Both Skillshare and Udemy are online course marketplaces that offer a similar service. In this Skillshare vs. Udemy comparison, we will cover which option is better for an online teacher.
Unlike freelance platforms like Fiverr or Outschool, where you get bookings and teach. Skillshare and Udemy allow you to create an online course portfolio that can earn you passive income. You put in the upfront work and create video courses; students can enroll in your system anytime.
While on the surface, both these websites offer a similar service in that students can enroll in various courses that teachers create. That’s where the similarities end.
Both Udemy and Skillshare have unique pros and cons when compared to one another. They also operate slightly differently regarding the class structure and payment for the potential online teacher.
Udemy vs. Skillshare breakdown for teachers
As this guide is designed for teachers who want to create online courses on these two platforms, we will cover the essential aspects teachers need to know for Skillshare and Udemy.
- Payment and earning potential
- Course topics and structure
- Course approval process
- Student reviews and management
- Affiliate Program
Udemy vs. Skillshare earning potential and payment.
Both these two platforms pay you via PayPal once a month. Udemy has a 30-day refund policy, so your payments are for the previous month, not the current one. Skillshare pays you for premium minutes watched in the current month.
Udemy courses can be priced anywhere from $19.99 to $200. However, Udemy runs deep discounts weekly, so you, as a teacher, can realistically expect to earn $3 to $7 per course sale.
This is quite a small amount considering you must create a 2-hour or more long course, but Udemy (like Amazon) has a massive volume of course buyers. Also, Udemy students expect these discounts, which is what they like so much about Udemy. Quality courses for cheap. Except for this reality, or don’t bother with Udemy.
Your primary goal as a teacher on Udemy is to get your course on the first page for its search term. Rankings are a function of the number of students enrolled, the conversion rate, and the student feedback. Udemy is quite saturated, so it will be difficult for new teachers to get attention, but it’s not impossible if you’re in it for the long term.
Skillshare is a subscription service for students and pays you as a teacher based on “premium minutes” watched of your courses. “Premium” means explicitly minutes watched by paying members, as Skillshare also allows you to create free courses where you get “free” minutes watched.
Each month, Skillshare collects its revenue from paying members. It takes 30% of this revenue and puts it in a specific fund to pay out to teachers. They divide up the payments to teachers based on premium minutes.
Your final payment will be based on how much revenue Skillshare made that month and how many premium minutes were watched for your courses.
Skillshare generally exposes new courses and course creators better than Udemy, which tends to bury new courses deep in its marketplace.
While the earning potential with Udemy is there, as it is the biggest online course website in the world, new teachers tend to need help to make money, as Udemy favors established courses with great reviews. If you create Udemy courses, you’ll have to drive traffic and attention to improve your course rankings.
Course topics and structure
What courses and topics can you teach on Udemy and Skillshare? As an online teacher who primarily teaches content around English, social studies, science, or general life skills, we must give the edge to Udemy.
Udemy course topics
Udemy has students all over the world who are interested in a variety of topics. From learning business English to programming to learning how to bake bread, Udemy has tremendous flexibility in course topics for online teachers looking to diversify their income away from online teaching companies.
With Udemy, your courses can be a more comprehensive experience as you can create courses with video sections, text-based guides, images, and quizzes.
Skillshare course topics
Skillshare, by comparison, is much more focused on creative, business-oriented courses. Content like photography, web development, and programming do very well.
While you can create courses on whatever you want for Skillshare, most of Skillshare’s students wish to take more business-oriented courses.
Last, courses must be broken up into video lessons, and each course must have a clear and specific final project requirement.
Udemy, with its massive student user base, allows creative teachers to make online courses on fun, exciting topics they are passionate about that can reach an audience. We love Skillshare, but you may need to create business-oriented courses.
Course approval process
Can anyone go and sign up and create courses on Udemy and Skillshare? Yes, but with a catch. Both have specific requirements and rules you must know before getting started.
Udemy course approval
Once you go through the process of creating your course on Udemy, you’ll have to submit it for approval. A staff member will review your system to ensure you cover everything required to get a course published.
Things like a good thumbnail, logical organization, good teacher profile description, and good course description. Most new teachers usually make a few mistakes, and Udemy will only approve your course after the first time.
However, Udemy tells you precisely what needs to be fixed, and having your course rejected is no penalty. You need to take action and resolve any issues.
Skillshare course approval
Skillshare is much more strict and works on a three-strike policy. If you submit a course and it gets rejected by the Skillshare staff, you’ll be given a strike. Three strikes and your account is permanently closed.
If your course is given a strike, a Skillshare moderator will email you to explain what is wrong and what you need to fix for your course to go live.
Strikes are rolled back after six months, so if your goal is to put a lot of courses on Skillshare, make sure not to get two strikes as you’ll need to stop and wait for your strikes to be rolled back again so it’s safe to publish again.
Lastly, you can publish one course a week max on Skillshare. If you try to post two in seven days, that will lead to a strike.
Udemy allows a teacher to create courses and make changes as needed without worrying about having their account closed. However, the strict moderation policy at Skillshare does make for a better user experience for students and less competition for established teachers.
Student reviews and management
What’s fun and engaging about both these platforms is the engagement with students you’ll have. Once you have a few courses up on Skillshare and Udemy, it’s enriching to see class projects created by people who enrolled in your course.
Udemy reviews and student management
Udemy has a built-in messaging system and a helpful app that you can download. Through the app, you can quickly respond to any course message. Reviews on Udemy are all over the place. With some users leaving a two or 3-star review and no feedback. Unhelpful as you need to know what could be improved.
Last, as reviews are essential for course rankings, there is an incentive to buy reviews. Overall, this is an area Udemy can improve on to make feedback more honest and realistic for teachers and students.
Skillshare reviews and student management
Skillshare allows students to leave a review of how helpful the course is and a detailed written review. We’ve found the Skillshare audience to be much more professional and helpful. We are leaving fair, accurate feedback, both positive and negative.
Last, as part of any course on Skillshare, you’ll need to set up a course project. Seeing how your system helped someone do something is fun and rewarding.
Overall, the quality of students and the feedback on Skillshare are better and more helpful. As reviews don’t play a direct role in rankings, the review process is more honest.
Both these platforms have their dedicated affiliate programs. You can promote Skillshare and Udemy on your Facebook page, YouTube channel, or blog.
To become an affiliate, you can sign up at udemy.com/affiliate or skillshare.com/affiliate.
Udemy affiliate program
The commission rate for Udemy is 15% of what the person paid for the course (not the list price). So if a $200 course is on sale for $10 and someone purchases through your link, you get 15% off $10. Again, you could make a lot with a small amount but with the right traffic source.
Also, Udemy is offered in multiple languages, so if you’re a bi-lingual teacher with an audience that speaks a language other than English, Udemy is a creative choice.
Skillshare affiliate program
Skillshare pays affiliates $7 per new paying customer. So if someone signs up under your affiliate link, they get a 2-month free trial. If they purchase, you get a commission; if they don’t, you get nothing.
Please note, however, that as a Skillshare teacher, you get your referral link to your profile or courses. If someone signs up under your link as a referral, you get $ 10$ regardless of their purchase, and the people you refer get $ 2 months free—a win-win for all.
If you ever become a “top-rated teacher,” the 10$ referral jumps to $50. Top-rated teachers already make thousands of dollars in premium minutes watched, and this bonus of $50 is very motivating.
Skillshare pays more per referral and is ideal for promoting via a YouTube channel or Instagram bio link once you’re a teacher. The 10$ rate adds up quickly and is an easy sell, as new users get two months free just for signing up.
However, The Skillshare affiliate program is disappointing as you only get $ 7 $ if the person converts into a paying customer. It’s ideal if you want to promote other courses that are not your own, but we find Udemy better.
Udemy does pay a minimal amount per sale. However, Udemy allows you to link to specific courses and is ideal for bloggers who want to create blog content.
So both are lucrative; they work better in different situations.
Skillshare vs. Udemy Conclusion
So which one is best? As an online teacher, you should create content for both platforms. Both are marketplaces where you can sign up for free and get to work. Once established on both, you can leverage their respective affiliate programs.
If you want an affordable guide that goes into more detail on Udemy and various other platforms, check out this low-cost course by Leon. It covers what successful teachers on each platform are doing to generate additional revenue from teaching.
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Editorial StaffI'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.
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