The number and variety of еLearning platforms are increasing day by day. Each of them can be oriented more on formal, natural, or social sciences. However, their main goal is the same: to provide users from all over the world with equal access to knowledge.
Most platforms offer a lot of similar options. That’s why it’s important to figure out the differences to pick up the right course.
Today’s review is devoted to the following MOOC providers: Lynda and Skillshare.
We’ll look closer at their advantages/disadvantages and answer the following questions:
- What courses do they offer?
- Is it possible to get certificates after finishing courses and how valuable they’re?
- How different their pricing plans are and what each of them includes?
- Which platform provides more freedom of interaction between users and teachers?
- How easy it is to contact the platforms’ support teams and solve the problem?
To learn more about eLearning platforms, take a closer look at the following articles:
Lynda is an old name of the platform: in 2015 it was owned by LinkedIn.
Lynda still functions as a separate platform. However, if you’re about to purchase the course, you’ll be redirected to LinkedIn Learning. Now, the lessons of both platforms are combined into a single base of courses.
During the account registration, users should take a little survey. This option provides them with easier course selection and increases the platform efficiency.
On getting a Premium membership, Lynda’s users can select from 16000 courses. After careful examination of the proposed lessons, I’ve noticed that the platform comes up with 3 prevailing topics among them:
- business development;
- web technologies;
- software guides & usage.
Lynda’s Library is well-structured and includes 12 categories. Each of them consists of the course topics, software, and Learning Paths.
A learning path is a set of video lessons, which are united by a common topic.
For example, if you decide to improve the digital marketing skills, you can select a Learning Path called “How to become a digital marketing specialist”. It contains 11 video lessons with a total duration of 21 hours. It’s a practical all-in-one solution for deeper studying of a topic.
Here is the list of all categories and the most popular courses, which you can find on Lynda’s platform:
- Animation (lighting, textures, rigging, rendering, etc.);
- Audio (digital audio workstations, virtual instruments, mixing, post-production, etc.);
- Business (project management, cloud computing, collaboration, business skills, etc.);
- Design (digital publishing, illustration, work with colors, freelancing, etc.);
- Computer-aided design and drafting (interior design, 2D modeling, construction, architecture, etc.);
- Education (higher education, educational technologies, tools for students, learning management systems, etc.);
- Development (databases, work with servers, tools for developer, mobile applications, etc.);
- Internet technologies (IT and hardware, big data, administration of networks, security, etc.);
- Video (compositing, web video, motion graphics, compositing, etc.);
- Marketing (advertising, business skills, lead generation, search engine optimization, etc.);
- Photography (correction of photos, black and white photography, retouching, lighting, etc.);
- Web (content management systems, infographics, web design, electronic commerce, etc.).
Each course implies the following information:
- Short preview;
- Feedback from other users;
The courses’ base is refreshed regularly and new lessons are added almost every week. Plus, users aren’t limited by the number of courses they can watch per month.
The platform courses are aimed at getting practical skills rather than theoretical. Besides, most lessons and exercise files include various quizzes that can increase motivation and boost the learning process.
Courses are structured in such a way that even if you get a four hours course, the longest video won’t be more than 10 minutes.
Besides, Lynda’s users are allowed to use mobile as well as desktop applications. Along with this, the functionality of the mobile version is limited. For example, you’re not allowed to create bookmarks, get video transcripts, or download files with tasks. On the other hand, it allows you to save time and learn on the go.
You’ll also get a certificate of completion and offline access to the courses.
Currently, you can find about 27000 courses on the platform.
All courses are structured into 3 groups: Create, Build, and Thrive.
- Animation (after effects, creation of GIFs, looping animation, frame by frame animation, etc.);
- Writing (creation of screenplays, editing, and proofreading, storytelling, copywriting, etc.);
- Photography (DSLR photography, Photoshop, still life and street photography, etc.);
- Fine art (gouache painting, watercolor, acrylic painting, form, and space, etc.);
- Design (Adobe Illustrator, creation of thumbnails, poster design, graphic design, etc.);
- Illustration (drawing, digital illustration, expressive animation, using of Procreate, etc.);
- Audio (music theory, mixing music, vocal, songwriting, etc.);
- Filming (work in Adobe Premiere, video editing, colors, filmmaking, etc.);
- User interface design (color schemes, digital design, mobile UX, work in Figma, etc.);
- Web development (Shopify, coding for newbies, HTML/CSS, WordPress, etc.).
- Marketing (social media marketing, search engine optimization, personal branding, business development through Instagram, etc.);
- Leadership (politic, project management, body language, program management, etc.);
- Freelance (stock market, electronic commerce, podcasting, art licensing, etc.);
- Analytics (Google Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, Microsoft Excel, drawing date, etc.).
- Productivity (time management, developing of good habits, creation of digital productivity journal, etc.);
- Lifestyle (interior design, self-care, gardening, cookery, etc.).
The average duration of video lessons is 30 minutes or 1 hour. However, even half-an-hour lessons are divided into shorter parts.
Another platform’s feature is the live sessions. They allow users to join a creative community for learning and sharing their experiences in real-time. Usually, such sessions last for an hour. Even though this option is available only for Premium subscribers, there are always a lot of users who want to join such sessions (space is limited to 300 users only). So it’s better to sign up in advance.
Courses are held using the Zoom platform.
Another Skillshare feature is groups. It allows Skillshare’s subscribers to connect with each other for sharing experience and triggering discussions. Currently, you can choose among the 30 groups to join. Each of them includes from 3000 to 5000 members.
Those users who are aimed at more intensive studying can join one of the workshops that are run by top-rated instructors and last for a couple of weeks. On buying a Premium subscription, you get most of the workshops included.
Skillshare comes up with a handy application for Android and iOS. Users can download any course and learn them offline. However, only Premium subscribers can use this option.
Also, the platform implies a referral system. For example, if users decide to share an invitation, they can use a referral link. When referrals register and purchase a monthly or annual subscription, you get $7 as a bonus, plus a Premium month for free.
After finishing courses, users aren’t provided with certificates of skills training. Instead of this, you can get a certificate of completion. Users can add it to their account, resume, or curriculum vitae.
Since the platform isn’t accredited, its certificates can’t be recognized by third parties.
Skillshare isn’t an accredited platform, too. Along with this, you don’t get any certificate after finishing a course. You’re allowed to add only a link to the passed course in your resume, portfolio, etc.
The platform pays specific attention to the proven instructors’ experience and professional skills. The process of becoming an instructor implies verifying your expertise by Lynda’s team.
You can become a teacher using the menu “LinkedIn for Teachers”. Then you must fill in an application, share the information about your skills, teaching experience, professional achievements, and more. Instructors get a one-time payment for each completed course.
Skillshare doesn’t imply strict requirements for the professional qualities of instructors and they aren’t verified thoroughly. Their level of knowledge can be academic as well as intermediate. So, it’s important to check up a preview of the course, information about the instructor, and read comments from other subscribers.
The platform implies a royalty system for instructors. The royalty rate is directly dependent on the time during which users have watched the course.
You can choose the teaching language among the 7 available: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese.
The platform’s policy allows courses to be taught in any language. However, most of Skillshare’s audience is English-speaking that determines the language of teaching.
Lynda’s users aren’t allowed to use the platform for free: it’s a service, whose pricing policy is based on subscriptions. Users can choose any lessons among the offered ones for the monthly fee of $29.99.
Another option is to purchase the annual subscription for $299.88. It seems to be an expensive variant, but it provides you with a 17% discount. As a result, you can have 2 free months of usage and save about $60.
Also, you can buy individual lessons.
Unlike Lynda, Skillshare’s users can choose between free and paid subscriptions.
In this case, the number of available courses is limited to 2000 only. However, they’re of the same high quality as the paid courses.
Being a free member, you can’t take part in workshops or join group discussions. However, you can still become a group follower.
When users decide to get a paid subscription, they’re offered 2 options:
- Monthly pay costs $15;
- Annual pay costs $99 ($8.25 monthly).
As a premium member, you’re allowed to select any classes you want. Also, users may subscribe to workshops and living sessions where it’s possible to actively participate in the learning process and share your ideas.
Along with this, you can choose among 2 types of Team Plans:
- Starter. It costs $99 monthly for 1 person and includes course and lessons projects, user management, technical support, etc.;
- Enterprise. Its cost is set individually after agreement with the Skillshare team. Here, you get integration with Learning Management Systems, lessons analytic, Learning and Development consultation, ability to create private groups, curation of Learning Paths, custom reports, and many more.
If you have troubles or questions about platform functionality, you can come to the Support page. There you can find the most frequently asked questions with answers.
If this information doesn’t cover your question, you’re welcome to create a ticket.
The platform doesn’t support live chat. However, you can contact a support team by phone.
Also, you can join Lynda’s official community on Twitter or Facebook.
The platform comes up with an extensive and well-structured knowledge base that you can search on the Help Center page. Here you can find the most popular topics, which are grouped into 3 categories:
- Basics (account creation and manage profile, work with desktop/mobile applications, etc.);
- Users section (choose a subscription, pricing policy, payment issues, etc.);
- Teachers section (promotion, course publishing, marketing issues, etc.).
Also, there is a separate section called “Teacher Handbook” where you can find a set of articles from “How to start” to “Building your channel”.
You can follow Skillshare’s official community on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Also, you can visit Skillshare’s blog.
Pros and Cons
- access to the extended course base without limits;
- personalized course recommendations;
- multilingual support for most of the courses;
- an opportunity to receive a certificate and add it to your CV or account;
- the platform implies the verification and approval of teachers’ professional skills.
- regular course base update.
- it isn’t an accredited platform;
- to get a Premium membership, users should pay more than on other similar eLearning platforms;
- a low level of interaction between instructors and users (Lynda doesn’t imply workshops, live sessions, or group work).
- a large number of lessons on different topics;
- offline access to the courses using mobile or desktop application;
- a high level of interaction: users can take an active part in the learning process and contact teachers, subscribers, join groups, live sessions.
- you’ll not get any certificate after passing a course;
- almost any person can become a teacher since the platform doesn’t come up with testing of teachers’ professional competence;
- users aren’t provided with lifetime access to lessons.
Is it easy to select another Lynda’s membership plan?
Users are allowed to upgrade or downgrade the subscription. So, yes, it’s possible. In the first case, all additional features become available for you immediately. In the second case, all changes in functionality won’t take effect until the end of the current billing cycle.
Can I close my account on Lynda?
Yes, it’s possible. After closing an account, information like courses’ history, certificates won’t be available.
What if I can’t find the topic I’m interested in among Lynda’s courses?
It’s possible to make a request to Lynda’s support team. In turn, they’ll contact a content development team and try to solve a problem.
If the information on Lynda is out of date, are the corresponding courses deleted?
Yes, because the platform’s team tries to provide users with the most recent information.
What payment methods does Lynda support?
Lynda uses debit, credit, and prepaid cards (the whole list of networks is presented on the official website, on the Payment Methods page). Also, the platform supports PayPal.
Is it possible to make my profile on Skillshare invisible?
You can make your profile private in your account settings if you’re seeking privacy.
Can I get my money back for the Skillshare’s Premium membership?
Yes, you can. It’s important to submit a refund request within 7 days after paying for membership.
Are Skillshare’s gift cards provided with an expiration period?
No, you can use them any time. They stay active until you redeem them.
Should I pay an additional fee for workshops on Skillshare?
This option is included in a Premium subscription and you don’t have to pay for it. However, some teachers add a one-time payment for registration to their workshop. You can find this information in the course description.
Does Skillshare come up with a trial period?
Yes, it lasts for 2 weeks. After 14 days, you have to choose between a month or annual plans.
Summing up, it’s difficult to define the absolute leader of the comparison. Each of the platforms has both advantages and disadvantages.
If we speak about the courses, then Skillshare offers more than Lynda does. At the same time, Linda’s subscribers can be sure of the high quality of all lessons. Plus, instructors confirm their skills before joining the platform. As a result, users know what they pay for and what they’ll get in the end.
Skillshare offers more affordable pricing plans compared to Lynda. Besides, the platform provides users with an upgraded level of interaction with instructors and other members. You can join one of the 30 available working groups or take part in numerous workshops online.
None of the platforms are accredited. However, Lynda’s users get a certificate of completion. In turn, Skillshare doesn’t provide any certifications. Users can get only a link to the project they created at the end of the courses.
The specialization of the courses is also worth noting. Despite the variety of topics, Skillshare is more focused on arts and personal enrichment.
In turn, Lynda is oriented more on internet technologies, programming, and business development.