Skillshare Transitioning Away From Offering a Free Class Experience (August 2021)

As part of Skillshare’s ongoing efforts to build a more predictable royalty pool for our teachers and create a streamlined experience for students, we will be transitioning away from offering a free class experience. From September 15th onward, all students on Skillshare will need to have an active free trial or paid membership to login and explore classes, including classes that were previously available for free. Teachers will not be required to have a paid membership. This means you may continue to teach on Skillshare without having an active, paid membership.

Why is Skillshare making this change?

The free class experience we’ve historically offered — where a student can login to Skillshare without a free trial or paid membership, but can only access free classes — is confusing. Only a small selection of classes are available “in front of the paywall,” and we believe that your classes and the platform are a premium experience — our membership model should reflect that.

In addition, based on extensive testing, we anticipate that this change will lead to a larger and more predictable royalty pool for teachers. 

What can I expect as a teacher, and when?

As a teacher on Skillshare, this change might impact you in a few ways:

  • Starting on August 18th, 2021, you will no longer be able to mark your class as “Free” or “Premium” in the class creator tool. All new classes created on August 18th and onward will become part of the membership catalog by default (accessible through a free trial or paid membership), and will be eligible to earn revenue.
  • On September 15th, 2021, all existing “Free” classes on Skillshare will automatically switch over to become a part of the membership catalog and will be eligible to earn revenue.
  • In the period between August 18th and September 15th, we will reach out to you directly if you have any existing “Free” classes on the platform, to ensure you are aware of these changes. If you have an existing “Free” class and no PayPal account linked to Skillshare, we will provide instructions for how to set this up. That way, you may receive any revenue your previously-”Free” class earns once these changes occur on September 15th.

Do I need to be a paying member of Skillshare to become a teacher, or to keep teaching?

No, you do not need to have a paid membership to teach on Skillshare. As before, new and existing teachers may login and teach on Skillshare without paying anything. If you are not a paying member, you will only be able to watch class trailers and any class you have a “Free Access Link” to (more on “Free Access Links” below). 

Will this change impact my teacher earnings or payments?

No, the model for teachers to earn revenue will remain the same. You may read more about earning revenue in Earn Royalties.

There may be a slight fluctuation in the size of the royalty pool and its distribution amongst teachers as previously “Free” classes start to earn revenue and as free users switch to memberships. However, we have modeled these changes and anticipate any fluctuations to be nominal and temporary. In addition, over time, we expect a positive impact on the overall growth rate and predictability of the royalty pool.

What if I like to use “Free” classes to promote my Skillshare channel or make my content accessible to more people?

We understand that there may be instances where you want to make a class you’re teaching available for free. You may continue to create “Free Access Links” to any of your Skillshare classes and use these as a marketing tool or as a way of giving back to your community. Never used a “Free Access Link” before and wondering how? Review Can I make my class available for free? to learn how to create a free access link for your class.

How else is Skillshare ensuring affordable access to the platform?

In addition to enabling teachers to use “Free Access Links” (see above), we will continue offering a one-month free trial of Skillshare membership so that students can explore the platform before committing. We’ll also continue to occasionally promote discounts and special offers, providing an opportunity for students to join at a lower cost. In addition, our existing scholarship program allows college students and others in financial need to apply for discounted and free memberships, and we’re excited to expand this program in new ways in the coming year. 

Have further questions or feedback?

As ever, we welcome your feedback, especially as we lead up to this transition. Send your questions and feedback to