – many taught by well-known experts.
- If you’re a new user, you can start with a free 14-day trial. Premium costs $13.99 or $32 a month, depending on the plan. There are also discounts for teams, students, and creative service members.
- The courses range in topics from art and design to finance and productivity. I took a writing class taught by one of my favorite authors, Roxane Gay. You can read about the experience below.
As college tuitions skyrocket to the most expensive they’ve ever been, online learning resources are popping up to fill a widening chasm.
Whether you want to pick up a new skill to catch a hiring manager’s eye or tap into your creativity, online platforms are helping democratize higher learning for a fraction of the cost required to enroll in universities.
Of those many online resources, Skillshare is one of the most popular.
Like ClassPass for e-learning, a Skillshare membership gives you unlimited access to over 25,000 adult learning courses across thousands of disciplines – which is convenient whether your objective is advancing your career or learning new hobbies. Classes range from beginner to expert and fall into categories like design, illustration, business, technology, photo, film, entrepreneurship, and writing – and you can sign up for multiple without any extra charge.
Classes are comprised of short, digestible lessons and a hands-on project, which you can share with your class to get feedback from peers or collaborate with the community.
10 popular Skillshare classes:
- Fundamentals of DSLR Photography taught by Justin Bridges, a fashion and portrait photographer
- iPhone Photography: How to Take Pro Photos on Your iPhone taught by Dale McManus, an award-winning YouTuber, photographer, and videographer
- Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type, and Color taught by Aaron Draplin, a designer and founder of Draplin Design Company
- Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact taught by Roxane Gay, the bestselling author of “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger”
- Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate taught by Jarom Vogel, a freelance illustrator who’s done work for Apple, Procreate, and HarperCollins UK
- Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design taught by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, co-directors of the graphic design MFA program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
- Real Productivity: Create Your Ideal Week taught by Michael Karnjanaprakorn, the founder of Skillshare
- Productivity with Evernote: Use One Tool for Everything taught by Lindsey C. Holmes, a productivity consultant and award-winning usability, digital, and tech strategist
- Basic Skills / Getting Started with Drawing taught by Brent Eviston, a drawing instructor with over 20 years of experience
- Social Media Marketing: Top Tips for Growing Your Followers & Going Viral taught by Cat Coquillette, an artist, designer, and founder of CatCoq, an illustration brand.
How much does Skillshare cost?
After the trial, Premium is $32 billed monthly, or $167.88 upfront for the year ($13.99 per month).
There are also volume discounts for teams that sign up together; discounts for members of creative services like Squarespace and Adobe; and, in line with the mission of making learning accessible, current students can get two free months free with a valid .edu email address.
What is using Skillshare like?
I started my own Skillshare membership because one of my all-time favorite authors, Roxane Gay (best known for “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger“), publicized that she was hosting a Personal Essays with Impact class on the site.
Skillshare itself makes ongoing, high-level learning easier with affordable access, quality materials, and lots of variety. But, unexpectedly, the trial process also helped me figure out if, post-grad, I actually wanted to commit to longer writing courses again. In theory, it sounded great. But, I wasn’t certain of it being put into practice until I tried it with the free trial, focused on a subject I was truly interested in.
The downsides to Skillshare to note are that, unlike pay-per-class learning communities like Udemy, you won’t have lifetime access to the courses you take while you’re a member. Once you cancel your membership, you lose access to your class videos and any downloadable material provided by teachers at the end of your current pay period. That means you have to make the most of the time you do plan to pay for the service.
The bottom line
All in all, it’s a good tool for lifelong learners who want variety, expertise, and flexibility, as well as professionals looking for an affordable way to sharpen their career skills or hone their craft – or a blend of the two. For $13.99 or $32 per month, or $139.99 per year (or less if you qualify for a discount), you can take multiple classes across thousands of disciplines. It cuts out the fees and time restrictions of finding and enrolling in a community college course and gives you more variety than most pay-per-class online learning platforms. If that sounds appealing, I recommend trying it free for the first 14 days to see if you can fit it into your lifestyle, too.