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Founded in 2014 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen, Masterclass is an online educator that is based in San Francisco, in the United States. It offers online classes to students who want to learn from renowned experts in various fields. These experts are very high profile people indeed.
The personalities offering courses include chef Gordon Ramsey, who teaches a cookery course, film makers David Lynch and Werner Herzog, and musicians like Tom Morello and Christina Aguilera. There is a whole host of other famous names offering to share the secrets that have made them so successful too.
The main focus is on the creative arts at Masterclass. There is a preponderance of personalities from the world of film-making and music, as well as plenty of writers. Interestingly, as well as the courses in subjects like thriller writing and acting, you can also learn poker strategy from the likes of Daniel Negreanu. Serena Williams will even give you tennis lessons, and Stephen Curry’s Masterclass course is there to provide some basketball tips.
What you will not find much of at Masterclass is courses in practical or scientific subjects. This is not the website to use if you want to learn about computer coding, for example, or how to fit tyres onto a car. One scientific course available is taught by astronaut Chris Hadfield, who shares his expertise in space exploration.
There is, of course, no need to travel anywhere to study from these experts in their fields. All the course materials can be accessed in your home on the internet. The big selling point of this course provider is that the teachers are world-renowned celebrities. In terms of what is actually taught, the focus is much more about sharing insights into success than it is about learning applicable skills.
That does not mean that there is no value to these courses, though. The cookery options in particular do offer some interesting and useful practical tips, as does the sports courses. Aspiring writers and artists will also find plenty of use in the courses on offer here.
The courses are suitable for learners who want to study at their own pace in their own time, and there is plenty of easily accessible and digestible video content on offer. The classes are not, in the main, interactive, however.
Masterclass was founded in 2014 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen.
There are over 70 courses available, all taught by acknowledged world leaders of their crafts.
Currently, you can pick up two passes for £170, which is half of the normal price.
Courses are available only in English currently.
Courses are aimed at individual students, and there are no corporate packages available currently.
At the time of writing, Masterclass was offering two passes for £170, which was 50% off the normal price. Significantly, you can also give these passes as a gift, which perhaps gives an insight into the type of market for which Masterclass is aiming.
The videos are produced to very high levels of quality, as you might expect from work featuring such an array of world famous talent. The courses certainly provide plenty of value for money in this respect. The key question is whether the insights that are shared offer enough practical help for learners to actually acquire skills that are going to be of use to them.
In terms of listening to world-class experts in their field offer insight, you can certainly say that these prizes offer value for money. There is an argument that there is limited re-watch value to each of these lessons, though, so anyone signing up needs to bear that in mind.
It is also worth pointing out that most of these courses are aimed at artists rather than scientists or people looking to acquire practical skills. There are no coding courses, for example. The cookery courses seem to offer the best value, at least in terms of how learners can apply their lessons to their lives. There is also good value on offer in the business section, with figures such as Howard Schulz offering courses.
The key thing to consider when looking at value for money, though, when it comes to Masterclass is that you are receiving insights from people at the very top of their trades. This means that basic instruction in skills and formal qualifications are not available here.
Sadly, at the time of writing, Masterclass doesn’t offer free courses. We think this is just the nature of their business model — it is, after all, a premium product which requires a substantial investment. If you are looking for a more affordable online course provider (that offers free classes), then we recommend you check out Udemy.
Now that you know a little bit more about the type of courses on offer form Masterclass, and how much they are likely to cost you, it’s time to take a closer look at the type of things you can actually learn. The real selling point of Masterclass is, of course, the people teaching the classes, so let’s see what’s actually on offer.
When it comes to business courses, you can learn from figures such as Paul Krugman, Bob Iger and Sarah Blakely. You are not going to be learning about book keeping or how to advertise as a small business owner, though. These are courses in concepts like ‘Business strategy and leadership’ and ‘Self-made entrepreneurship’. This is where you learn the philosophy and ideas that underpin success.
It is fair to say that Masterclass is not the kind of course provider you should choose if you are wanting to learn how to programme computers or any other practical scientific skill. The only real scientific courses being offered are one from Jane Goodall in conservation and one from former astronaut Chris Hadfield, who shares his insights about space exploration.
This is one area where there are plenty of options at Masterclass, and where you can find particularly good value. Gordon Ramsey is among the chefs who provide courses at Masterclass, and this is one area where what is taught can be of demonstrable practical value to learners. Thomas Keller’s courses on particular cooking skills are especially good.
This an area where Masterclass really excels in terms of what it can offer to learners. There is a plethora of arts courses available, taught by some of the biggest names in their fields. Timbaland will teach you the tricks of beatmaking and production, and you can learn guitar from Carlos Santana, among many other options.
Just as with music and film, there are plenty of good courses for aspiring writers on offer here. Neil Gaiman, Judy Bloom and Dan Brown all offer courses to fiction writers, while Shonda Rhimes teaches a course in writing for television. You can certainly find plenty of expert insight at Masterclass is writing is something that you aspire to be better at.
As well as tennis lessons from Serena Williams and basketball classes from Stephen Curry, there are also options to learn more about chess and poker at Masterclass. You can also learn some ballet techniques from Misty Copeland and gymnastics from Simone Biles, so the range on offer is impressive.
It is important to stress that Masterclass isn’t offering practical courses in improving your basic skills. These are more like tips from experts who are acknowledged world leaders in their fields. If you are looking for advice the practical aspects of business or professional writing you will probably need to look elsewhere. But there are still plenty of great opportunities to learn on offer too.
This is one area where Masterclass really excels, of course. Who would not want to be taught film making by the likes of Werner Herzog, or learn tennis tricks from Serena Williams. You do need to bear in mind, though, that these tutors are not offering interactive lessons. All lessons are delivered by one of the experts basically talking straight to the camera, almost in the manner of a YouTube video. How much you pick up from the courses depends on how much attention you pay, basically.
You also need to bear in mind how much you will be paying for these insights before you decide to opt to study a course or not. There is a wide range of expert advice offered, but there are some areas that are not covered in depth. You will not find any computer coding courses, for example. So while there are plenty of great artists, chef and athletes teaching courses at Masterclass, there are no tech wizards teaching programming.
There are over 70 courses available at Masterclass, with an average of 24 lessons in each of those courses. Each lesson lasts for an average of 12 minutes, which is probably just about right. It can be hard to concentrate on someone talking to camera for longer than that if you need to absorb everything that they are saying. That length of lesson also means that one topic can be covered in detail, without you having to work hard at remembering too much. Given that there is little interactive material available to help with learning, this length of lesson works well when it comes ro retaining the attention of learners too.
With 24 lessons in each course, course length is also long enough to offer enough detailed insight without overwhelming learners. Of course, given the prices of the courses, it is also gratifying to see plenty of expert insight on offer too.
Many online reviews state that some of the Masterclass content is actually replicated elsewhere on the internet, with some of Gordon Ramsey’s classes, on taking apart a whole chicken for example, also being available on YouTube. There is also a feeling from some reviewers that you do not learn enough of the basic skills of, for example, screenwriting from the likes of Aaron Sorkin. Rather, you are being given the inspiration to become better at a chosen skill.
There is a really positive view among many people on social media about the gift giving options that Masterclass offers. This seems to be an especially popular aspect of Masterclass’s services, and it perhaps offers an insight into the kind of market that Masterclass is aiming for. These are not necessarily courses for people who want to improve their CV, but are rather for people who aspire to be great at their chosen skill, and want to hear insights from experts.
There are generally positive views among many learners that the courses offer good value for money. The quality of the experts teaching the courses is a particularly important factor when it comes to judging this aspect of Masterclass too, with many students delighted to be learning from the likes of Martin Scorsese. Some do express disappointment at the level of interactive involvement, though.
Some reviews have also expressed reservations that there is very little in terms of practical help on offer in the courses. This, though, is a relatively minor quibble for many, with most thinking that the opportunity to learn from such great minds outweighs this consideration.
Overall, learners tend to view Masterclass in a very positive light, though there are some minor reservations about course content and the practical application of what is being taught.
There are no free courses on offer at Masterclass. You might be lucky enough to get a Masterclass course as a gift, though.
There are over 70 courses offered at Masterclass currently.
Uinfortunately, none of the courses offers the chance of interaction with the tutor.