Udemy vs. Skillshare: Which Is Better?



There are so many options when it comes to online education that it’s difficult to know the difference between programs such as Udemy and Skillshare, or which is better. With the advent of technology and variation of online educational platforms, students of any age, region, or background can find learning communities to suit their individual needs, style, and life circumstances. However, it’s important to know what these programs offer and how they differ.


So, when it comes to Udemy vs. Skillshare, which is better? Udemy and Skillshare are similar in many respects as models of online education platforms. Both provide online community learning and engagement in various subjects. Skillshare’s structure is based more on student pacing, motivation, and networking, whereas Udemy features more of a cohesive online classroom structure for learning.


Though both programs can be beneficial, Udemy is better as a means of online learning through established courses.


Though most people don’t consider learning communities such as Skillshare and Udemy to be a substitute for university education, many corporations, and professional organizations look to these platforms as a means of enhancing specific employee skills, knowledge, and networking. In addition, these programs feature a more balanced opportunity for higher education as they don’t limit student access and participation in the same way as typical colleges and universities.


Udemy vs. Skillshare: What Are They?

Udemy and Skillshare are both online learning communities. They offer a variety of courses, covering a multitude of topics, and present the material as part of an online learning platform with wide access and participation.


Both Udemy and Skillshare are part of a growing trend towards massive open online course (MOOC) opportunities to make secondary education available outside a traditional college or university system.


Massive Open Online Courses

Massive open online courses do not limit participation and feature open access through the internet. Though some rely on traditional course materials such as video lectures, readings, and problem sets, most MOOCs offer an interactive approach for students.


This approach is facilitated through user forums that allow online interactions among students, professors, and course assistants. Most MOOCs also provide quick feedback for quizzes and short assignments.


These massive open online courses have increased in popularity as an accessible and flexible mode of learning. They continue to shape online education as a model for providing learning content to anyone who wishes to take a course.


There is no attendance limit, students representing nearly all demographics can participate in the community, and the courses are designed for those who need flexibility in learning methods, subject matter, and class time.


MOOCs are advantageous for learners of any age and background. Though these courses rarely generate any credits among academic institutions, MOOC participants find them beneficial for many other reasons.


Here are some benefits to taking massive open online courses:

  • Access to a variety of subjects and courses

  • Broaden world view

  • Opportunity to learn new languages

  • Enhance networking skills

  • Exchange ideas, knowledge, and experiences

  • Open career prospects

  • Addition to college and job applications

  • Affordable means of higher education


Both Udemy and Skillshare offer MOOCs and provide valuable online learning communities and opportunities.


What is Udemy?

Udemy is a large, worldwide online learning platform aimed at students and professional adults. The primary purpose of Udemy’s massive open online courses is to improve job-related skills for students. Some courses provide credit towards certain technical certifications. However, many companies incentivize corporate training through Udemy for their employees as a means of enhancing professional skills.


Udemy offers both free and paid courses within their catalog, depending on the instructor. The thousands of instructors participating in their online community offer thousands of courses in over 50 languages and live in countries all over the world. This global platform allows for millions of students worldwide to enroll in courses to improve their knowledge and skills.


Udemy instructors build their online courses and topics on the basis of their expertise. These courses are presented to students through visual aids such as PowerPoint, along with an audio component. Some instructors hold “live” classes online whereas others interact with students through online discussion boards.


The courses offered by Udemy fall under a wide variety of categories. Some of these subjects include:

  • Business

  • Academics

  • Language

  • Music

  • Technology

  • Arts

  • Health and fitness

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Digital marketing

  • Management

  • Design

  • Employee productivity

  • Programming

  • Software use


Students can even download the Udemy app for both Apple iOS and Android for mobile access to course material, making it a convenient and flexible option for online education.


What is Skillshare?

Like Udemy, Skillshare is an online community that uses the MOOC model for learning. Skillshare’s purpose is to provide online educational skills to its community in order to facilitate a wider and more open “meritocracy” when it comes to economic opportunity.


In other words, Skillshare makes available for students the chance to learn the skills and develop the expertise needed in today’s economy, based on the individual’s desire to learn rather than socio-economic circumstances or other limiting factors.


Skillshare offers thousands of classes in various fields, designed to teach professional and cutting-edge skills, present educational and career opportunities, and facilitate a large network of fellow students. Some courses through Skillshare are free, whereas others are available through a paid subscription. Skillshare instructors are often notable experts in the fields of design, technology, entrepreneurship, arts, and more.


These online courses are primarily presented as educational videos supported by both Apple iOS and Android. However, the classes are not accredited. Skillshare students are self-paced, making the learning process entirely individualized and flexible. Most of Skillshare courses focus on group interaction rather than lecture, and project completion rather than test assessments.


Some of the Skillshare course subjects offered are:

  • Advertising

  • Business

  • Film

  • Music

  • Technology

  • Gaming

  • Fashion

  • Design

  • Writing and publishing


Skillshare members have access to features that allow them to connect with other creative members, share their work, and develop expertise through online discussions. This networking capability presents the opportunity for those in the community to ask questions, discuss interests, and provide and receive feedback.


Benefits of Udemy

One of the most reported benefits of Udemy is the cost-effectiveness of its learning platform. For online programs that require tuition per course, Udemy is considered very low cost. In addition, the program frequently offers discounts and promotions, as well as a money back guarantee for students within 30 days of beginning a course. Students are also granted “lifetime” access once enrolled in a course.


Another benefit of Udemy is the ability for students to update their knowledge and skills. Courses are offered in nearly every academic, professional, and lifestyle/activity field available. Students receive professional guidance through each class as well as potential feedback from fellow students. Many companies have sponsored corporate training courses through Udemy for their employees.


Individualized learning is also a strong feature of Udemy. Not every student is receptive to or benefits from the same manner of teaching, particularly when it comes to the traditional model of lecture and assessment. Udemy offers its students choices in content, a measure of self-pacing, and the independence to work on individual projects.


Udemy’s global accessibility to its online education program is also beneficial in that students worldwide can participate in the same courses. This extends a sense of both diversity and inclusivity which can be difficult to achieve in traditional learning settings.


Drawbacks of Udemy

There are two primary drawbacks when it comes to choosing Udemy as an online education platform: accreditation and variable quality of courses. Here are the main reasons for these drawbacks:


  1. Accreditation: Udemy does not offer courses that are accredited by educational institutions. Therefore, completion of Udemy classes would not generate valid or acceptable course credit in the way a college or university course would. As a result, any Udemy certification for course completion would not be considered valid as a formal proof of qualifications within a field.

  2. Variable quality of courses: Most Udemy courses are created by legitimate professionals and experts in their subject matter. However, the fact that nearly anyone can create a Udemy course results in variable quality. One way for Udemy members to avoid a “bad” course is to look at individual reviews with a critical eye as to how others have characterized positive and negative aspects of the course.


These drawbacks, when it comes to Udemy, should be considered carefully by online students who are looking for accredited and quality-controlled educational courses. However, for those online students who are looking to enhance their knowledge and skills within their area of expertise, or to develop entirely new interests and abilities, Udemy is a strong learning community for those purposes.


Benefits of Skillshare

The most reported benefit of Skillshare is the way it functions for students with different learning styles and objectives. Skillshare members are able to personalize their online education opportunities by choosing courses to update their skills or learn new ones through self-paced video lessons.


In addition, Skillshare is considered extremely beneficial in relation to cost and value. Members can sign up for free and immediately access many free courses. They can also upgrade their membership with a subscription fee in order to access a greater number of courses within the catalog at one time. By not charging per-course, Skillshare is highly cost-effective as an online program.


Skillshare courses can be as short as 10 minutes in length. Therefore, this program requires less commitment when it comes to time. Shorter courses allow for more streamlined learning and a straightforward approach in teaching the basics.


Skillshare provides a shared learning environment, which facilitates an exchange of perspective, insight, feedback, and experience among students. This allows for higher instances and greater opportunities for networking and support among members with a smaller administrative presence. However, Skillshare also allows for individualized learning through content choice, pacing, and self-motivation.


Another benefit of Skillshare that differentiates it from other programs is its emphasis on creativity and imagination for its users. Most Skillshare lessons encourage students to design projects that represent their inventiveness and personal creative abilities. This creativity emphasis broadens the experience, perspective, and scope of what constitutes secondary education.


Drawbacks of Skillshare

Skillshare’s drawbacks are similar to those experienced by Udemy. These negative aspects center around accreditation and quality of instruction:


  1. Accreditation: Skillshare courses are not accredited by any institution, technical, or educational. Unlike Udemy, Skillshare does not provide any certificate of completion when it comes to their courses. Therefore, Skillshare members receive no valid proof of qualifying skills or knowledge at the end of any course.

  2. Variable quality of instruction: There is little to no qualification process for those who upload instructional videos to Skillshare. This variation in the quality of instruction can result in students who believe they have gained practical knowledge from someone with expertise, finding that they were short-changed in receiving applicable material. There is a rating system for Skillshare courses; however, it often doesn’t allow for in-depth reviews by other students.


As with Udemy, students searching for accredited online education courses would not be well-served by Skillshare. Yet for those who wish to pursue online classes that are individualized and promote creativity, Skillshare is an excellent online community and an affordable opportunity to network and share ideas and experiences with other members.


Some people consider paying for Skillshare membership to be a drawback in itself when much of the same subject matter offered by Skillshare courses can be found as free tutorials online. The difference between those who upload free online tutorials compared to instructor based Skillshare courses is the manner of design and content.


Though the quality may vary, overall Skillshare classes are designed in a professional manner with the intent of delivering expert content.


Online Education Platforms

Though Udemy and Skillshare students don’t have the advantage of participating in an accredited program like those offered by traditional colleges and universities, these online education platforms and communities are growing in relevance and popularity in the professional arena.


With the rising cost of college as well as its inflexibility when it comes to learning methods and lifestyle circumstances, more people are seeking less expensive yet more personalized and meaningful educational opportunities. Committing to upwards of five years as a full-time student may earn some a prestigious degree; however, their knowledge base may be far less practical or applicable outside academia.


Many online courses, such as those through Udemy and Skillshare, present material and ideas that are more current, streamlined, and preferable in the business world and other professions. Many of the instructors in these programs don’t have PhD or other credentials associated with university professors; however, they often have a greater level of professional, real-life experience associated with the subjects they teach.


In addition, individualized programs that encourage creativity and self-motivation among students allow for a level of inventiveness and expression that may not be supported outside of online education platforms. This fostered creativity and inventiveness may generate greater rewards when it comes to careers that require innovative thinking skills.


Therefore, online education platforms may present a practical and affordable alternative to traditional higher education in the future, provided the obstacles of accreditation and quality control could be overcome. This would democratize higher education so that people associated with all demographics could participate in developing expertise and knowledge rather than just a select few with the opportunity to attend college or university.


Overall Assessment of Udemy vs. Skillshare

Both Udemy and Skillshare offer globally inclusive, accessible, and flexible online learning communities. Their massive open online course models allow students to pursue secondary education in nearly every subject area of interest, with affordable tuition and the power of choice.


Though neither of these programs are accredited by technical or educational institutions and quality is not standardized among courses or instructors, Udemy and Skillshare classes are valuable in that they provide an opportunity for learners to update and/or add to their skills. These skills can be applied on an academic, lifestyle, or professional level.


In addition, Udemy and Skillshare offer opportunities to personalize learning outcomes through the power of choosing subject matter content. This can enhance creativity and personal satisfaction through individual projects and sharing among other community members.


As far as online education, Udemy is more established when it comes to developed courses, online classroom structure, and its catalog of academic and professional classes in addition to other areas of interest. Udemy offers courses that most students find in-depth when it comes to the scope of the material and a greater investment of time. When compared to Skillshare, Udemy is likely a better online education platform.


Skillshare offers more creativity when it comes to projects and course material, resulting in fewer potential practical applications for its members in the professional or academic arena. This program’s courses are generally short and without much theory, which may be enticing for many Skillshare members who wish to gain quick and straightforward access to information and potential skills.


However, both the Udemy and Skillshare online learning platforms are beneficial for people who wish to continue and expand their education beyond what may be found in traditional learning environments and creating real world results.