Skool Online Course & Community Platform Review – ( Comprehensive Review & Top Alternatives)
Skool is a relatively new community and course hosting platform. The community feature is in the center, ensuring a better experience for you as a course creator and your students.
We created the most comprehensive Skool online course review that covers:
- What is Skool?
- What features does Skool provide?
- How to use Skool?
- What learning tools doesn’t Skool have?
- Pros and Cons of Skool platform.
- A better alternative – GroupApp.
- Tools & fetures GroupApp supports.
Let’s jump in!
Skool was founded in 2019 by the entrepreneur Sam Ovens as a community and online course platform.
Since its foundation, Skool has been briskly growing.
They aim to improve the learning experience and provide features that other platforms don’t.
And we aim to investigate whether they achieved their goal or didn’t.
After coming out of the beta phase in early 2022, School has released a decent set of features.
Currently, the feature set includes:
- Creating a course, but without video hosting.
- Building community with user-created content.
- Creating a member’s profile.
- Direct messaging and chatting between members.
- Creating a leadership board for gamification and awarding the best student.
- Creating a visual calendar for improved organization.
Since it’s a new course platform, there are much fewer features than in platforms that exist way longer, such as GroupApp.
Online course feature is commonly the core of the coaching programs. It includes static content such as images, downloads, videos, etc.
To add new materials or re-organize your current courses in modules and different categories, you just go to Settings -> Classroom -> Set. It is simple as that.
Unfortunately, every module has restrictions to only one video. Besides that, modules include Descriptions, options for links or files, action items, and a transcript. In each module, the creator can manage the comments section – to turn it on or off.
Although the default settings of courses are simple, course creators can’t customize and change the layout and design.
We will cover the lack of course creation features later in this article, but here we have to mention that there is nothing more to add about this feature – no quizzes, embedded PDF, or assessments tool that other platforms, such as GroupApp, offer.
This is the most valuable feature of this platform. It seems that it was the company’s main focus.
The Skool’s interface is similar to the Facebook group feed in the look and components.
In the community, admins and users can make posts. You, as an admin, can forbid users to create posts if that is something you think it’s better for the community.
We mentioned that components are similar to Facebook because posts include text, video, polls, and links.
Posts can be organized into categories, so it is easy to find one. There are options to like, comment, and subscribe to posts, which improves the interaction between users.
A feature that stands out is the gamification aspect of the community tool. The post creator gets points and levels translated as likes by liking posts.
Points and levels are shown on the users’ profiles. People with the most engagement from posts are visible on a Leaderboard displayed in the community. This can be used for making different kinds of competitions.
Gamification is an easy way to encourage and reward your community members for interaction and communication with you and other users.
Also, there is a Gem option in the posts. If the post or one of the comments receives a Gem, other users can easily find it.
Every member has their own profile with their activity, latest posts, and other basic information about the community. Of course, this profile is available for others to visit.
These features are decent if you are satisfied with the basics.
Another fairly essential feature is the Calendar feature. We all know how important it is to have a calendar to represent your schedule and deadlines visually.
It is convenient to have a calendar incorporated into your community platform because otherwise, you will have to use some external app for the organization.
A nice touch to this feature is the conversion of dates and times to the time zone of your members. So, when you make a calendar event, it will display it to every community member.
In every event, you can attach a short description and link. Other people have the option to add that event to their calendar.
Although the calendar feature is elegant and valuable, you will need another scheduling platform, such as Calendly, Acuity, and live hosting tools, because Skool doesn’t support that use.
Skool is straightforward to use. The back-end interface looks very similar to the view of the end-user (your members), and it is also clear and simple.
Course creators and users can easily navigate to the different parts or features of the platform due to easy tabs at the top.
Every community has the panel part on the right-hand side with basic information about it and helpful links. This part is convenient for new members because it allows them to take a glance at your community.
The course user can check the curriculum in the sidebar section.
Everything looks simple on Skool, and the same goes for admins’ settings. The Settings panel is user-friendly, thanks to the intuitive design. Customization is straightforward, so admins can easily make any change.
Skool offers simple and efficient solutions for incorporating a community and courses into one platform. Although the platform indeed has a clean structure, the notion is that it’s not fully developed yet.
Since it’s new, it has time to evolve and improve, but right now, it seems that many platforms have more advanced features.
For example, GroupApp provides a Library feature to help you organize and store your community resources and supplementary course material like videos, PDFs, and worksheets.
Unfortunately, Skool doesn’t offer some features that are the core of every course and community platform. Whether you’re just starting as a course creator or have experience in the coaching program, you will need the other tools that Skool doesn’t provide.
Members don’t have an option for payment, so you can’t take full advantage of your community and monetize your knowledge.
Sales or funnel pages are crucial for program marketing, but sadly, Skool doesn’t provide a website or funnel builder.
There is no email marketing support vital for transforming potential members into future members who will pay for membership for your community.
On the other hand, GroupApp features email broadcast support and Post Scheduling to maintain consistent engagement and free up your time.
So, if you need all of the tools that aren’t included in Skool, considering the monthly subscriptions for Skool, the pricing would be unnecessarily high.
The only way to contact support is via dedicated email, a bit more sluggish method than live chat support.
The platform is genuinely straightforward, so maybe you wouldn’t need support as much, but it is still a drawback.
Sam Ovens, a founder of Skool, recorded an introduction video with all the basics and explanations of platform usage.
Skools’s own community of fellow members and users is very active and supportive.
You only have one available option, and it is a plan of $99 per month.
There is one catch – this price refers only to one group! Therefore, having multiple community groups wouldn’t be something for anyone’s budget.
Although the simple plan includes only one community, a community can contain an unlimited number of members. For some people, this may be enough, but for most professionals, it wouldn’t. Thus, even though the plan seems like not much per month, it indeed can be costly, depending on how many community groups you need.
Besides an unlimited number of users, one group features a classroom with unlimited courses and a calendar.
Skool also offers a 14-day trial if you want to take a look by yourself.
Let’s highlight the pros and cons of Skool’s course creation and other tools.
- Features that Skool provides are sleek and user-friendly.
- User experience is remarkable, mainly because it requires no time to learn how to use it.
- The community is solidly active.
- Lack of fundamental tools like video hosting and checkout.
- Pricing. The subscription is expensive, considering the features. And also, there is only one option for a subscription.
- Direct tech support is unavailable.
- No group chats feature.
- Skool doesn’t provide an excellent online course builder.
Although Skool has time to expand and improve its bid, at this moment might be wiser for you to explore other options, and now we will present you with the best one.
GroupApp is designed to help course creators build online communities and support them in monetizing their skills and knowledge. The platform is user-friendly, and you do not need a developer to set it up.
GroupApp is the perfect choice for anyone interested in course creation for numerous reasons.
With GroupApp, you will have everything in one place, and you don’t have to worry about simultaneously using different platforms to cover every aspect of your course.
GroupApp cherishes an interactive approach and communication. You have access to a live stream and video chat tools in opposition to Skool.
With the unique Drip Course feature, you can improve your students’ experience. It allows you to provide your students with content periodically and will enable them to take extra time to understand previous materials.
You, as a creator, can organize your community discussions and subgroups with channels. It makes it so easy for you and your community members to have a sleek and organized place for information. Also, you can set posting permissions and access levels to run content smoothly.
With GroupApp, you have a place to organize and store any material you or your community members will need. The library stores and organizes entire courses, PDFs, worksheets, and images.
Since GroupApp acknowledges the crucial importance of communication, there is an option for every member to enjoy communicating with one person or up to 10 members of your community through group chat! Exchanging ideas is the key to success for every community.
Thanks to the Events Calendar feature, you can keep your community active and engaged. You can display upcoming events and live courses, ensuring that everyone clearly sees them. You students or community members can RSVP and also send event reminders.
Sometimes when things get busy with running a business and personal life, it’s hard to keep all the information and dates in your head. Because of that, with GroupApp, you can simultaneously maintain consistent engagement with your members and free up your time.
Unlike Skool, you can create and schedule community posts and email broadcasts ahead of time and not worry later!
GroupApp provides an extraordinary online course builder encouraging you to prepare and record the whole course on GroupApp!
GroupApp offers membership tiers that allow you to set different access levels for your members.
With GroupApp, course creators can create cohort-based courses that are informative and engaging with the handy course builder and community tools.
Communities create an encouraging atmosphere for students, leading to better results than the traditional studying method.
Moreover, GroupApp offers many new features and other tools such as an online course outline and curriculum builder that can help with creating and promoting the content.
Over the years that GroupApp has existed, there have been more than 272 happy course creators. GroupApp has many recommendations and positive experiences that instill trust compared to other alternatives.
With GroupApp, you have ownership over your audience. So, you’re able to export all the data at any time. And also, you can monetize through subscriptions, but not only through subscriptions but be able to upsell through courses where you can make a more significant amount of money.
Another enormous advantage of GroupApp is the multiple pricing plans. You have different options to choose from, depending on your needs.
And the best part is that every plan is budget-friendly!
Thanks to a 14-day free trial with no credit card required, you can see for yourself if you are still unsure. And if you start one plan and realize it isn’t perfect for your needs, you can change to another at any time.
The Basic plan includes Online courses, Community, DM & Group Chat, Membership Subscriptions, and Zapier integration.
Pro contains the same as Basic, but additionals are Drip Schedule, Post & Email Scheduling, Events Scheduling, and Custom single sign-on.
The Premium plan involves everything in Pro plus Custom API integration, product training, and priority support.
Overall, GroupApp offers way more options and features with better pricing. Furthermore, the environment is motivating and supportive for course creators and students. Check the full pricing and choose an option that suits your goals.
One subscription, and you are all set! With GroupApp, you will get paid to share your expertise and keep 100% of that income while charging for membership subscriptions.
Skool is a platform with great potential, but it’s too early to predict whether it will improve its major drawbacks or not. Although it provides some great tools and features, it has some serious shortcomings that are very difficult to overcome.
To reach the full potential of your business, it would be much wiser to stick to an already proven platform, GroupApp. This way, you will have all the features in one place, avoid unnecessary payments for additional platforms, and enjoy your total earnings.
Sign up for GroupApp and start the best online learning experience today!