Comparing online learning sites for creative people

In my soon-to-be former life I created learning materials, classroom guides, live webinars and instructional videos. I can appreciate a good learning experience, and look at it with a critical eye as well. After studying learning and technology however, I concluded the best thing technology can do to facilitate learning is to get out of the way. The best technology focuses on communication and access to help people connect to each other and the content so learners can socially construct their understanding of a topic.

My opinion about over-programmed multi-media “all in one” learning management software is pretty strong. Building the equivalent to a CD-ROM nowadays doesn’t make much sense. Even selling DVDs is likely to cut off markets soon, “I wish this had been a Craftsy course. My new laptop doesn’t even have a DVD player,” as one reviewer pointed out.

In fact, after seeing my nephew teach himself programming through YouTube, I think YouTube has been one of the most effective learning platforms. However at some point – sifting through cruft on YouTube can be a hassle and you might be willing to pay for higher quality instruction. I’m fascinated with the range of online learning freely available now. From Udemy, Khan Academy, Udacity and Coursera, there are new platforms popping up to offer instruction at a range of prices from providers who might be experienced educators, or even enthusiastic amateurs. And now more and more subject specific platforms are rising to the top.

Comparison of creative skills online learning platforms

The range of platforms available specifically for teaching creative skills from photography, cooking and sewing is amazing. Sometimes they also delve into related skills around entrepreneurship, inspiring people to branch into new income streams.

How do these creative learning platforms compare?

They all have a few things in common:

  • Instructor led classes with a trusted, credible, experienced guides.
  • Video player in browser, some with an offline player for tablets or phones.
  • Downloadable extras such as worksheets, step-by-step instructions, patterns and reference materials.

Some have unique differentiators built around their community of learners.

Some platforms are subscription based, where you lose access when you no longer subscribe. Some allow you to purchase life-time access to per-course. Skillshare allows you to earn free credits through referral. (Go ahead, click my referral link to pop me a free month!) Creativebug has a unique hybrid model. This allows you a low-cost subscription of $4.95 USD, per month. Each month, you can earn 1 credit per month to select forever-access to your favorite courses. That’s a great way to encourage loyal subscribers.

I’ve summarized some essential information about popular platforms below. This isn’t an exhaustive list. For example, I considered but didn’t include Interweave. I love their catalog of videos, but there is no platform included. You can’t pause the videos, bookmark or save notes, etc.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll review these learning platforms listed here. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried these out and what you think. Are there any platforms you love that I’ve missed?

Platform A-Z list
Payment model
Price range
Craft Daily
Main topics: Beading, Crochet, DIY, Jewelry Making, Knitting, Mixed Media, Quilting, Scrapbooking and Paper Crafts, Sewing, Spinning, Weaving
Subscription $19.99 monthly or $199.99 annual Streaming only Focus on crafts, subscription to Interweave video library. Run by Thought Industries who also run

Free? No free option or trial option.

Main topics: Sewing & Quilting, Cake & Cooking, Yarn & Fiber Arts, Art & Photo, Home & Garden, More (jewellery and paper)
Pay per course £9.99 – 35.50 Offline with the app Focus on crafts, some entrepreneurial topics. Discounts and frequent incentives entice purchases.

Free? Selected Free course give an idea of how the platform works.

Creative Bug
Main topics: Work-alongs, Sewing, Paper, Yarn, Quilting, Jewelry
Subscription OR pay per course. $4.95 a month with options to save courses. Offline with app Both brief tutorials, and courses made of multiple lessons written together.

Free? You can try out the platform for free for 14 days. No credit card required.

Creative Live
Main topics: Photo & video, Art & design, Music & audio, Craft & maker, Money & life
Pay per course $49-$150+ USD Streaming only Longer form courses, and downloadable materials. Live students in the class and online. Lecture-style teaching with live Q+A.

Free? Live streaming of selected courses, and re-broadcasts of courses. Usually a class has a free preview.

Main topics: Design, Photography, Business, Film, Technology, Fashion, Music, Gaming, Culinary, DIY, Writing, Crafts, Other
Subscription $9.95 a month or
$96.00 a year
Streaming only Wide range of well-known educators. Broader than just crafts. Range of video quality.

Free? You can try the premium level for free for 14 days, credit card required.

9 thoughts on “Comparing online learning sites for creative people”

  1. I liked the Creative Bug classes I checked out a little better than Craftsy, actually – mostly because they were shorter, and more focused on a specific project/skill, so were less of an investment than a Craftsy class.

    1. Yeah there’s sort of an issue with perceived value as regards “time”. So you think hey this class has more hours. Must be better! When actually you might want something succinct. I love the payment model of Creative Bug. I’ll give a review of that soon!

  2. I tried Craftsy when it first launched because it seemed to be everywhere in the craftverse, but I never made it through any of the classes I bought (two or three – can’t remember exactly.) I have a membership to Creativebug and their model seems to work better for me. I like that I can try out whatever classes I want before I commit – for me, spending a ton of money on supplies is a bigger issue than the $ I spend on the actual class. Also I feel like Creativebug has gotten a bunch of the people in the craft world who I personally find compelling – Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner, Kathy Doughty.

    1. I love Creativebug and watched the drawing class with Heather Ross. There are many more short tutorials and variety, it’s like Pinterest come to life! I found it somehow more personal and engaging than the Craftsy vibe. More natural looking lighting and environment maybe lends itself to that. I haven’t done any of the activities on Creativebug but that could be due to how I watched them (while spinning usually!) I’ll review Creativebug next!

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