MasterClass vs. Skillshare: Which is Best for Learning?

Young student watching lesson online and studying from home. Young woman taking notes while looking at computer screen following professor doing math on video call. Girl studying from home on pc.

MasterClass vs. Skillshare: Which is Best for Learning?

In a world where digital transformation constantly reshapes how we live and learn, where do you turn to fuel your insatiable quest for knowledge?

As traditional classroom boundaries fade away, online platforms rise with the intention of bringing education into your home. Among these, MasterClass and Skillshare stand out, each promising a unique, enriching learning journey.

But the question remains: which one aligns more closely with your aspirations and why? Let’s explore it!

MasterClass vs. Skillshare: Side-by-Side Comparison

A mix of short & long videosMasterClassSkillshare
InstructorsA-list celebritiesA mix of professionals and hobbyists
Production ValuesExtremely highVaries, with Skillshare Originals being top-notch
Course StructureWell-outlined and sequentialFlexible
Pricing (Annual)Starts at $120Starts at $168
Community InteractionLimitedAvailable in many courses
Course FormatLonger videos, structuredA mix of short and long videos
Free Version Available?NoYes, with limited courses

MasterClass vs. Skillshare: What’s the Difference?

It’s essential to distinguish the core features that set MasterClass and Skillshare apart. Both platforms have great appeal for different types of users, but understanding their differences is key to determining the best fit for your learning goals.

Follow along as we break it down below.

Instructors and Talent

At the heart of MasterClass is its captivating lineup of A-list celebrity instructors. It’s not just about learning a topic; it’s about gaining insights from industry icons, be it Natalie Portman on acting or Steph Curry on basketball

Skillshare, however, takes a broader approach. While it does have some renowned figures in its Skillshare Originals, the platform predominantly features professionals and enthusiasts sharing their expertise to offer you tips, best practices, and insights.

Course Production and Quality

MasterClass comes with impressively high-end production. Each course, regardless of the subject, boasts cinematic quality, making it a treat for the eyes and ears. Skillshare, being a more open platform, sees a wider range of production value. While its Skillshare Originals meet high production standards, other user-generated content can vary, reflecting the platform’s community-driven nature.

Pricing and Plans

MasterClass’s tiered pricing system is straightforward, with plans tailored for individuals ($120 per year), duos ($180 per year), or families ($240 per year). Each plan offers complete access, with the only difference being in streaming capabilities. 

Skillshare, in contrast, offers a more flexible approach. Alongside its premium membership priced at $168 per year, it provides a free 30-day trial, allowing learners to test the waters before diving in.

Learning Structure

MasterClass thrives on a structured approach. Courses are meticulously designed to ensure learners progress in a logical manner, building upon each topic. 

Skillshare is a haven for the curious mind. Its courses, especially those not under Skillshare Originals, often allow a more explorative approach, where you can jump between videos based on interest.

Community Interaction

One of Skillshare’s standout features is its community-driven environment. Beyond just learning, students can share their work, get feedback, and even interact with instructors. MasterClass, with its lecture-focused approach, doesn’t offer the same level of peer interaction.

Content Breadth

MasterClass structures its content into eleven distinct categories, ensuring depth in each domain. Skillshare, with its creative-oriented focus, casts a wider net. From business to doodling, its array of topics ensures there’s something for every creative soul.

Course Duration

In terms of video duration, MasterClass leans towards comprehensive, longer videos that dive deeply into subjects. Skillshare, reflecting its flexible ethos, often offers a mix. Some courses have short, bite-sized videos, while others are more expansive.

Quality Assurance

With its curated selection of celebrities, MasterClass consistently offers premium content. Skillshare, in recognizing the variable quality of user-generated content, has put audits in place to ensure learners receive valuable insights, even if the production values might vary.

Gordon Ramsay in a 2013 clip of the short "Food Fight!" of The Muppets
Masterclass boasts lessons with top-notch industry experts, like the culinary expertise of world-renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay


©The Muppets / CC BY 3.0 – License


Both platforms prioritize user experience, but Skillshare takes a slight edge with its free trial. This feature, missing in MasterClass, allows potential learners a sneak peek, ensuring they’re making an informed choice when upgrading.

Understanding the intricacies of platforms like MasterClass and Skillshare can help you decide what online learning platform is best for you. Both have their strengths, and your choice will hinge on what you seek from your online learning experience.

MasterClass vs. Skillshare: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • Course Length Insights: MasterClass courses are typically comprehensive, spanning between 2 to 5 hours split across various lessons. Skillshare, however, showcases diversity in its course durations. Some are brief 20-minute overviews while others are exhaustive sessions stretching over hours.
  • Genesis of the Platforms: MasterClass, birthed in 2015 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen, was driven by the mantra of connecting learners to experts. Contrastingly, Skillshare, a brainchild of Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong in 2010, envisioned an interactive learning and teaching digital ecosystem.
  • Offline Learning Capabilities: MasterClass users have the liberty to download their lessons, ensuring uninterrupted learning sans internet. Skillshare mirrors this feature, enabling learning without a live net connection.
  • Platform Highlights: Skillshare stands out with its “projects and feedback” arena, fostering practical learning and community engagement. Conversely, MasterClass decks out its learners with enriched course materials, embedding thorough notes, assignments, and additional reading.
  • Community Engagement: Skillshare thrives on fostering community dialogues. It offers a space for feedback, collaboration, and active discussions. MasterClass, while not embracing direct community features, leans towards a self-paced, independent learning ethos.
  • Device Flexibility: While both platforms are compatible across a spectrum of devices –- be it PCs or smartphones –- MasterClass delivers a heightened cinematic quality, nudging users to opt for larger displays for an enriched experience. Skillshare, however, prizes flexibility, ensuring seamless learning, even on the go.

Navigating Certifications and Practical Utility

In the ever-evolving realm of online education, the value of a course isn’t just determined by a certificate, but by the tangible skills and insights it provides. As MasterClass and Skillshare dominate the e-learning space, let’s dive into how their offerings translate to real-world utility.

MasterClass: Engaging with the Pioneers

MasterClass, while synonymous with industry stalwarts and curated insights, doesn’t bestow formal certificates post-completion. Yet, the imparted wisdom and methodologies are ripe for real-world adoption, bolstering one’s prowess and expertise.

For professionals within niche sectors, name-dropping a MasterClass during professional dialogues might underscore their dedication to holistic learning.

Skillshare: A Dive into Skill Augmentation and Community Interactions

Skillshare’s strength lies in its pragmatic approach — its assignments and the community-driven feedback mechanisms. While formal certifications are absent here too, the sheer act of course completion coupled with community activity is testimony to its hands-on skill enhancement. 

For the creatively inclined or freelancers, citing Skillshare coursework in their professional portfolios could be a nod to their continuous learning ethos.

Though formal recognitions aren’t a takeaway from either platform, the gained insights and honed skills undeniably supplement any professional’s trajectory, showcasing their dedication to continued skill growth.

Application Scenarios

Choosing between MasterClass and Skillshare mainly depends on your learning goals and personal preferences. While both platforms provide top-tier content, their offerings cater to slightly different niches. Let’s dive into specific scenarios where each platform shines brightest:

When MasterClass Shines

  • For the Aspiring Filmmaker: If you’re diving into the world of film and seeking insights from award-winning directors and actors, MasterClass is a great resource. With courses by industry giants like Martin Scorsese and Natalie Portman, you’re learning from the best in the business.
  • Culinary Enthusiasts: Those searching for culinary wisdom will find incredible value in MasterClass. With lessons from Michelin-starred chefs like Gordon Ramsay, it’s a culinary journey unlike any other.
  • Music Lovers and Musicians: Be it understanding the genius behind deadmau5’s electronic music or learning the nuances of playing the guitar, MasterClass offers music courses by industry icons.

Where Skillshare Stands Out

  • Budding Illustrator or Designer: Embarking on a journey in illustration or design requires hands-on projects, continuous feedback, and a diversity of learning materials. Skillshare comes with a large community and a wide array of design courses, tailored to different creative types.
  • Freelancers and Entrepreneurs: For those venturing into freelancing or entrepreneurship, practical insights on varied topics from marketing and SEO to time management become paramount. Skillshare’s extensive library of business-centric courses is a goldmine for such professionals.
  • DIY Crafters and Hobbyists: If your passion lies in DIY crafts, home decor, or even the simple joys of doodling, Skillshare’s creative courses, enriched by community-driven projects and peer feedback, offer tons of inspiration and learning.
Design Studio Creativity Ideas Wood Palette Decoration Concept
Skillshare focuses on nurturing creativity. Dive deep into design with hands-on courses tailored for creatives



MasterClass vs. Skillshare: Pros and Cons


The platform boasts instruction from A-list celebrities in various fields.The platform sometimes lacks clarity regarding the exact runtime of videos and their filming dates.
The videos on MasterClass are characterized by their exceptionally high production values.Occasional advertisements for other MasterClass courses can disrupt the learning experience.
Each course on MasterClass is meticulously structured to offer comprehensive learning.
MasterClass covers a wide array of topics, catering to diverse learning interests.


Skillshare offers a multitude of topics, especially curated for creatives.There’s no consistent guarantee that instructors will actively engage or participate in community features.
The platform promotes active community interactions, allowing for feedback and collaborative learning.Some videos are filmed in lower quality than others.
One of Skillshare’s notable features includes offering a free trial period.
Courses on Skillshare offer flexibility in terms of length and format, catering to different learning paces.

Wrapping Up 

The ultimate decision between MasterClass and Skillshare will depend on what you seek in an online learning experience.

If high-caliber production led by renowned professionals piques your interest, MasterClass is best for you. For those who are looking for a variety of creative lessons, a large community, and diverse learning formats, Skillshare stands out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are new courses added to MasterClass and Skillshare?

While both platforms regularly update their course offerings, MasterClass typically releases new courses monthly with celebrity experts. Skillshare, given its community-driven model, sees new classes added almost daily, though not all might be of the “Skillshare Originals” quality.

Are there trial periods for either platform?

MasterClass doesn’t offer a free trial, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Skillshare, on the other hand, offers a one-month free trial.

Can I purchase individual courses on either platform?

MasterClass operates on an all-access pass, meaning you gain access to all courses with a single subscription. Skillshare, on the other hand, operates on a membership model, granting access to all courses under its premium subscription. Neither platform typically allows purchasing individual courses.

Which platform offers more beginner-friendly courses?

Skillshare, with its vast array of topics and community-driven content, generally offers more beginner-friendly courses. MasterClass, while catering to all levels, often provides insights from industry experts, which can sometimes be more advanced.

Can I interact with instructors on either platform?

On Skillshare, some instructors actively engage in the community, providing feedback and answering questions. On MasterClass, direct interaction with celebrity instructors is not offered, though the platform occasionally hosts Q&A sessions.

Are there any group or family plans available?

MasterClass offers plans tailored for individuals, duos, or families. Skillshare primarily offers individual memberships, though businesses can make use of Skillshare Teams for multiple users.

Is there a way to gift courses or memberships to someone else?

Yes, both MasterClass and Skillshare offer gifting options. However, while MasterClass gift cards can be individual, Skillshare only offers corporate gift card options.

How customizable are the learning paths on both platforms?

While both platforms offer a range of courses, Skillshare tends to be more flexible, allowing users to jump between unrelated courses based on interest. MasterClass courses are more structured, but you can still learn at your own pace.

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