Skillshare vs Udemy: Are Professional Courses Simply Better?

Skillshare Vs Udemy

Skillshare vs Udemy—it’s the ultimate online education platform showdown. These two course platforms are often thought of to be the same, or in direct competition with one another, and there’s some truth to that.

These are user-generated courses, and while they do come with certifications and knowledgeable instructors, there are some striking similarities and stark differences that really set them apart.

What skill do you want to learn? Because they both have massive catalogs of different skills, and dozens—if not, hundreds—of different courses for each skill they offer. The sheer amount of options can be overwhelming, which is why 

Skillshare and Udemy Compared

Skillshare and Udemy are often paired against one another as mortal internet enemies, but is that really true, or do they fill different needs?

We’re going to compare pricing, features, benefits, drawbacks, and the whole nine yards right now.

What is Skillshare?

about skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning platform and community centered around a subscription-based pricing system.

With Skillshare, you can learn hobbyist skills in the creative field, or find new technical skills that you’ve only ever dreamed of learning, and enter a low-priced subscription model to start learning from 20,000+ courses immediately.

Illustration, design, marketing, and more await you through video learning, interactive modules, and a community that’s excited to learn.

What is Udemy?

Udemy homepage

Udemy is one of the oldest online learning platforms available on the internet. With over 130,000 online courses, they offer training from hobbyist skills like playing piano or learning to sew, all the way to technical Javascript coding and digital marketing. You can develop marketable skills or hone a craft on here.

At its core, Udemy is focused on user-generated content. Anyone can make a course on Udemy, and while that has its pros and cons, it brings diversity that you don’t see in many other structured environments in the online education space. Udemy is here to help you achieve your goals through modular learning exercises, video content, downloadable content, and so much more.

What Courses do They Offer?

Both platforms are variety sites, meaning you’ll be able to learn creative and technical skills.

All courses include video content, but some may include written content, downloadable PDFs, interactive modules, and other ways to learn depending on the skill. With Udemy and Skillshare, you can find illustration classes, Microsoft Office classes, learn photography, coding, and just about anything you can think of.

The only difference between the two platforms is the number of courses they offer, which has a wide gap.

Who Teaches the Courses?

udemy teacher

On both platforms, course creators make the platforms and teach them. This gives them an intimate inside-and-out knowledge of how everything works, but beyond that, it also gives them the opportunity to teach you from experience and not just from a script.

With Udemy, there’s a lot of variety. Anyone can sign up, sell a course, and begin teaching people today. Skillshare is a smaller platform, but they still boast good diversity, albeit with tighter restrictions on what courses are and aren’t allowed.

In any instance, you’re still learning from entrepreneurs—people who make courses for the sake of earning a living. This isn’t a bad thing, though; you’re basically being taught by a competitive group of individuals who want to beat one another and make a sale, so they’re constantly battling and improving their courses.

You get the best deals, so no matter what, they’re all competing for your attention. Feels good to be on top, doesn’t it?

Pricing

While both of these platforms offer tons of courses and information, they are priced entirely differently. Find out how each pricing model works and what applies to your current educational needs.

Skillshare

With Skillshare, you get an annual package of $99 per year, or $8.25 per month if you want. You could choose monthly installments instead, but those cost $19.00 per month, or $228 per year, which is still affordable, but a huge jump from their annual plan.

Skillshare also has a way to pay for team memberships, but this doesn’t really apply to many people (more on why in the review below). That’s billed per user on an annual-only basis, and the plans are hand-crafted, so it changes cost depending on your needs.

Udemy

It’s not your standard subscription-based model that Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning use. You buy courses one by one, and because you don’t pay for a subscription, you get lifetime access to just about every course on the platform. There’s no annual charges; you just get to keep on learning.

It can be a wildcard at times. Course creators control how much they charge up to $199 per course, and while there are certainly courses in that range, it’s a lot for a single experience versus a subscription to thousands of courses.

You could end up with a 100,000+ reviewed course that offers 55+ hours of video content and isn’t even $20.00, or you might not. With 130,000 courses to choose from, there’s certainly enough options that you won’t get stuck paying for those big budget courses.

Last but not least, Udemy’s pricing structure enforces one of their core elements: learning at your own pace. You can revisit the course for life, so pay now, take your time to go over one course, and then buy the next one when you’re ready. It really stings to buy a subscription, and when it renews realize “Wait, I didn’t use it this month.” With Udemy, you get exactly what you pay for, whenever and wherever you want it.

Features

What features mean the most to you?

Depending on which platform you choose, you’ll be met with a host of different ways to interact, learn, and take your education journey to the next level. Let’s find out which one will work best for you.

Skillshare

skillshare courses

With Skillshare, you get a very similar design to Udemy in the way that they structure their courses and the ways you can access educational content. That being said, this is what you can expect:

  • Catalog of premium classes
  • High-quality and high-resolution learning materials
  • Excellent customer service for all payment levels
  • Shared learning experiences
  • Offline content viewing for premium members
  • Access to a variety of different skills and hobbies
  • Video content
  • Interactive course modules

That’s not the entire list, but some “features” that they list can come across as arbitrary. You get video, audio, and text-based education with awesome downloadable content.

Udemy

If you go with Udemy and buy individual courses, you can expect the following features on most of the courses offered by independent course creators:

  • Video lectures
  • Audio lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Text-based lectures (articles)
  • Coding exercises
  • Post reviews
  • Direct message with instructor
  • Downloadable certificates of completion

While Udemy may not feature as many benefits as Skillshare in some regards, their library and time-tested modular learning experience speaks volumes. They found a formula that works, and they stick to it.

Teaching Methods of Skillshare

Just like Udemy, Skillshare uses video learning methods through modules.

Basically, you open up a learning module, view the video, and access any course materials (PDFs, text documents, etc.,) that your instructor mentions. You move from module to module until you begin grasping the skill or hobby in question.

Skillshare classes can be very short, but they still follow the same structure. Some classes don’t need to be drawn-out, so Skillshare instructors don’t often waste your time; they keep things nice and tight-knit so you can get what you need and be done with the class.

Teaching Methods of Udemy

udemy business solutions

Udemy uses modular teaching, which has been proven to be effective time and time again (as is evident from other platforms, including Skillshare, doing the same thing).

Not every skill can be taught through a PC, especially if it requires hands-on learning, but a lot of people are visual learners and do benefit from this.

You begin one module, view the video or visual content, review training materials or downloadable content, and then you move on to the next one. The idea is that you’re learning different elements of one skill piece by piece, and building a foundation for working or operating knowledge.

As you go module by module, you’ll have a better understanding of the skill you’re trying to learn. This is a very linear learning path, but it works well.

Skillshare Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Interactive Learning Process: As Skillshare continues to grow, some of their courses add on an interactive element. This helps you stay immersed in the material, but also get some hands-on experience in whatever you’re studying.
  • Wildly Inexpensive: You can sign up for just $8.25 per month through an annual plan, which is pretty nuts. If you’d rather go monthly, it is $19.00 per month, but even then it’s not an outrageous ask. It’s a lot of access to tons of courses for a low cost.
  • Regulated Courses: Skillshare isn’t like Udemy where you can just sign up and teach a course; they’re very picky. This keeps the quality of most courses very high (check cons section), and that’s one reason they’ve been able to stay on top for so long. The “vetting process” isn’t like what you would have for professional educators, but they make sure courses are high quality.

Cons

  • Creative Endeavors Thrive, Other Don’t: Skillshare is often tooted by creative people, such as writers, musicians, and other talented folk. Skillshare tends to have a heavy focus on creativity, and while that’s not bad, the other areas of the site aren’t as broad and don’t offer the same level of quality that creative classes tend to.
  • Not Good for Teams Just Yet: Skillshare boasts this team-based subscription plan, but if that’s why you’re here, it’s time to turn around. Sure, there are some skills on here that your team could benefit, but not enough to sign up for an enterprise package.

Udemy Pros and Cons

pricing plan on udemy

Pros

  • Inexpensive One-Time Purchases: Subscriptions don’t work for everyone. Sometimes we get caught up in life and don’t use it, which is why buying a la carte from Udemy is perfect. You get to buy what you want, and avoid what you don’t. Most courses are discounted or have coupons, so you’re met with a library of 100,000+ attractively-priced courses.
  • It’s a Lifetime Purchase: With 99% of all courses on Udemy, that low cost that we mentioned before is a lifetime price. When you buy a Udemy course, you don’t have to worry about access expiring in 30 days or in a year. You’re a lifelong student, so you can keep coming back again and again to learn, relearn, and brush up on your knowledge.
  • Access to Experts: Ever heard of Masterclass? They charge a ton because they have celebrities teaching you. It’s… eh, not really worth it, not when you have experts in their respective fields with decades of experience sellings courses on Udemy. It was once the internet’s only real choice for online learning, and these experts stick around for a reason: it just works. You can have access to this high-quality level of learning for cheap.

Cons

  • Lack of Structure: A learning path is when one module carries over into the next, and the information compounds until you become proficient in all areas of one skill. That’s how you master something. With Udemy, courses aren’t connected, so you don’t have a clear learning path. You actually have to find that out on your own, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how research-oriented you are.
  • Repeated Content: Some courses almost seem to mimic others in genre, and that’s because there is some information that gets reused throughout multiple courses from different authors. You’ll find this as a common theme in a lot of educational material, but it can get frustrating at times.

Certification

udemy certification

Skillshare doesn’t even provide certificates, so you can’t just bring in a piece of paper and say “I did X.” Now the thing is, Udemy offers certifications, but neither platform is accredited, so you can’t really use this information to get a job or put down a reference on a resume.

What you can do is take technical skills, and allow a potential employer to test you on them. Prove yourself. Most entrepreneurs prefer people that know what they’re doing rather than someone with a briefcase full of degrees and a pocketful of dreams. They don’t want to train people; they want to know that you can do it.

Either way, you can learn skills on both platforms that carry over into you being proficient in a field or career path that you want. If you’re planning on selling music, photographs, art, or anything of the sort that doesn’t require a degree anyway, you can hone those skills on both of these platforms to make sure you have what it takes to succeed.

Who Has the Better App: Skillshare or Udemy?

Udemy usually comes on top for a lot of reasons, but here, we have to give it to Skillshare.

They simply made an app that mimics the website experience, so whether you’re on a smartphone or a tablet, you have this really clean interface that stays consistent across all platforms. That’s just a nice feeling to have.

Udemy doesn’t have a bad app, don’t get me wrong, it just doesn’t meet the same standards that Skillshare has obviously set for their mobile UI team. If we were judges, Skillshare would win this round.

Is One Better for a Specific Skill?

skillshare mobile app

Skillshare tends to be better for creative endeavors. Learning instruments, creative writing, and things of that nature are practically the bread and butter of Skillshare. While they’re still part of Udemy’s entire profile, they’re not going to be the sole reason that someone joins that site.

Udemy is better in about 90% of career skills, technical skills, coding, and job-ready skills. If you’re trying to learn online right now to switch careers or fields within your current career track, Udemy would be your best bet right out of the gate.

You will spend more in a short amount of time, but because you have lifetime access, you can basically just buy the courses you know you’ll need right now and use them later.

Skillshare vs Udemy: Excel

Skillshare has few classes on Excel, but the ones that they do have are fantastic. I would say that in this case, quality absolutely outdoes quantity. You can learn more in less time with Skillshare’s Excel classes than you would with a higher amount of Udemy’s classes. Less time spent, more learned; it’s a no-brainer.

Skillshare vs Udemy: Coding

Skillshare offers a lot of coding classes, but fewer than Udemy, and fewer that are taught by experts in their field. While Skillshare is still growing and new courses crop up all the time, there are longer, more in-depth coding courses on Udemy as of right now.

It’s not uncommon for one instructor to have more than one course, but as of right now, most instructors on Skillshare only have one or two, and they really could be combined to make more high-quality courses.

The Two Biggest Platforms Went Head to Head

Skillshare and Udemy are some of the biggest and most well-known online education platforms that exist.

Their library of user-generated courses range from good to excellent quality; you’ll be able to increase your working knowledge of just about any skill regardless of which platform you choose.

In the end, the striking differences can be balanced out from what the opposite platform lacks, so you’re just met with two great choices that apply to different learning styles and preferred skills.

Skillshare and Udemy don’t have an equal number of courses in every subject, so it’s difficult to assess quality over quantity in some cases, but rest assured: both platforms have plenty to teach you.