For those not familiar with Netflix, it’s a video streaming service that will let you watch movies, TV series, documentaries, anime, etc. on your computer, smartphone, tablet, console game and smart TV (or Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire). Their $9.99 monthly subscription allows you to watch videos as much as you want. It’s attractive because it’s on demand and you can resume the videos whatever the device. Moreover, they recently added a new feature on their mobile app (Android & iOS) that allows you to download the videos. So, you don’t have to burn your mobile data plan. The mission of Netflix is to make you binge-watch their videos. Unfortunately, this won’t make you smarter.
What about if instead of tons of videos, you could get access to tons of online courses for the same price.
Here’s come Skillshare
Skillshare launched their service in 2010, and moved to a subscription $9.95 monthly plan in 2014. Their online courses cover a wide range of topics: design, business, entrepreneurship, marketing, programming/web development, photography, music, gaming etc. Many industry leaders such as Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki or Gary Vaynerchuk are teaching courses on Skillshare.
Look & Feel
One of the things I like about Skillshare is its interface. The design looks modern, and simple. The interface is intuitive and well thought-out, especially compare to some of its competitors. Finding courses is easy as they are broken in categories, sub-categories, and are also using tags. The courses you are enrolled in is fast, as they can be accessed directly from the top menu.
The Skillshare mobile application (Android / iOS) navigation experience is also really good. I like the fact that you can easily access the last course you were watching directly at the top. As you Netflix, you also have the ability to download the online course videos to access them offline.
Choice & Quality
This is where Skillshare shines. The online courses choice is wide. You can find courses to grow your professional skills or to learn more about your hobbies and other interests.
As mentioned above, you can get courses taught by industry leaders. There are also courses from companies like Mailchimp, Percolate, Contently, UserTesting, etc. While I already planned to take some online courses this year, I’m planning to add some more about Marketing, programming, entrepreneurship, productivity and photography. I already found tons of courses that I’d like to go through.
Regarding the course quality, I checked a few of them. Like any platforms, the quality of the course will depend on the teacher. Before taking enrolling in a course, I suggest you to check the ratings and read the reviews to be sure that the course is worth taking.
Nothing too fancy in here. You can play the video at normal speed, slower speed (0.5x), or faster speed (1.25x, 1.5x, or 2x). I prefer playing video at 1.5x or 2x the normal speed. Videos look great, and there’s no compression. The only thing is that you can’t choose the video quality (360px, 480px, 720px, 1080px). But I never had problem with that.
You can add public note on the timestamp of the video like you can do on Soundcloud. It’s convenient if you have question the what the teacher said at 1’32” of the video. You can add comments under the video. You also have the possibility to add pictures which can be useful depending on the course (i.e programming).
Depending on the course, you will have assignments, and you can post it on Skillshare. You can also see the projects created by other students of the course. It’s good to get some inspiration or to see what kind of results you can get by following the course.
Skillshare Vs Competition
Until know, I was using Udemy for it’s choice. But the thing I didn’t like is the pricing, and the fact that some courses are low quality (every body can register and teach). About the price, there’s a trick. If you visit a course, and check other courses on the same topic, Udemy will send you a promotion email saying things like “it’s the perfect time to learn Ruby, check out the below courses to get started now!”. The courses included in the email show a 90~95% discount. So, instead of paying $300, you get the course for $12. For the new year, they had a promotion on all their platform courses, and I bought several courses at that time.
While Udemy platform got a lot better, I still have some bugs from time to time. Other than that, like Skillshare, you can change the speed of the videos, post comments, etc.
This is a well-know online course platform. Linkedin acquired Lynda.com in 2015. They offer two monthly subscription plans: Basic at $19.99/month and Premium at $29.99/month.
While Skillshare and Udemy are community oriented with the possibility to add comments or questions, this isn’t possible on Lynda.com. I often heard that they offer quality content (instructors are chosen), but I wasn’t impressed by the courses I took.
Is Skillshare Worth It?
If you’re planning to improve or learn new skills, definitely yes! You can access online courses covering a wide range of topics, create projects, ask questions. Let’s say, even as a marketer, there are so many subjects you can learn: content marketing, storytelling, analytics, etc.
If you just look to improve one skill in a short time or on the spot, it might not be worth.
I signed up because I got 3-month three as I’m a Todoist pro user (thanks Todoist!), but I’m planning to continue using Skillshare after that.
For people interested to join the service, I got a link that will allow you to get the first three months for only $0.99/month. If you think it’s not good enough for you, you can still cancel your account before the account switches to $9.99.
Time for some binge learning!
PS: I still have my Netflix subscription. Just for the break between courses!