image ofSkillshare, Udemy & YouTube

Skillshare, Udemy & YouTube: The Truth Behind Paid and Free Online Courses

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What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is an online learning platform for people who wish to learn from educational videos through a paid subscription.

During an interview, Elon Musk was asked if Tesla only recruited people who graduated from college or University. Musk answered that he wanted to ensure Tesla recruiting does not have anything that says the company requires university since he finds this absurd. However, he requires evidence of exceptional ability because if there is a track record of a person’s exceptional achievement, it’s likely that this will go on into the future. This is one reason why courses in online platforms like Skillshare, Udemy and YouTube have been gaining ground.

Musk believes you don’t need college “to learn stuff” and everything is available for the taking, basically for free. Many people around the world share this sentiment. Thus, people are foregoing college since they find it impractical, expensive, and time-consuming. Consequently, the pursuit of knowledge via online courses in platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, YouTube, and many others has boomed in the past decade.

Key Takeaways

  • Rise of Online Learning: Online learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, and YouTube have seen significant growth as alternatives to traditional education, fueled by individuals like Elon Musk, who advocate for learning based on exceptional ability rather than formal education.
  • Skillshare offers higher quality content due to stricter content policies and guidelines for instructors, but it’s a subscription-based platform. YouTube, on the other hand, is free but offers varied content quality and requires creators to focus on entertainment and engagement to retain viewers.
  • Skillshare offers a subscription model with access to all courses, while Udemy operates on a pay-per-course model. Udemy has a wider variety of topics and longer courses, while Skillshare provides a more curated learning experience.
  • The choice between Skillshare, Udemy, and YouTube depends on individual preferences, learning goals, and budget. Skillshare may be suitable for those who prefer continuous learning with access to multiple courses, while Udemy might be preferred for those seeking specific, lifelong-access courses.
  • Skillshare homepage
    Learn all you can with Skillshare’s subscription-based platform.

Learn all you can with Skillshare’s subscription-based platform.There have been endless debates about the benefits and practicality of online learning platforms such as Skillshare. And questions like “how much does Skillshare cost?” or “do Skillshare free courses exist?” often come up. So in this post, we will answer all the frequently asked questions about it, compare it to its fellow titan platform Udemy, and give our two cents about its free counterpart, YouTube.

Skillshare VS YouTube

YouTube homepage on a laptop screen
YouTube has been the go-to site for people who want to learn at no cost.

Are Skillshare free? No, this is a subscription-based platform, although they offer a 7-day free trial so that you can try it out risk-free. Just make sure to cancel it before the trial period ends to avoid getting billed. But this is mainly the reason why people who have not tried it yet see it in a negative light. They feel there is no need for another paid video platform to give tutorials when YouTube already does that for free.

Some, however, decided to have an open mind and tried it out for themselves. They discovered that because they have more stringent content policies, an average Skillshare video has a higher quality than an average YouTube video regarding video content and quality.

The audio and video presentations range from okay to amazing and are usually good enough for the average viewer. However, YouTube has varied audio and video levels, and its content can be likened to a box of chocolate- you’ll never know what you’ll get. To put things in perspective, Skillshare has far better quality but less content. In contrast, YouTube undoubtedly has more content, but the quality is never guaranteed, especially if you’re clicking on a random video.

On Valuing Viewer’s Time

Another big difference between Skillshare and YouTube is how they value their audience’s time. YouTubers have no choice but to be entertaining, come up with solid hooks to start the video to keep you watching, shamelessly plug their sponsors or merch halfway through, and keep reminding everyone to like, comment, and subscribe. This is no surprise considering the effort content creators need to exert to increase their reach and engage their viewers. Something that would be a lot easier if you have social media management software to help you do the job. Learn more with our Circleboom review.

There is no need to do this on Skillshare since people are already paying, expecting to receive valuable content. So content creators go straight to the point, with no ads suddenly popping up to distract you or spending so much time pitching for something. This is because Skillshare has guidelines that instructors must follow if they want to stay on this platform. Also, there are more challenging guidelines to follow if you wish to get your hand on their coveted badges on your thumbnail. Overall, this could improve your performance and ranking on this site.

The good thing about this is that Skillshare’s thumbnails are free of clickbait. Not only will it anger its users, but it will totally defeat the purpose of having paid content. So basically, you can think of Skillshare as a filtered version of YouTube. If YouTube’s content quality can easily play from 1-10, Skillshare is primarily 5-10.

Is YouTube Better Than Skillshare?

However, Skillshare has its downside, one being the amount of content it has compared to YouTube. Try filtering a category for when a video is released on Skillshare, and you will discover that there aren’t so many educational videos released daily. But if you do the same on YouTube, there are tons of videos out there, and if you don’t mind some filtering here and there to find what you’re looking for, then you’re good to go.

Still, many Skillshare users feel they learn things faster here than on YouTube. If you’re taking videography, for example, and want to learn specifically how to color grade, there are countless YouTube videos put out by talented creators. However, these are usually short snippets that you could use to fill an entire puzzle. So you have to pick a thing or two, here and there, from each creator, then put them all together.

Some information is inevitably repeated, with each video targetting people with various skill levels. This does not happen with Skillshare since you’re focused on getting all this information solely from your teacher. And you know exactly if you’re entering a beginner, intermediate, or advanced course.

Skillshare Vs Udemy

Udemy homepage
Once you buy the course, it’s yours for life.

Then we move on to the next question. Which is better Udemy or Skillshare? It depends on your needs, and you will know later on which one will suit you better by discussing their similarities and differences.

Both are massively known online learning platforms, with thousands of courses being offered and hundreds of thousands using their platforms each year. They both have various course topics created by professionals in these fields. Both can also be used for mobile phone apps for iOS and Android, which suggests ease of use anytime, anywhere.

Now, on to their differences. One of their most significant differences is the variety of their courses. Compared to Skillshare, Udemy has a much larger variety of topics and a better menu selection category. This makes it much faster for users to find what they’re looking for. Both platforms have tons of business, creative, and lifestyle courses. However, Udemy also has courses on engineering, software development, I.Tl, business systems, office productivity, health and fitness, teaching, and more.

Yes, Skillshare has courses in a few of these areas. But its browsing menu’s minimalist approach requires you to use the search bar to type in directly to find precisely what you’re looking for. And for those looking to make life a whole lot easier by scheduling and automating content across all their social media platforms, it’s good to have social media management software to help your brand boost engagements, schedule posts, and curate content. Learn more from our SmarterQueue review.

Price Structure

The next big difference is their price structure. Udemy has a pay-per-course model, so at first glance, these course prices appear steep, reaching as high as $300. But Udemy puts on a sale at least once a month where the costs are drastically lowered. So you can fish out big bargains, with courses coming to about 10, 15, and 20 bucks. And if you’re patient enough, you can also zoom in on some free courses there. Skillshare’s subscription model lets you get a feel for what’s in store during its free trial. If you don’t cancel at the end of your free trial, it’s $32 a month if you wish to pay monthly or $168 for the entire year (around $14 a month).

Course Length

The third main difference comes down to their average course length. Some of the shortest courses on Skillshare are about 20 minutes long, although the majority of them go for about an hour long. On Udemy, their shortest is around 44 minutes long, while their shortest courses, on average, are about 60-90 minutes long. But generally, their courses sit around the 3-hour mark.

Does this mean that the quality of courses on Skillshare is not as good? Or are their courses not long enough? Of course not. For instance, there is even a 10-hour-long acting class and some 5-hour-long Amazon courses. So it’s really a matter of preference.

Some people are not into the paper course model that Udemy is using, while others may not find the specific topics they’re looking for on Skillshare. Those signed up to Skillshare’s subscription model will lose their Skillshare login and access to the courses once they cancel their subscription. But with Udemy, once you pay for a course, you own it for life.

So, Who Wins?

Online Course Earnings 2021 to 2022
Sample online course earnings comparison between Skillshare and Udemy

Again, this depends. For those who know precisely what they want to learn and only want about two or three courses to familiarize themselves with the topic, then Udemy might be your best option. The price of two massively discounted courses may turn out to be the price of a month or two of your Skillshare subscription. Once you buy these courses on Udemy, you have them for life, and you don’t have to worry about when you’ll finish them since you can work at your own pace. But for those who don’t have a lot of spare time, those who believe it may take them a couple of months to get through a course, then Udemy’s 15-dollar course could serve as a cheaper option.

Then there are the creatives and entrepreneurs who want to learn about personal finance, personal development, or business and expect to learn continuously. For those looking forward to getting a new course each week or month, Skillshare might work out better for you. If a particular course doesn’t offer the kind of information you are looking for, or you don’t feel the right vibes with your instructor, you can switch to another course without having to pay more. You can do this until you finally get the course that best suits your needs.

Short courses work well for people leading busy lives. The free trial lets you try them out risk-free, and you can always cancel if you change your mind. But there’s no reason for you not to use both platforms (except monetary. You can sign up for Skillshare while buying a great course from Udemy now and then.

15 Best Skillshare Courses for 2023

For those wondering what are some of the best courses being offered by Skillshare, here’s a sneak peek of what you could try out for 2023:

Discovering Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path by Emma Gannon, Broadcaster, Podcast Host

Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World by Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Guru, and CEO, Vaynermedia

Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success by Justin Gignac, Co-founder of Working Not Working

Mastering Productivity: Create a Custom System that Works by Thomas Frank, YouTuber, Author, Entrepreneur

Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity by Andy J. Pizza, Illustrator, Designer, & Podcaster

iPhone Photography: How to Take Pro Photos On Your iPhone by Dale McManus

The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit by Simon Van Booy, Author, and Screenwriter

Social Media Marketing: Top Tips for Growing Your Followers & Going Viral by Cat Coquillette, Artist, Entrepreneur, Educator

Speed Reading Mastery- Double Your Reading Speed in 7 Days by Jordan Harry, CEO at StudyFast

Productivity Masterclass- Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity by Ali Abdaal, Doctor/ YouTuber

Creating Your Dream Career: Uncover & Apply Your Creative Strengths by Holley M. Khali-Murchison, Artist & Cultural Geographer

Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design by Ellen Lupton, Author, and educator, MICA

Fundamentals of DSLR Photography by Justin Bridges

Animation for Illustration: Adding Movement with Procreate & Photoshop by Libby VanderPloeg, Artist and Illustrator

Web Design Essentials: Creating Marketing Homepages That Drive Results by Dennis Field, Branding, UI/UX Designer


  • Is Skillshare free?
    No, Skillshare is a subscription-based platform, but it offers a 7-day free trial for new users to explore its content. After the trial period, users need to subscribe to access courses.
  • How does Skillshare compare to YouTube?
    A: Skillshare offers higher quality content with stricter content policies and guidelines for instructors, while YouTube provides a wide range of content for free but with varying quality and a focus on entertainment.
  • Which is better, Udemy or Skillshare?
    The choice between Udemy and Skillshare depends on individual preferences and learning goals. Udemy offers a pay-per-course model with lifelong access, while Skillshare provides a subscription-based model with access to all courses.

Are Skillshare courses worth it?

Whether Skillshare courses are worth it depends on individual preferences and learning needs. Skillshare offers a curated learning experience with access to multiple courses for a monthly subscription fee, making it suitable for continuous learners.

Is Skillshare Worth It?

woman being showered with dollar bills
So what is the driving force behind this strong desire for learning? Absolute financial freedom

Needless to say, Skillshare isn’t perfect, but neither are Udemy and YouTube or any other online learning platform out there, regardless if it’s paid or free. The key is determining the positives and whether or not it outweighs the negatives. Once you do, you’re well on your way to becoming the better version of yourself. For more tips and tricks on leveraging social media to your advantage and becoming a digital creator pro, check out our post, 7 Tricks to Drive Traffic to Your YouTube Channel.

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