MasterClass is famed for the calibre of its instructors, the quality of its production values and its rigour when it comes to quality of content.
But there are other eLearning sites like MasterClass that offer features which may be a better fit for your needs.
So in this article I’ll be setting out 7 of the best MasterClass alternatives based on criteria such as range and quality of courses, costs and certification.
If you just want the headlines, the next section is for you.
- Best overall alternative – Udemy. Whether you’re looking for professional development or just to learn something fun, with over 204,000 courses on offer you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus frequent sales make Udemy great value for money and you can buy courses individually without committing to a subscription.
- Runner up – Coursera. Coursera is a great alternative to MasterClass as their courses offer accredited certificates from the world’s top universities and institutions. However, Coursera typically offers more academic subjects so it may miss key courses depending on your interests.
- Best for personal development – Mindvalley. Mindvalley’s unique focus on personal development unlocks the strategies of top performers and provides an effective route to self improvement. It also has an engaged and active community to support you on your learning journey, which many other platforms lack.
- Best for creatives – Skillshare. SkillShare has a huge range of courses for those with a creative flair. It also has a lively community for you to share your learning experiences with, seek feedback from and generally engage with. Plus it’s offering a one month free membership which you can access here.
Why you should consider a MasterClass alternative
MasterClass is best for those who are:
- Keen to learn from those at the very top of their game
- Fans or followers of the teachers on the platform
- Intellectually curious and love learning new things
- Inspired by a cinematic style of learning that uses storytelling to create a connection between instructor and audience
- Looking to up their game in the learning categories available
It is less suited to those who are:
- Seeking a much bigger choice of courses and the opportunity to purchase them individually (Udemy)
- Seeking accredited certification and keen on a more academic style of learning (Coursera and edX)
- Wanting to focus more closely on personal development (Mindvalley)
- Seeking start to finish instruction on how to do something
- Passionate creatives looking to engage with a community of like minded learners (Skillshare and CreativeLive)
Best MasterClass alternatives
Below is a list of the ten best MasterClass alternatives for accessing high quality online learning consistently and conveniently.
Launched in 2009, Udemy is now the largest Ed Tech company of its kind. It gives everyone the opportunity to create and offer quality controlled online courses on its platform.
It has over 50+ million registered users and offers 204,000+ courses across 12 categories.
Udemy is an all round provider, offering courses in both professional as well as personal development.
You can buy courses singly on Udemy from around $12, or purchase a Personal Plan for $26.99 per month.
- Comprehensive range of courses
- Passionate instructors with many high profile contributors
- Courses that equip you for the changing nature of work in addition to those that are creative and fun
- Competitive pricing with constant sales, deals and promotions
- 500+ free courses
- Instructors and courses are audited before being allowed on the platform
- Course certificates aren’t accredited by any university or institution
- Course quality varies due to so many contributors
Why choose Udemy as a MasterClass Alternative?
The main reason for choosing Udemy as an alternative to Coursera is that it has over a hundred times more courses across a greater range of categories.
What’s more, unlike MasterClass, you can purchase courses individually on Udemy without committing to a subscription.
And with frequent sales and promotions it is likely you could take quite a few courses over the course of 12 months for less than you would pay for a MasterClass subscription.
Coursera is one of the largest learning platforms in the world. It was started in 2012 by two Stanford professors with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning.
Just seven years later Coursera achieved unicorn status (a valuation of $1bn+). In 2020 alone, it attracted as many learners as its closest competitor did in its entire existence.
Today, Cousera has 92 million registered users and is partnered with 250+ leading universities and industry educators to offer over 7,000 courses and degree programs. Much of its content can be accessed completely free.
- Teaching from leading academics, Nobel prize winners, top authors, c-suite executives and leaders in their respective fields
- The chance to earn a certificate accredited by one of the world’s top organisations
- Lots of free content for you to sample risk free
- Well structured and resourced courses
- Huge catalogue of courses
- Prestigious education at affordable prices
- Learn offline
- Confusing pricing structure and free content not always easy to find
- Fewer courses in humanities and data science than its rival edX
- The strong focus on professional training make it less appropriate for creatives, hobbyists, or those interested in personal development
Why choose Coursera as a MasterClass alternative?
The main reason for choosing Coursera as an alternative to MasterClass is that it offers fully accredited certification from the prestigious institutions which provide its courses.
It is also strongly focussed on professional and career development so if you are seeking to learn in order to pursue a promotion or career change, Coursera is definitely worth your consideration.
You can take over 2,000 courses for free and pay for certification later, so you can explore the platform thoroughly without making any financial commitment
Mindvalley is an eLearning platform founded in 2003. Its mission is to deliver life-changing programs that empower people to become their best, most fulfilled selves.
It is focussed purely on personal development and well being. Courses start on a specific date and are completed with a cohort of fellow learners who support you during your learning journey.
Mindvalley claims to use scientifically proven systems that keep you engaged, moving forward and making positive changes that stick.
Pros of Mindvalley
- Teaching from passionate, respected and accomplished instructors
- A unique and effective approach to online learning
- Engaging bite sized lessons that build on and reinforce prior learning
- Strong ‘results that stick’ focus
- Genuinely community oriented platform
Cons of Mindvalley
- Fairly small catalogue compared to other learning platforms (in terms of number of courses though not learning time)
- Only works if you do (like any eLearning)
Why choose Mindvalley as a MasterClass alternative?
If you are serious about personal development then Mindvalley is a great MasterClass Alternative.
Mindvalley’s unique, optimized approach to learning unlocks the tips and strategies of top performers and provides an effective route to self improvement. The daily bite sized sessions build techniques and mindset in a way that locks in progress.
Courses start at specific times and so you share your journey with a community of peers who provide support and encouragement.
Read more in our Mindvalley review.
The core philosophy of Skillshare is simple: “Anyone can learn anything, at any age, at an affordable cost, anywhere in the world”
And to prove the point, Skillshare has become an education giant, offering over 35,000 courses to its 12+ million users.
The platform is renowned for its classes in creative disciplines such as Photography and Sketching, but also offers courses in fields such as Business and Productivity. Its teachers are practising creatives, experts and enthusiasts.
Skillshare works on a subscription only model. There is a monthly ($32 a month) or annual plan ($14 per month billed annually at $168). Both give you access to the full Skillshare catalogue.
- Classes typically have a great mix of practical and theory
- Active community which can help to motivate and engage learners
- Curated learning makes it easy to continue your learning journey without having to put too much thought into where to go next
- Skillshare has a great class review system which helps the algorithm identify the best classes for you
- Skillshare Perks: discounts for Adobe, Canva, Freshbooks, and more
- Free trial for you to explore the Skillshare catalogue
- No certification
- Courses are not audited so the quality is more variable than MasterClass
Why Choose Skillshare as a MasterClass alternative?
One of Skillshare’s greatest strengths is the opportunity it offers to engage with other learners through its active community. Skillshare is, as the name suggests, all about sharing skills and knowledge. You can upload your own work, comment on the work of others or simply start a conversation.
So if interacting with others is important to you then Skillshare offers a great alternative to MasterClass.
5. LinkedIn Learning
Launched in 1995, LinkedIn Learning is one of the biggest open online course providers to date.
The platform boasts 27 million+ users. It offers 16,000+ courses in 30+ categories from industry experts to help you grow your professional and creative skill set.
It offers two subscription options. There is a monthly subscription at $39 per month or a yearly subscription at $24 per month (billed annually). You can also purchase courses individually from around $38.
LinkedIn Learning pros
- Learn from highly rated instructors with real-world experience
- Chance to earn and display a LinkedIn Learning certificate
- Broad scope of topics to choose from
- One month free trial giving you plenty of time to decide if the platform is for you.
- Ability to download courses to the mobile app for offline viewing on the go
LinkedIn Learning cons
- Certificates are not accredited
- Big focus on business and technology topics
Why choose LinkedIn Learning as a MasterClass alternative?
LinkedIn offers the opportunity to explore the platform for a full month before parting with any money.
If you want a real taste of what a platform is like before committing yourself to purchase, then LinkedIn is definitely a platform you should try. Don’t forget to cancel your subscription before the end of the free trial if you decide the platform is not right for you.
You can learn more about LinkedIn Learning from our review of the platform.
Creative Live was founded in 2009 to provide access to creative education and workshops for a community of passionate and ambitious individuals. Today they have 2000+ classes, more than 700 worldwide instructors, and 10 million+ students.
The focus of the platform is on helping creative professionals succeed in their endeavours. Either by instilling them with the business savvy needed to thrive, or by developing the practical skills relevant to their particular creative industry.
The platform provides a range of services from live-streamed masterclasses to longer and more comprehensive courses. You can choose to improve the skills you already have or learn something completely new!
CreativeLive has three subscription plans. The best value is the annual Creator Pass at a cost of $149 up front (only $12 per month)
- Great variety of courses with over 2000 classes to choose from
- Learn from top notch instructors including world-class creatives, cultural icons like Tim Ferriss, and Pulitzer Prize winners
- Exclusive conferences and livestreams
- Download classes for offline viewing
- Goal setting and learning paths
- Support from the CreativeLive community of like minded individuals
- No certification offered
Why choose CreativeLive as a MasterClass Alternative?
If you’re a creative professional wishing to take your skills to the next level, seeking to turn a hobby into a business, or boost your existing commercial success then CreativeLive has more to offer than MasterClass.
Whilst there are courses on MasterClass in the creative arts, there are not nearly so many as on this specialist platform.
Plus there’s the added bonus of being able to interact with a creative community and take part in live master classes and conferences.
So if creativity is your thing and you would like to engage with others who feel the same way, CreativeLive is definitely worth exploring.
Check out our CreativeLive review for further details.
Like it’s rival Coursera, edX is partnered with leading institutions and universities to offer world class open access education online.
The company was founded in 2012 thanks to collaboration between MIT and Harvard
More than 160 other institutions have since come on board with edX and it now has 100 million enrollments and offers 3,500+ courses across 30 subject areas.
Many of its courses can be taken for free without certification.
If you wish to receive an accredited certificate course charges vary from around $50-$300. Programmes up to Master’s level are also available.
- 3,500 courses across a diverse range of subjects
- Teaching from award winning academics from the world's best universities, many of whom hold Nobel Prizes
- Thousands of free classes with the option to pay for a certificate
- Classes are extremely comprehensive and taught with an impressive mix of audio, visual and textual teaching styles
- Certificates are accredited by the partner universities and institutions
- The edX website is a little less easy to navigate compared to its rival, Coursera
Why choose edX as a MasterClass alternative
If you are interested in accredited certification from prestigious institutions, edX is worth considering. The key difference between it and its closest competitor, Coursera, is that it offers more courses in the humanities and natural sciences.
So if you are more interested in those subjects, value certification and enjoy a structured academic approach, then edX is definitely worth considering as a substitute for MasterClass.
MasterClass was launched in 2015 with a simple idea: Everyone should have access to genius. Its 150+ MasterClasses are available in 11 categories and are taught by globally acclaimed icons in their fields of expertise.
MasterClass is renowned not only for the calibre of its instructors, but for its cinematic production values and the way it uses storytelling to create a connection between the instructor and you, the audience.
In addition to its 150+ on demand MasterClasses, the platform also offers time bound, project led sessions which you take with a community of fellow students.
There are three ways to access MasterClass. Through an individual subscription ($15 per month) or by sharing the cost with a friend ($20 per month) or up to 6 family members ($23 per month) All are billed annually.
- Learn from the best with passionate, revered and accomplished teachers
- Wide range of choice from a large library of classes
- Affordable and with multi user options
- Access to sessions you join with a cohort of fellow students
- High production values and immersive content that’s engaging and fun
- 30 day no quibble refund policy
- No free classes – though you can sample classes for free
- No certificates of completion
MasterClass alternative conclusion
MasterClass provides an amazing opportunity to learn from globally acclaimed masters of their respective trades.
The platform does a great job of curating the wisdom and backstories of its teachers into carefully structured courses. All in one place and all in incredible cinematic quality. And there are always insights that you can apply to your own life.
But MasterClass can’t take you from zero to hero. The more practical classes (eg food) will give you start to finish instructions. But you will not learn to play the guitar or the piano from scratch after a couple of hours with Tom Morello and Herbie Hancock.
So if you are looking for a course that provides:
- Courses that can be purchased individually
- Specific ‘how to’ instructions
- The chance to engage with a community
- A huge library of course choices
Then the other platforms I have reviewed here may be more appropriate for your needs.
The best thing you can ever invest in in your lifetime is yourself. But, as with all investments, to maximize your returns you need to spend time selecting the option that best meets your needs. I’ve aimed to make this easier for you here.
Good luck and enjoy your learning.
Our top pick is Udemy due to the huge range and variety of courses on offer.
Whilst MasterClass may not be for everyone, it is definitely legit. It was launched in 2015, has attracted nearly half a billion in investor funding since then, tripled its value to $2.75bn in 2021 and is predicted to go public in 2022.
Liz Hurley has 30+ years of high school teaching experience and is one of our senior writers here at Learnopoly.