The boom in interest in online courses has changed the way people learn new skills and provided creators with a new avenue to make money off of their knowledge. But when you research the world of online learning then you’ll see just how many platforms there out there.
Two platforms that have garnered a lot of attention from creators over the years are Skillshare and Udemy. Both companies have created a marketplace for creators to find an audience and teach them new skills. And while it’s great to have so many options, it’s challenging to know which is right for you.
Ahead, we’ll explore what an online course platform is, and then compare Skillshare vs. Udemy to determine which platform would be a good fit for you and your growing brand.
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In this article...
1. What is an online course platform?
An online course platform is a software service that provides creators with customization tools and features to design and launch online courses.
For most creators looking to teach online, an online course platform will be the right choice. Why? Because these services have already done the hard work of figuring out which features work and which don’t.
Developing your own software to launch an online course is not only time-consuming but also costly. When you choose an online course platform to host your class, you’re allowing yourself to focus more on your members and content.
Before we compare Skillshare vs Udemy, let’s talk about what you should look for in an online course platform.
2. What you should look for in an online course platform
It seems like every day there is a new online course platform that joins the market. A lot of them offer different variations on the same features too. So if we’re going to determine if Skillshare or Udemy is right for you, we should first understand what makes these platforms great in the first place.
When choosing between platforms you should consider these aspects:
- The ability to easily create, organize, and release content in a variety of formats.
- In addition to online course building tools, the best platforms have realized the value of providing community building features for creating a highly interactive learning environment.
- Customization is another factor to consider when choosing a platform. When you have a variety of ways to experiment with how you create content and foster a community your members will be more engaged and interactive.
- But the most important thing to remember is that everything we’ve listed about should be able to be done easily.
Online course platforms should make your life easier, not harder. That’s the whole point of using a white label service with prebuilt tools.
Now that we have our baseline figured out for great online course platforms, let’s dive into Skillshare vs. Udemy. First, we’ll introduce the two services, and then see how they compare to one another in a few different categories.
3. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Who are they?
We’re starting out our comparison of Skillshare vs. Udemy with short introductions about what the platforms are all about.
Skillshare is an online course platform that has been around since 2017. Most creators using Skillshare come from all different backgrounds, but the platform especially attracts creatives in illustration, design, photography, video, and more. And because Skillshare has focused on creative pursuits, they have a number of features that help members give feedback to one another and support each other’s work.
Udemy is an online course platform that has been around since 2010 and bills itself as the leading global marketplace for teaching and learning. The platform offers over 130,000 online courses each month and they are strong believers in creators being able to automate their courses. Udemy has attracted a lot of creators, especially those interested in teaching tech-related topics and entrepreneurship.
4. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Judgment criteria
Our criteria for assessing Skillshare vs. Udemy focuses on how well the platforms support customization, monetization, and mobile app availability for their creators to deliver online courses. Here’s what we’re looking for:
Customization and features. All online course platforms handle customization and features differently. Some will give creators a large swath of tools to experiment with for their course design. Others will be a bit more restrictive. The best platforms, however, realize that creators build their best work when there is the freedom to experiment with how they create content. You should have the ability to post pre-recorded videos, utilize live video meetings, discussion posts, assignments, quizzes, and more.
Monetization. Making sure that you’re being fairly compensated for the work you’re doing is important. And the online course platform that you choose to use should provide you with ample ways to monetize and sell your online course. What does that mean in practice? You should be able to provide members with different ways to pay for your content, whether it’s in the form of bundles, subscriptions, or different payment durations (one-time, monthly, or annual). Whatever way you choose to monetize, it should be simple and easy to process from start to finish.
Native mobile app experience. Right now, we are living during a time where more and more people are on the go. This means that it has become increasingly important to have your online course content available to your members whether they are at their computers or on their phone or tablet. When your online course is easy to access, your members will not only be more active but will spend more time on what you’re building.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of criteria for evaluating Skillshare vs. Udemy. Still, all of these aspects will be the main pillars of building a successful online course, no matter what platform you choose.
Ahead, we’re going to explore each criterion in-depth to see which online course platform you should pick Skillshare or Udemy.
5. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Customization and features
When thinking about customization and features for an online course platform, it all comes down to providing you a variety of options for easily designing a journey where your course members master something interesting together.
The best way to do this? With different forms of content. That way, you’ll be able to keep your members more engaged and appeal to different learning styles.
Skillshare’s platform has become a popular place for people looking to teach online courses, especially in creative industries. Their platform utilizes a marketplace style format where users can search through the over 20,000 courses on the platform and find one that most interests them.
When it comes to customization and features, however, Skillshare has a pretty narrow vision for its creators. All online courses on Skillshare must be in the form of pre-recorded videos that range from 20-60 minutes that are then cut into 2-5 minutes videos. They also require that you have a project for your students to complete so there is some form of collaboration and feedback given to them throughout the course.
So, when you create an online course on Skillshare you’re incredibly restricted on the types of content you can create. You are also a small fish in a big pond of creators who have been on the platform for longer. And if you’d like to experiment with the type of experience you give your students, you’ll be forced to move platforms.
Udemy is one of the oldest online course platforms out there and it shows in the number of creators who use it. Just like Skillshare, Udemy uses a marketplace model where users can look through a plethora of courses (over 130,000!) and pick one that looks good to them.
Compared to Skillshare, Udemy is much less restrictive for what kinds of content you can build on the platform. They allow you to create video, audio, and text lectures, quizzes, Q&As, reviews, and more.
All of the content you create can be downloaded for offline use by your members. Additionally, Udemy has some simple community building tools, like giving creators the ability to send new students a welcome message.
6. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Monetization
Monetization is another important concern for all creators trying to make money through creating an online course. Choosing a platform that provides you with options for how your members pay for your online course and content is important. But monetization is more than offering different ways for people to pay for your work. It’s also about making sure the experience of paying for your content is simple and seamless.
In terms of monetization, Skillshare stumbles a bit. You can’t earn money until you have 25 enrolled students in your class. And once you do, your share is only $1-2 per enrollee. So, in short, you won’t earn money for the hard work you’re doing until Skillshare deems it appropriate. Not a great look.
Additionally, Skillshare charges creators a monthly or annual subscription fee to host their online courses on the platform. Then, instructors earn income based on an algorithm that divides revenue between those who had their videos watched that month. If you can get traction on Skillshare, this subscription model may be more favorable for you than Udemy’s but it is a highly competitive market.
To sum it up, since Skillshare is a marketplace platform you don’t really own your audience. In fact, you’re pitted against other creators’ courses which makes it harder to have a steady revenue stream. And if your content doesn’t align with Skillshare’s narrow parameters then it will be hard to fit in and find your niche.
When you compare Udemy vs. Skillshare in terms of monetization, Udemy has a much more open approach to how creators make money and charge for things.
There isn’t a fee to create or host a course on Udemy, and you can launch as many free or paid courses as you want. Just like Skillshare though, the actual ways in which a creator’s income is determined is a bit complicated on Udemy.
If an instructor is able to get people to sign up for their course using their personal instructor referral link then Udemy gives 97% of the revenue from that signup. But if someone were to find your course through an organic search on Udemy or Google with no referral code then Udemy takes 50% of the revenue. It’s a fairly complicated system to keep track of, especially when it doesn’t have to be this way.
7. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Mobile app experience
Today, many of your potential members are living busy lives and aren’t always at their computers. Picking an online course platform that is available across web, tablet, and phone is an incredibly valuable feature.
When it comes to a mobile experience, Skillshare has a mobile app that is available on iOS and Android. Students can download your course content and view it offline or they can watch it with an internet connection.
On top of that, any progress they make on your course while using the app is automatically synced. It’s a solid offering for your students to interact with your content but doesn’t offer much for creators in the way of building new content or hoping to communicate with students. You also aren’t able to make a white label app for your brand if you use Skillshare.
It’s less so a robust native app and more a companion app to the web experience.
Udemy offers a mobile app experience across iOS and Android as well. Similar to Skillshare, students can download course content for offline use or access it online. Small features like the ability to stream the Udemy app to a Chromecast or Apple TV are also benefits of the app.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of features for instructors wanting to build content through the app or interact with students. You can access your inbox and look at course reviews, but that’s about it.
Just like Skillshare, Udemy’s app is more of a secondary experience to the web course.
8. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Who is the winner?
So, after all of that, which platform is the better option for you, Udemy or Skillshare? Both of these online course platforms are pretty similar. They both offer a marketplace of courses that will make it harder for instructors just starting out to find an audience, they both are primarily video-based course platforms, and they both offer lackluster mobile app experiences for creators.
If we were to choose between Skillshare vs. Udemy, it comes down to monetization and customization. Skillshare is a sleek platform but has an incredibly narrow focus with its video-online approach. Additionally, you can’t make money on the platform until you have an arbitrary number of students that are set by Skillshare.
Udemy also focuses on video-based content but allows creators options for creating assessments, quizzes, text and audio lectures, and more. Udemy also has a bit more flexibility in its monetization model. With that being said, we think Udemy is the better of the two options.
But hold up one second. Why settle for these two if there is something better out there?
Want a better option?
We’ve thoroughly explored the positives and negatives of Skillshare vs. Udemy’s online course building offerings. They are both solid online course platforms with lackluster monetization options and online community building tools. So we have one question for you: Why settle for less when you can have everything you’d want?
When you build a Mighty Network, you’ll gain access to world-class online community building tools and stellar online course design features. We’ve built our service to be a constantly evolving platform that grows with creators as their business and brand expand.
If you choose to build your course on Skillshare or Udemy you’re not only going to be a small fish in a big pond, but you’re also severely restricting yourself. Here are just a few of the many things you can do with Mighty Networks:
- Build fully customizable online courses with dedicated community spaces.
- Have your own branded app that is available in the App Store and Google Play store.
- Offer paid memberships, host paid virtual events.
- You can natively livestream in your Mighty Network.
- Post videos, images, and audio clips.
- Create polls, discussion boards, quizzes, and Q&As.
Our platform’s emphasis on building a thriving community while also delivering exceptional online courses sets us apart from the competition. And what’s more, your Mighty Network is available across the web, iOS, and Android.
Let’s get started building an awesome online course together!
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