In this post, I’ll be comparing Udemy vs Skillshare, two of the most popular online course platforms, to determine which one is best for artists and designers. This is the quick answer:
Udemy offers the best deal overall. Udemy courses are sold individually, often at huge discounts, and with unlimited access. Skillshare offers a yearly membership with access to every course which ends with the subscription. The best instructors appear on both platforms, on that basis, Udemy is the best value.
With that in mind, it’s only my opinion, your circumstances might differ, so let’s look at the pros and cons and you can make an informed decision
Comparing Udemy vs Skillshare at a Glance
|Pricing||Varies between $12.99 – $200||$168.00 per year|
|Business Model||Mainly pay-per-course||Subscription only|
|Refund Policy||30-day refund policy on individual courses||Cancel within 7 days or a 30-day free trial period, then no refunds|
|Free Courses||Yes||Advertised but I’m unable to access them.|
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An Overview of Udemy vs Skillshare
In this first section of the Udemy vs Skillshare comparison, I’ll detail the key points about Udemy that you must know.
Udemy is a global marketplace and online learning platform that offers video lessons on just about any subject you can imagine. You can learn at your own pace with lifetime access to each course purchased. They currently have over 210,000 courses available, 52 million students, and 74,000+ instructors.
Each course is required to offer at least 30 mins of HD-quality video lessons in 5 modules.
Skillshare is an online course platform with courses that focus on mainly creative and entrepreneurial skills. Skillshare has video courses available for all skill levels on a yearly subscription plan that includes both complete courses and bite-sized content in short single classes.
Most Skillshare classes are under 60 minutes long, but some are longer and include the ability to collaborate on projects and get feedback from the instructors. Like Udemy, Skillshare is an open teaching platform, and not all of the courses are of good quality. It matters less on Skillshare because you can cherry-pick the best courses and ditch the worst without penalties.
User Experience Overview
- Udemy: Udemy’s platform is easy to navigate, with a clear course layout and progress tracking. They also offer features like Q&A and direct messaging with instructors.
- Skillshare: Skillshare’s platform is user-friendly with a focus on community interaction. Users can follow other members, join groups, and participate in class projects. However, some users find the search function less effective than Udemy’s.
Course Structure: Udemy vs Skillshare
How to Navigate Udemy
Courses on Udemy are structured into sections and lectures. Each lecture can include videos, slides, text, and additional resources. The length of courses varies widely, from 30 minutes to over 50 hours, depending on the topic and depth of content.
Udemy courses are primarily video-based and contain a series of online classes on specific topics. They often contain worksheets or assignments, quizzes, and sometimes a certificate of completion.
You can filter courses on Udemy via the search bar if you know what you’re looking for or via the filters on the left-hand side of the screen.
The filters include:
- Video Duration
You can also sort by:
- Most Relevant
- Most Reviews
- Highest Rated
You can click on particular courses to learn more about them. This includes the course content, the cost, information about the instructor, and reviews from previous students. If you like what you see, you can buy the course and it’ll be yours forever.
How to Navigate Skillshare
Skillshare courses are structured as a series of short videos, typically ranging from 20 to 60 minutes in total. Each course also includes a class project to apply what you’ve learned.
Skillshare allows you to search by keyword to filter courses. There’s also a panel on the left-hand side where you can filter by:
- Class Type: All / Original / Staff Pick
- Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
- Created Within: All Time / Month / Week / Day / Year
- Class Length: < 15 min / 15-30 min / 30-60 min / > 60 min
You can also choose to browse through the list of categories available (see below). Each of the categories point to subcategories and those point to topics.
For each category, you can choose to search by featured, popular, or trending courses.
Additionally, Skillshare offers you the option to look through a curated ‘Staff Picks’ category, which sets a minimum quality that course creators must meet to get featured. There’s also an ‘Originals’ category, which consists of courses directly produced in-house by Skillshare.
Pricing Plans and Deals: Comparison
Udemy is priced on a pay-per-course basis, and because Udemy instructors are able to set their own prices the costs vary. The cheapest courses are around $12.99, while the most expensive ones can be as much as $200, with frequent sales and discounts. Most creative courses are somewhere in the middle of that range.
There are frequent discounts available of 75% off or more, so it’s rarely necessary to pay the full price for a course. You can buy discounted courses from when you first sign up.
If you want to search for deals, there are a few things you can try:
- Sign up for their newsletter and they’ll send you offers and discounts
- Search the web for third-party discount codes or coupons.
- Search for Udemy and encourage the cookies to bombard you with ads
In addition to the pay-per-course pricing option, Udemy now offers a personal monthly subscription plan, though it’s not available to everyone currently. This is billed at £29.99 per month here in the UK and is likely to be similar in the US.
For this personal plan, Udemy curates a collection of the best courses for you based on what you’re looking for. You can access these courses for as long as you’re subscribed to the plan. However, when you consider how often Udemy runs discounts on those same courses, it’s not exactly the best deal.
Skillshare works on an annual subscription model and users get unlimited access to all courses on the platform. They do offer a 7-day free trial on their website, but if you look around you can often find a 30-day free trial offered. It’s worth noting that they’ll ask for your payment details before the free trial begins.
Currently, the main subscription option available is a yearly premium plan that costs $168 a year as of 2023. This plan is auto-renewed, so make sure you take note of that and read through the terms and conditions carefully before you buy. Set a reminder on your calendar before the renewal date.
Skillshare also offer team plans with no free trial. This is priced at $159 per year, per person. It doesn’t offer access to every class on the website – only 35,000! To be fair, that’s enough.
There’s also an ‘Enterprise’ plan and a ‘Revive’ plan, but you’ll have to contact Skillshare directly for pricing information about those.
Aside from all that, Skillshare also offers four week-long classes with small groups, led by industry experts and top teachers. They package these Chromacourses courses at $499 each, but I can’t see the added benefit warrants the extra money.
Topics Covered: Udemy vs Skillshare
Udemy offers a wide range of course categories, making it a versatile platform suitable for a wide audience.
Here are the main categories and the target audience for each:
Udemy’s development category is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in coding and programming, offering courses in web and mobile app development, programming languages, game development, and more. It caters to all levels, from beginners starting their coding journey to seasoned programmers expanding their skill set.
Finance & Accounting
This category provides a wide array of courses covering finance fundamentals, financial analysis, investing, trading, and more. It’s ideal for finance professionals, business owners, or individuals seeking to improve their personal finance management.
Udemy’s office productivity category offers courses designed to enhance efficiency in the workplace, focusing on mastery of essential software tools like Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite, SAP, and Oracle. These courses equip learners with the skills needed to excel in a modern office environment.
Business & Entrepreneurship
These courses are ideal for individuals looking to start their own business, improve their business skills, or understand the dynamics of the business world. Topics include everything from business fundamentals, entrepreneurship, business strategy, operations, project management, business law, and industry-specific knowledge.
IT & Software
This category is perfect for tech enthusiasts, IT professionals, or anyone interested in gaining technical skills. Courses cover a wide range of topics including data science, software development, IT certification, network & security, and hardware.
These courses are designed for individuals looking to improve their personal skills and overall well-being. Topics include personal productivity, leadership, personal transformation, career development, happiness, and even parenting & relationships.
For creative individuals interested in graphic design, web design, user experience design, game design, and more, Udemy’s design courses are a great resource.
Ideal for professionals looking to upskill in the marketing field, these courses cover digital marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, branding, marketing fundamentals, analytics & automation, and more.
This category is for anyone interested in pursuing a hobby or learning more about lifestyle topics. Courses range from arts & crafts, food & beverage, beauty & makeup, travel, gaming, and home improvement.
Photography & Video
For aspiring photographers and videographers, these courses offer lessons on digital photography, photography tools, commercial photography, video design, and more.
Health & Fitness
Individuals interested in improving their health and fitness can benefit from courses on fitness, general health, nutrition, yoga, mental health, dieting, self-defense, safety & first aid, and more.
For music enthusiasts and aspiring musicians, Udemy offers courses on music techniques, instruments, production, music fundamentals, music software, and more.
Teaching & Academics
This category is perfect for educators and students alike, offering courses on engineering, humanities, math, science, online education, social science, language, and more.
Udemy is for anyone and everyone who is eager to learn. Whether you’re a professional looking to upskill, an individual pursuing a hobby, or just someone looking to improve personal skills, Udemy has something to offer most people.
Skillshare primarily focuses on creative fields, making it an ideal platform for individuals seeking to explore their creativity, learn new skills, or enhance their portfolio. Here are the main categories and the target audience for each:
This category is perfect for aspiring designers or professionals looking to improve their skills. Courses cover graphic design, web design, user experience design, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, you’ll find courses that suit your needs.
For photography enthusiasts and professionals, Skillshare offers courses on various aspects of photography, including digital photography, photography tools, and commercial photography. These courses can help you improve your photography skills or even start a career in photography.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer or a professional looking to hone your skills, Skillshare’s writing courses offer a wealth of knowledge. Courses cover creative writing, business writing, blogging, and more.
This category is ideal for individuals interested in drawing and illustration. Courses cover various techniques and styles, helping you improve your skills or explore new styles.
For those interested in the world of animation, Skillshare offers courses on various aspects of animation, including 2D and 3D animation, character animation, and more.
These courses are designed for individuals looking to start their own business or improve their entrepreneurial skills. Topics include business fundamentals, business strategy, marketing, and more.
Ideal for professionals looking to upskill in the marketing field, these courses cover digital marketing, social media marketing, branding, and more.
This category is for anyone looking to improve their productivity and efficiency, whether in personal life or at work. Courses cover topics like time management, organization, goal setting, and more.
Film & Video
Skillshare’s Film & Video category is for aspiring filmmakers and video editors. It offers courses on various aspects of filmmaking, including cinematography, video editing, and even specific software tutorials, making it an ideal platform for anyone looking to break into the film industry or enhance their video production skills.
This category is perfect for individuals interested in traditional art forms. It offers courses on painting, sketching, sculpture, and more, providing an online space for artists to learn, practice, and enhance their fine art skills.
For music enthusiasts and aspiring musicians, Skillshare offers courses on music production, songwriting, instruments, and more. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn an instrument or a seasoned musician interested in music production, this category has something to offer.
This category is ideal for aspiring UI/UX designers or professionals looking to upskill. It offers courses on the principles of UI/UX design, specific design tools, and even courses on how to build a portfolio, making it a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in the field of UI/UX design.
Skillshare’s Lifestyle category offers a variety of courses on topics ranging from cooking to home decor. These courses are perfect for anyone looking to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or simply enhance their lifestyle.
Skillshare is primarily for creative individuals looking to learn new skills, enhance their portfolio, or explore a new hobby. However, with courses in entrepreneurship and marketing.
How Do Course Creators Compare on Udemy and Skillshare?
Both Udemy and Skillshare permit anyone to submit courses. No qualifications are required although some minor checklists do apply.
Udemy For Course Creators
Udemy is an open platform, meaning anyone can publish a course, consequently, there are a lot of low-quality courses. Udemy has stated they’re attempting to fix content quality, but that aside, its high-quality courses are as good as you can find elsewhere.
Instructors set their own course prices and receive a percentage of the revenue, ranging from 37% to 97% depending on how the student was acquired.
Skillshare For Course Creators
Skillshare is also an open platform and anyone can post a course on Skillshare, and unfortunately, this leads to many low-quality courses. That said, Skillshare does work hard to promote its top instructors, and they make professional in-house courses too. They have plenty of quality courses available.
Instructors are paid per minute watched by premium members and can also earn referral bonuses.
You soon get to recognize familiar instructors appearing on both platforms. It makes sense. These are open platforms and it figures that when you go to the trouble of creating your course you will want to maximize your reach.
Here’s an example for you:
Brent Eviston is on Udemy. with over 73,000 students!
Brent Eviston on Skillshare with 107,000 students (updated 2023)
Strengths and Weaknesses of Udemy and Skillshare
Udemy – Pros and Cons
- Wide variety of course topics
- The pay-per-course model can be more cost-effective for focused learning
- Lifetime access to purchased courses
- The quality of courses can vary
- Poor customer support
Skillshare – Pros and Cons
- Strong focus on creative skills
- The subscription model provides unlimited access
- Community-centered learning with class projects
- Less variety in course topics
- The quality of the courses can vary
- No lifetime access to courses without a subscription
- Poor customer support
Trust Ratings: Udemy vs Skillshare
How Trustworthy Is Udemy?
On checking Trustpilot, you can see that Udemy has a very low score – 2 out of 5 stars. The main complaints are a lack of customer support, poor course quality, and either not honoring refunds, or issuing refunds in Udemy credits instead of returning the money, none of which is very encouraging.
How Trustworthy is Skillshare?
Unfortunately, Skillshare has a very low rating on Trustpilot 1.5 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint seems to be that customers were charged for a year’s membership even after canceling the free trial! At $168.00 that’s a big deal. Poor customer service and class quality are also common complaints.
Some instructors have issues too. A former Skillshare instructor posted a Skillshare review on Youtube stating that he never received the royalty payment for his course. Several other teachers wrote in the comments section with the same problem.
To be fair, there are a decent amount of good reviews on both platforms, enough to determine that Udemy and Skillshare are not scams. However, the risk is still there.
Can I get a refund if I’m not satisfied with the course?
- Udemy: Yes. If you aren’t satisfied with a course, you can get a full refund up to 30 days after you purchased it. As for the personal plan, it has a 7-day free trial and you can cancel anytime.
- Skillshare: Skillshare offers a free trial, and you can cancel at any time, but they don’t offer refunds once a payment has gone through. (Check their trustworthiness above)
Can I access courses offline?
- Udemy: Yes, you can download individual lectures, sections, or an entire course for offline viewing on the Udemy app.
- Skillshare: Yes, premium members can download classes to the Skillshare app on an iOS or Android device for offline viewing.
How do I find the best quality courses?
- Udemy: The best way to find a quality course is to check Udemy’s Bestseller tag. You can also check the reviews for individual instructors to see how previous students have rated them, as well as how many students have taken their courses.
- Skillshare: To find the best Skillshare courses, you can check the search filter for the most popular classes and top teachers. You can also check the reviews other students have left, and look at the instructor’s profile to check their credentials and experience. There’s also a rating system for how well the class met expectations — the best will fall under ‘Exceeds Expectations’.
Do Udemy and Skillshare offer course certificates?
- Udemy provides a certificate of completion once you’ve completed all the course content for a paid course. However, it’s important to note that these completion certificates are not officially recognized by employers or institutions as they are not an accredited institution.
- Skillshare does not provide certificates of completion for its courses. The platform focuses more on the learning experience and the application of practical skills through projects.
Are there any free online courses?
- Udemy: Yes, Udemy has many free courses in their resource center – currently 539 of them to be exact. However, if you search the word ‘free’ on Udemy, you will get a lot more results – around 10,000, in fact. Confusing.
- Skillshare: In theory they do but I can’t access any free classes without signing up for a free trial. Maybe you can somehow, but my trust isn’t there.
If you want to know more go to: Is Skillshare Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
Udemy vs Skillshare: Final Thoughts
On the face of it, the most striking things about the two platforms are their similarities. They both have a low barrier of entry for course creators, have a huge number of courses, and the best teachers often appear on both platforms.
Udemy and Skillshare are easy to navigate, but given that Skillshare offers courses more focused on the arts, and its interface is cleaner, Skillshare wins on that score.
Sadly they also share poor ratings on Trustpilot.
You will find valuable courses on either site so how do you choose the best?
It all comes down to the basics. Both platforms have reliability worries concerning refunds. In other words, what do you stand to lose if things go wrong?
In the case of Skillshare, you might lose a year’s subscription of $168. If you have issues with Udemy, you stand to lose about $20, assuming you buy a course at a discount. That’s quite a difference.
Udemy has a pay-as-you-go business model with unlimited access and Skillshare has a yearly membership with limited access. Why on earth would you join a membership scheme? I don’t get it.
If I want to learn how to draw, I need a drawing course, not a pick and mix of everything else, and besides, how many new skills can you really learn in a year?
When I pay money, I want to keep what I’ve paid for, and to hell with recurring subscriptions and renting access.
For that reason, I have to conclude that Udemy is better than Skillshare for most artists and designers.
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