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The overlap would be MasterClass if you made a Venn diagram of the best concepts from TED Talks with the high-quality production values from the best television of the last decade. MasterClass is an online learning service that features video lectures and demos from top experts in a variety of subjects. It's entertaining, instructive, and thought-provoking all at the same time. The quality alone makes you wonder, "How can this be so good?"
Whether the subject is basketball (Steph Curry) or culinary skills, the cast, or rather the instructors, comprises of a lineup of A-list talent (Alice Waters). Since our last review of MasterClass in 2020, the lineup of instructors has expanded to include more top talent who are women and people of minorities, which was previously identified as an area in need of improvement. This is a positive trend that we hope will continue. MasterClass is an Editors' Choice winner for online learning, and we wholeheartedly recommend it.
How Much Does MasterClass Cost?
MasterClass has only one plan option: an all-access pass for $180 per year. You may watch the whole portfolio of video on any device at any time with an all-access pass. As of this writing, there are 114 courses available, with a few more on the way.
Previously, MasterClass offered a monthly subscription as well as one-time access to any one class for a one-time charge; however, this is no longer the case. There is also no free trial. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but you must still put down a credit or debit card and be charged $180 before you can get a refund. It would be wonderful to see at least one alternative option besides $180 per year or nothing.
Nonprofit groups may apply for a grant to gain free access to MasterClass. There are also group savings available for groups who purchase five or more subscriptions at once.
How Does the Pricing Compare?
Other non-degree learning courses are priced in a variety of ways.
Skillshare, unlike MasterClass, offers a free tier of service with restricted material. For $8 per month or $29.88 per year, you may upgrade to a Premium Skillshare membership, which grants you unrestricted access to the catalogue. Skillshare has a little bit of everything in terms of what it has to offer. You can learn to sew, write a biography, or use After Effects to create 4D scenarios.
LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) offers a free month to try out the service. Following that, it will cost $29.99 per month or $299.88 per year. The information on LinkedIn Learning ranges from soft business skills like management to more technical ones.
The Great Courses Plus subscription is $20 per month, $45 for three months, or $150 per year. The Great Courses also sells various courses individually, with fees ranging from $50 to $200. Khan Academy is free, but it focuses on academics significantly more than any of the other learning sites described thus far.
What Makes MasterClass Different?
MasterClass offers two distinguishing features that set it apart from other online learning systems.
The first consideration is talent. MasterClass hires A-list celebrities as instructors. Steve Martin teaches stand-up comedy. Natalie Portman is an acting teacher. Serena Williams is a tennis instructor. Frank Gehry is a design and architecture professor. The lineup is incredible.
Second, the classes are of exceptional quality in terms of both production value and course content. You can see that the MasterClass staff spends a substantial amount of time working with the instructors to develop an overview and sequencing for each course so that you, the student, receive the right knowledge at the right time. Concepts are built on top of one another. For example, you can't learn to blanch vegetables unless you first become acquainted with the kitchen's tools. The sets, lighting, and audio are all of great quality. When Christina Aguilera demonstrates how to utilise different microphones while singing, you can hear every example she gives without losing track of her normal speaking voice as she explains what she's doing.
See PCMag's list of the greatest MasterClass Courses for in-depth descriptions of some of the best MasterClass content.
MasterClass features fewer courses and a narrower selection of topics when compared to other online learning platforms. Skillshare, for example, covers almost any skill you can think of. It has also enlisted the services of a few well-known authors, like Roxane Gay for creative nonfiction and Ashley C. Ford for personal essays. (MasterClass recently hired Roxane Gay; Gay's course on writing for social change will be available soon.) You can also find people on Skillshare who teach much more particular or specialised skills, such as how to boost your presence as an Etsy merchant. However, there is no consistency in the quality of the videos or the organisation of the class.
Community Features and Interaction
MasterClass has significantly expanded its community features. They include more robust chat boards and online areas for learners to organise networking activities.
Each class has its own community homepage, complete with a message board and comments. Learners can also provide comments underneath each video to keep the debate focused on the subject.
The appeal and utility of these community features varies. Some of the threads appear to have been started by MasterClass employees: "Tell Us Your Story: How Has Anna Wintour's Class Influenced You?" Other threads appear to be more typical of what you'd expect from internet comments, which is disappointing. One irritated student in the economics course, for example, started the thread "Not Impressed" to accuse Krugman of spreading socialist propaganda. (The commenter is also concerned that this course on economic history and theory does not address the condition of unions in the United States.) Watch the video and make your own decision.
There are unique live streamed events from time to time, such as a recent conversation with author Dan Brown and poetry slams.
MasterClass is a pleasure to watch. While assessing the service, I would play a movie in the background while taking notes or performing other tasks, only to be lured into it or paused until I could engage with it more fully.
"Could I find this information on YouTube if I truly wanted it?" I kept asking myself. and the response was always "no." I may be able to watch interviews with Reba McEntire or Judd Apatow on YouTube, or catch a glimpse insight from a celebrity on TikTok or Instagram, but I won't get hours' worth, and they won't lay out the method of how they work in a clearly defined format.
It's an Editors' Choice winner for online learning because the meat of it is brilliant.
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