What is MasterClass?
Founded in 2014 (originally as Yanka Industries, Inc.) by Stanford student, David Rogier, MasterClass launched its website the following May with only three instructors. Twelve classes were later added in 2017 before the total drastically jumped to 50 by 2018.
MasterClass classes are taught by respected and renowned experts and celebrity instructors in a series of high-quality video lessons, typically with a supplemental workbook that can easily be downloaded and printed for further reference.
Every course contains between 2 to 4 hours of video divided into single class lessons that are approximately 10 to 15 minutes long.
In 2021, MasterClass rolled out a new learning feature called Sessions by MasterClass. Previously, if students wanted to expand their level of knowledge or want to ask questions, each class had its own individual online portal called “The Hub” where students could interact with other students and MasterClass moderators.
Sessions is a new “hands-on” format where students learn in a structured curriculum alongside one another within 30 days. Each session comes with dedicated and trained Teaching Assistants who are available to help answer questions and provide feedback.
Finally, every once in a while, MasterClass will host instructors on live streams. (I recently found a recording of Ron Finley’s private live stream on YouTube, read my review where I share a link.)
Is MasterClass for me?
The first question on everyone’s mind is: Is MasterClass for me?
The short answer is, probably. Whether you’re looking to grow your acting skills with an online class from Natalie Portman or better your creative writing skills from a Margaret Atwood lecture, there is bound to be at least one MasterClass of the 100+ classes that are bound to teach you something.
However, that’s not the main reason people sign up for MasterClass. Like most people, I don’t know what I don’t know. Therefore, I love the possibility of stumbling across a subject that I know little about and diving into 4 hours of video lessons that end up giving me a well-rounded understanding.
In other words, MasterClass is best for curious minds who love to learn at their own pace.
Nevertheless, a MasterClass subscription is a commitment and an investment. On one hand, you’ll need to commit at least 2 to 4 hours to cover just one of the many great courses offered on MasterClass. On the other, you’ll need to spend at least $180 a year to access the online education platform (more on pricing in the next section).
If you are someone who can spare a few hours a week and $15 a month to watch educational lectures on your Apple TV, Android TV, or an old-fashioned computer, then yes, MasterClass is probably for you.
If, however, you don’t have the extra cash for yet another subscription, nor the time (or focus) to learn consistently to make MasterClass worth it, then no, MasterClass is not for you.
But no need to take my word for it, MasterClass offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can easily sign up, test out a few classes, and judge whether MasterClass is right for you.
Try MasterClass Risk Free
All it takes is a simple email to MasterClass letting them know you’d like to cancel your subscription to receive your refund.
How much does MasterClass cost?
In 2021, MasterClass began testing alternative subscription models besides their usual $180 annual membership. They have now settled on a new three-tier MasterClass pricing model for their annual membership:
- Standard – $180 per year (average $15 per month)
- Plus – $240 per year (average $20 per month)
- Premium – $276 per year (average $23 per month)
The Standard membership is perfect for single individuals who are most likely to consume online learning at home. The Plus and Premium plans are better for couples as MasterClass allows multiple devices to watch at the same time. (Netflix has similar restrictions for their membership plans).
However, the ability to download video lessons for offline viewing is helpful for people who might want to watch MasterClass on their commute to work without eating up most of their data. The Plus and Premium plans offer their users the ability to do just that.
Personally, I go for the $180 per year option as I average about one MasterClass per month which means my cost per class is $15.