DIY Skills & Techniques

Skillshare vs. Udemy: Which Learning Platform Is Better in 2024?

Online learning platforms allow users to take classes in almost any subject area from the comfort of their home. Skillshare and Udemy are two of the most robust programs offering this service, but which is the right one for you?
Meghan Wentland Avatar
Skillshare vs Udemy


We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

The ongoing shift to online education and the resulting change in the way the world views digital-based learning has brought platforms that provide online courses to the forefront. Many independent companies have taken advantage of the growing demand for online education and expanded their offerings from introductory college courses to include corporate training, certification exam preparation, driver training, CPR training, and almost anything a learner could think of. While the relatively recent expansion of online coursework has made these platforms newsworthy, two of the most successful online learning platforms have both been in business since 2010. Udemy and Skillshare are among the best online course platforms available, with thriving communities of teachers and experts sharing their knowledge with eager learners all over the world.

We looked at Skillshare vs. Udemy to see which online course platform would come out ahead. Every platform is a little different in terms of subject areas, practices, structure, cost, and several other factors. Prospective students may want to survey their options and consider what their educational goals are before selecting a platform and paying to join. There are other elements that might make one platform or the other the best fit for an individual learner’s needs. We took a close look at both companies to see which is the best program for the online learning community.

How We Compared Online Course Platforms

Skillshare vs Udemy

To create a fair and balanced comparison during our review of Skillshare vs. Udemy, we selected criteria that apply to both platforms to make it more apparent where one platform outshines the other and where they’re well matched. Some of the key factors learners may want to consider when selecting between the two platforms include the following.

  • Reputation and customer reviews: For businesses that exist solely online, reputation among customers and users will be key to building word-of-mouth (or keystroke) with clientele and achieving success. Both Skillshare and Udemy have a range of reviews to consider, so we looked at what customers are saying to assess what potential customers will think.
  • Number of users: The number of users on a platform will directly influence the number of courses offered—higher numbers of students will require a greater breadth of course offerings. More users also means more feedback on courses, so the offerings can be more tailored to the user base.
  • Number of courses: Online educational platforms can only support as many students as they have courses to fill. Especially when a course is popular, having enough offerings to satisfy the demand can be the difference between a platform flourishing and crashing. We checked out both companies’ offerings to see how many courses are available across different topic areas.
  • Course topics: As the number of online learning platforms has increased, some have attempted to encompass all types of course offerings while others have specialized around specific areas of focus. A wider range of subjects will likely appeal to more users, and having more topics to learn about could be a deciding factor for many online students.
  • Subscriptions and plans: Educational platforms can have different subscription levels available as well as various ways to pay for online learning. More options typically benefit customers as they can choose the best subscription plan to fit their budget.
  • Pricing: Cost is always a factor, whether a customer is interested in a single course or a series of online lessons. Skillshare and Udemy both have varying levels of cost and access time, so we considered the ranges and crunched the numbers.
  • Course length and structure: As each instructor will have a different sense of what constitutes a “course,” we looked at both platforms’ policies and standards defining course length, requirements, and content. Cost isn’t the only factor for students to weigh when deciding on a platform; the value students get for their money matters as well.
  • Content access: Many customers will want to access their course materials well after they have completed their lessons, but educational platforms may have different guidelines regarding content access. More flexible policies can give customers more value for their enrollment fees since they’ll be able to reference their course materials for years to come.
  • Credits, degrees, and certifications available: Some online learning platforms offer college credit, online certifications, accreditations, or other qualifications, while others work with businesses to supply certificates of completion to meet continuing education requirements. Depending on a learner’s particular goals—personal growth versus professional development, for instance—the availability of certifications, credits, and degrees could greatly inform their decision.
  • Customer support: Students may be able to reach out to customer service representatives in a variety of ways—online or over the phone, for instance—and platforms may offer additional resources to help answer questions and troubleshoot problems. An exemplary customer support service could make all the difference for both those who are using an online educational platform for the first time and more experienced learners.

1. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Reputation and Customer Reviews

User reviews allow prospective customers to see first-person feedback about the quality and ease of use of any product. On the other hand, many people write reviews only when they have an axe to grind, so user reviews may be more likely to reflect negative experiences. Generally, the best option is to look for trends: When several reviews mention similar events and experiences (either good or bad), then it’s safer to assume those benefits or problems are more widespread.

Udemy’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s website and Trustpilot are decidedly mixed. Some reviewers complain about billing issues and access issues along with site performance problems, particularly regarding video playback. Other reviews gush about the convenience, affordability, and quality of the teaching, indicating that Udemy courses provide a great value overall. Skillshare reviews on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau are similarly mixed. Positive reviews mention the affordability of the courses and the fine customer service when problems arise. Quite a few of the negative reviews appear to have been written by customers who took advantage of a free trial and failed to cancel their account before the trial ended and were charged, which, while unfortunate, isn’t Skillshare’s fault. Some noted that canceling an account was particularly difficult. While both online learning platforms have received comparable feedback, customer reviews for Udemy are slightly more positive overall.

Verdict: Neither platform has garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback from customer review sites such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. User reviews for both platforms criticized the refund processes, and in the case of Udemy, expressed frustration with site performance, particularly video playback. Customer reviews for Udemy are slightly better overall, though, giving the platform a very slight edge here.

Winner: Udemy

Skillshare vs Udemy

2. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Number of Users

Having a large user base often means that an online learning platform is thriving and offering more classes on more topics, so it’s worth considering the number of active users with each company. Skillshare boasts more than 600,000 registered accounts, which is a solid number considering its slightly more limited creative focus, but that number is simply eclipsed by Udemy’s 67 million users. Some of those users are members of corporations that have purchased corporate accounts for all of their employees, of course, but it’s a massive number of subscribers. The high number of users means that courses may be reviewed by more students, so new users may have an easier time deciding which courses are worth their time and effort.

Verdict: Skillshare has more than 600,000 active users—an impressive number on its own—but Udemy’s user base is far larger. There are more than 67 million “learners” using the platform, which could mean that Udemy courses are more likely to receive feedback. This might help prospective students make more informed decisions about the classes they choose.

Winner: Udemy

3. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Number of Courses

Skillshare’s more than 35,000 courses focus primarily on creative, business, and lifestyle-based skills, so there’s a good chance that customers looking for new topics to learn about in those fields will be able to find something that appeals to them. Udemy focuses on, well, just about everything, and does so with more depth than some Skillshare classes can: Udemy offers six times as many courses as Skillshare, with more than 210,000 courses on the books. Skillshare’s more limited course selection may appeal to some learners who don’t want to comb through so many options in search of the exact course needed to develop or improve a specific skill set. That said, 210,000 is still an enormous number of courses, so there’s a good chance that Udemy has a course for most people within its subject areas as well.

Verdict: Although Skillshare has more than 35,000 courses covering a wide range of creative and professional skills, the sheer breadth of Udemy’s coursework is tough to beat. With more than 210,000 courses for users to explore, Udemy likely has something for everyone.

Winner: Udemy

4. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Course Topics

Online learning platforms often lean in a particular direction when it comes to course subjects and topic areas. Some concentrate specifically on business applications, for instance, while others may offer courses covering crafts, computers, humanities, general knowledge, or other unique subject areas. Both Udemy and Skillshare are multi-focused in that they offer courses across a range of topics. Skillshare courses tend to focus on creative endeavors, with course categories including “Create,” “Build,” and “Thrive.”

“Create” subjects target both professionals and hobbyists interested in creative pursuits, offering courses in:

  • Art and illustration
  • Graphic design
  • Creative writing
  • Interior design
  • Music
  • Cooking
  • Sewing
  • DIY

“Build” topics center on professional development, with courses in:

  • Marketing
  • Foreign languages
  • Health and wellness
  • Other subjects designed to build skills that can be applied to career advancement or personal growth.

“Thrive” courses focus on lifestyle and productivity, with courses in:

  • Time management
  • Not taking
  • Meditation
  • Computer programs that can improve home management and small-business management

While Skillshare’s courses span several different fields—and there are even courses that teach technical skills such as coding—they center around the creative and personal development area.

As noted in Udemy reviews, the platform offers courses in 75 languages and covers almost any subject a customer can imagine wanting to learn more about. Courses covering business applications such as web development, search engine optimization (SEO), accounting, network security, leadership training, and data analytics are available as well. Those looking to transition into a tech-focused field can enroll in IT online courses to prepare for certification. Graphic design, productivity, and coding are covered in multiple courses taught by different instructors, as are public speaking and machine learning, and even yoga and piano. The best Udemy online courses run the gamut from vegetable gardening and wood carving to new-home construction. There are many high-quality lessons to choose from, with Udemy hosting some of the best online interior design courses and the best online landscape design courses to be found anywhere.

Notably, Udemy also offers customized courses for business customers, who can choose to subscribe on behalf of all of their employees and incorporate the platform’s coursework as part of their corporate-training processes. Simply put, the platform’s course options are tough to beat—as we also found when comparing Udemy vs. Coursera.

Verdict: Skillshare’s strength lies in more creative pursuits, highlighting topics such as animation, writing, fine art, video, music, and graphic design. Although there are courses for more technical skills, such as coding and web design, they aren’t a core focus for the platform. Udemy courses, meanwhile, cover an even wider range of subjects, including areas of professional development such as data science, app development, finance and accounting, network security, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Winner: Udemy

5. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Subscriptions and Plans

Those interested in trying out online courses but who are wary of spending money on a subscription or one-off lesson plan may gravitate toward Udemy. Free courses are available without a subscription—although a login account is required to access the platform—allowing users to try a few courses without committing to the platform. Udemy also offers courses that can be purchased individually as well as a monthly subscription plan that provides access to a substantial number of courses. Learners who sign up for a subscription can take as many courses as they like while their subscription is active. Three tiers of Udemy for Business plans are aimed at whole-organization training, team training, or leadership training for up-and-coming professionals. This range of options makes it easy for users to choose a plan that works for their needs, and with the option to cancel anytime, users aren’t locked into a subscription for longer than they want to continue using the service.

Skillshare’s offerings are a bit more streamlined, but they’re also somewhat more limited. A single, annual subscription option for individual learners simplifies the options. It does force new subscribers (after a free trial) to commit to a full year of paid use, which may feel like a big commitment to a learner who just wants to try out a few courses. Skillshare for Business provides learning packages and opportunities for small and larger teams for an annual cost; companies can subscribe for all of their users at once and offer a combination of training and wellness courses.

Verdict: Skillshare offers one subscription plan for all personal users, regardless of what topic they are interested in exploring. Businesses can also purchase a “Skillshare for Teams” subscription for their employees to learn new skills. Udemy’s options are a little more varied, though, with personal plans, multiple business-oriented subscriptions, and individual courses available for purchase.

Winner: Udemy

Skillshare vs Udemy

6. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Pricing

Not all aspects of the pricing for either Udemy or Skillshare are available online, as is often the case with services that have multiple pricing scales. Both Udemy and Skillshare do offer free trials—Udemy for 7 days (business users receive 14 days) and Skillshare for 1 month. That additional time could give Skillshare users plenty of opportunity to decide if they want to move forward with a paid subscription.

Skillshare’s annual subscriptions cost $165, which is a good price considering the breadth of coursework available to learners, particularly if they use the program consistently throughout the year. An annual team subscription for Skillshare costs $159 per seat for businesses with between one to 49 employees; businesses needing more than 49 seats will be individually quoted.

Udemy offers courses that can be purchased individually without a subscription. Prices range from $19.99 to $199 depending on the course. Alternatively, users can pay for a monthly subscription with rates that may be slightly lower than Skillshare’s subscription fees, but not by much. This is a great option for those who want to take a handful of courses but aren’t interested in committing for a full year.

Verdict: Both platforms offer monthly and annual subscriptions that begin after a free trial period. Udemy also allows customers to purchase some courses individually, with prices ranging from $19.99 to $199.99 per course, and there are some free courses available too. Although the month-to-month rates are very similar for each platform (Udemy’s monthly subscriptions only cost about $1 more), Skillshare offers the better deal overall, with slightly more affordable annual subscriptions ($165 vs. $199). In addition, new subscribers can try out Skillshare for free for an entire month, while Udemy’s introductory trial period only runs for 7 days (14 days for business users).

Winner: Skillshare

7. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Course Length and Structure

Because each course is developed by an individual instructor, no two courses will be alike, even if they’re focused on the same topic. Both Udemy and Skillshare have some basic rules in place to make sure instructors provide enough content to justify the cost of the course, but the presentations are a little different. Udemy provides instructors with a clear, helpful guide on the best practices for developing a course description and course agenda. The company’s oversight process includes a quality review that every course must pass before it can be searchable on the platform as well as a clear checklist of requirements.

Udemy’s course content requirements include:

  • At least 30 minutes of video and four separate lectures;
  • What the company deems “valuable educational content”; and
  • A course landing page with a course image and title, a description, a section on the intended or target learners, and an instructor biography.

The checklist also covers quality concerns, meaning videos and sound must be formatted in a particular way and of a specific quality. Free courses must contain no more than 2 hours of video. Once the course passes the quality inspection, it can go live and be purchased.

Skillshare also boasts a host of useful guidelines and templates to assist teachers in creating a strong, well-organized course. Class-planning templates are available to steer teachers toward the type of classes Skillshare prefers to offer, and those who need additional assistance can get help choosing topics, selecting course titles, and writing a class description. Skillshare requires that teachers apply to offer classes; would-be teachers can’t just write a class and submit it for publication unless they have already successfully passed through Skillshare’s hiring and vetting process first.

Once a class is written, it must pass through the Moderation team’s review process. The course must be taught in English, French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish, as Skillshare finds that those languages will reach the majority of its international audience. While Skillshare doesn’t provide a list of approved topics, it does have a list of subject areas that will not be approved: most involve sensitive or personal subjects, subjects that lean toward illegal activity, or highly contentious topics likely to create conflict. The platform also has a list of topics that may only be taught by instructors who have achieved or demonstrated a specific measure of competence and expertise. Many of those restrictions are placed on courses that are geared toward preparation for certification exams or complex subjects that require training and expertise to teach well.

Overall, Skillshare’s requirements for the number and length of lessons are less stringent than Udemy’s, but the rules about structure are clear: Each course must include several lessons, and the lessons must consist of an introduction and conclusion, a class project with a deliverable and publishable product, and at least 10 minutes of video content. The introduction must be in video format and must completely introduce the subject, agenda, and anticipated outcomes. Lesson plans should include videos with clear titles that are not repetitive, and the plans should be identifiable, consistent, and complete. Skillshare also lays out the performance criteria that will determine if a course will be pulled after a year on the platform. With that in mind, Skillshare’s content requirements may result in higher-quality courses in some cases, while teachers may find Udemy’s guidelines to be more useful in other situations.

Verdict: Although courses will vary depending on the instructor, both platforms have minimum length requirements for courses to be approved. With Udemy, classes must have at least five lectures and 30 minutes of video content. Skillshare, meanwhile, requires 10 minutes of video content, including an intro and outro, as well as a deliverable class project.

Winner: Tie

8. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Content Access

Much attention is given to the availability of resources while a course is in progress, but what about afterward? Students who have taken a course to prepare to use a new program, learn a new skill, or develop a new practice may want to continue working through their lessons multiple times or return to the materials for a brush-up later. And since they’ve paid for the access, it stands to reason they should be able to keep some of the materials. Both Skillshare and Udemy offer unlimited access to course materials for every course a learner has taken—but that unlimited access only lasts for the duration of the learner’s subscription. Once the subscription ends, access to materials is cut off. Access can be regained if the learner resubscribes at a later date.

Udemy does grant lifetime access to materials for courses that students have purchased individually. As such, learners who choose to purchase a whole course from Udemy rather than sign up for a subscription will retain their access indefinitely.

Verdict: Skillshare users can access their coursework and materials as long as their account is still active. But once their subscription ends, they will no longer be able to review course materials unless they renew at a later date. This is true for Udemy subscriptions as well. However, Udemy students will retain lifetime access to any individual courses they purchase regardless of their subscription status.

Winner: Udemy

9. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Credits, Degrees, and Certifications Available

Udemy and Skillshare provide outstanding educational opportunities, but neither can grant degrees, offer transferable college credits, or provide certification. What they can do, and do well in many cases, is offer courses that will help learners prepare for certification exams, allowing students to work through lessons that will support and benefit those currently enrolled in courses at degree-granting universities. Additionally, they can provide certificates of completion for each course a student takes. Those certificates may be used to verify that students have met requirements for continuing education, and recipients can attach certificates to their resume to demonstrate that they have received some training in the subject area. For instance, the Udemy Certification in Welding Technology is one of the best online welding courses available.

Verdict: Neither platform offers accreditations, certifications, course credits, or educational degrees. However, Skillshare and Udemy users will receive a certificate of completion once they have finished a course.

Winner: Tie

Skillshare vs Udemy

10. Skillshare vs. Udemy: Customer Support

Skillshare and Udemy are essentially learning management systems. There’s a framework on which the courses are built, then selected, scheduled, and run. Because not all users are necessarily familiar with the technology involved in navigating a learning management system, it’s reasonable to expect that the platforms would provide real-time support to help. Both Udemy and Skillshare offer the option for users to submit questions to in-house experts through their respective platforms, but it may take some time to receive a response.

Although neither company has customer support representatives available over the phone, both provide a wealth of articles and tools to assist users in finding the answers on their own. Udemy’s and Skillshare’s search tools are smooth and effective, and available help articles offer a good balance of graphic representation of solutions and text-based instruction. Skillshare also offers a live chat with a customer service representative who can walk users through any problems that they’re having.

Customer reviews on the customer support teams are mixed, as mentioned before, with many reviewers suggesting that there were problems getting resolution with payment issues, but others stating that they received the help they needed promptly. If there’s a problem that needs solving at either platform, persistence on the part of the user may be the key. Otherwise, the extensive library of explainers and help articles will be a customer’s best bet for help—and on Skillshare, students can take advantage of the platform’s live chat option for faster assistance.

Verdict: Users looking for hands-on support may be disappointed to find that neither platform offers customer support over the phone. Skillshare users can speak to a representative via live chat, though. In both cases, students can submit questions and requests online through the respective platform. There are also extensive online resources, including FAQs, how-to articles, and explainers, to provide quick answers to common questions.

Winner: Skillshare

Verdict: Udemy stands out due to the sheer number and variety of courses offered, as well as the option to purchase and save individual courses. That being said, Skillshare is the more affordable option for subscribers, and with its focus on creative skills, it may appeal to those interested in artistic pursuits.

Those looking for courses focused on creative pastimes and careers may find Skillshare to be the better option, especially as the annual subscription will give users time to dig into projects and follow more advanced coursework over time. For most other pursuits, Udemy’s stunning number of course offerings and thriving community of users will provide the widest breadth of opportunity. And while Udemy’s rates are a bit higher (and the free trial shorter), the option of choosing a monthly subscription may make it a more manageable expense. Both platforms promise a well-structured, well-monitored opportunity for students to study and develop expertise in an almost unimaginable number of fields for a much lower cost than attending in-person learning opportunities. While Udemy may appeal to a wider range of prospective students due to the variety of courses and subjects offered, Skillshare is one of the best Udemy alternatives.