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.
(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. In this case, I have affiliate links for both Udemy and Skillshare)
Comparing Udemy vs Skillshare at a Glance
|Pricing||Varies between $12.99 – $200||$167.88 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.|
An Overview of Udemy
In this first section of the Udemy vs Skillshare comparison, I’ll detail the key points about Udemy that you must know. If you wish to know more, there’s a link at the end.
What’s Udemy and Who’s it For?
Udemy is an 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 49 million students and over 185,000 courses available.
How is Udemy Priced?
Udemy is priced on a 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. Most creative courses are somewhere in the middle of that range.
That said, 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.
- Use an incognito window to go to the site to make it appear as if you’re a new customer.
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 your 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.
How to Navigate Udemy
Udemy courses are generally video-based and contain a series of online classes on specific topics. They often contain worksheets or assignments, quizzes, and sometimes certificates 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 Trustworthy Is Udemy?
On checking Trustpilot, you can see that Udemy has a very low score – 2.5 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. It’s discouraging.
Q: Are the teachers any good on Udemy?
A: 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.
Q: How do I find the best quality Udemy courses?
A: 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.
We all have to start somewhere and that’s why Udemy courses are popular. This class is by Brent Eviston and has the same courses on both Udemy and Skillshare.
Q: Can I get a refund on my purchase?
A: 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. (See trustworthiness above)
Q: Does Udemy have any free online courses?
A: 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.
If you want to know more go to: Is Udemy Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers
An Overview of Skillshare
In this second section of the Skillshare vs Udemy comparison, I detail the key points about Skillshare that you must know. If you wish to more, there’s a link at the end.
What’s Skillshare and Who’s it For?
Skillshare is an online 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.
How is Skillshare Priced?
Skillshare works on an annual subscription model. 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 is a yearly premium plan that costs $167.88 a year as of 2022. 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.
How to Navigate Skillshare
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. 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.
How Trustworthy is Skillshare?
Unfortunately, Skillshare has a very low rating on Trustpilot with 1.8 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 instructor posted a Skillshare review on Youtube stating that he never received the royalty payment for his course. Several other teachers wrote in with the same problem.
To be fair, there are a decent amount of good reviews as well, enough to determine that Skillshare is not a scam, however, the risk is still there.
Q: Are the teachers any good on Skillshare?
A: 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.
Q: How do I find the best quality Skillshare courses?
A: 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’.
Brent Eviston has the same courses on both platforms
Q: Can I get a refund on my purchase?
A: Skillshare offers a free trial, and you can cancel at any time, but they do not offer refunds once a payment has gone through.
Q: Does Skillshare have any free courses?
A: 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 I stand to lose if things go wrong?
In the case of Skillshare, I might lose a year’s subscription of $168. If I have issues with Udemy, I stand to lose about $20, assuming I 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 I join a membership scheme? I don’t get it.
If I want to learn how to draw, I need a drawing course, not pick and mix of everything, 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. It is for me.
If you want to know how I manage to make a living selling my art you should take a look at this
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