Despite its inconveniences, the pandemic was a great opportunity for us to take stock of our lives and spend time on interests that we were previously too busy to pursue. From chess to cooking, songwriting to skateboarding, we all have hobbies that we want to be good at. Likewise, there is always somebody prominent in our area of interest that we look up to. What if we could learn directly from them?
In the Company of Masters
Based on this premise, platforms such as Masterclass have come up with various unique courses, authored and led by leaders in their field. Some of the notable courses offered by Masterclass include Dan Brown teaches writing thrillers; Ron Finley teaches gardening; Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches mindfulness and meditation; Paul Krugman teaches economics and society.
From this small selection of courses, it is clear that Masterclass has expanded the diversity of its offering since its inception. According to Masterclass review, there are now over 70 courses available on the platform. With each course averaging at 15 lessons and the duration of each lesson about ten minutes, intrepid students get to spend hours gaining insight and learning from the expertise of key personalities.
For the average individual to secure a meeting with an influential person such as Dr. Jane Goodall, they would probably have to queue up for hours or shell out considerable amounts for a conference ticket. Through the Masterclass format of online lessons, people can now benefit from the knowledge and experience of the people that they admire from the convenience of their own homes. Most importantly, Masterclass is extremely affordable with the basic plan costing less than $200 for a year’s subscription.
Information and Inspiration
Unlike Coursera or Udemy, Masterclass is not a training platform where people can get formal qualifications in areas of academia that can help them in their careers. However, many people gain an extra edge in their professional life by signing up for a Masterclass. The Food category, in particular, is a veritable gallery of celebrity chefs from Wolfgang Puck to Yotam Ottolenghi, and a valuable resource for aspiring chefs who want to develop their kitchen repertoire. Several corporate leaders are similarly heading courses in entrepreneurship, leadership, and business strategy, teaching viewers how to make bold moves in their business careers.
That said, you do not need to have a career motivation to sign up for Masterclass. Anybody interested in broadening their horizons and learning new skills can enjoy the lessons offered on the platform. Research has shown that novel activities and information can help our brains to build and maintain cognitive function. Just like a self-help book or an app to train your brain, Masterclass is a platform that invites people to tap into their creativity and improve themselves in ways that they may not even have thought about before.
For example, the Masterclass by FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss provided exciting accounts of tricky situations involving terrorists and hostage-takers. But, at the same time, the lessons also taught me how to be more effective in my everyday communications and how to leverage human nature to successfully negotiate for the outcomes that I want—be it in personal relationships or work.
Some subjects are less about functional skills and more about inspirational ideas. Acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma teaches the importance of embracing the emotional power of music and connecting people and cultures through its expression. Professor and Black feminist Roxane Gay talks about owning your identity and writing to create social change. For someone who feels bored with mundane life, the right Masterclass could provide a fresh perspective and a flush of rejuvenation.
Is Masterclass Worth it?
Given the exclusive content offered on Masterclass, the price of a subscription is surprisingly reasonable. Unlike many platforms sporting videos that look like they were filmed in a home kitchen on a mobile phone, Masterclass videos are Hollywood-quality with proper lighting, clear audio, professional editing, and—thank heavens—closed captions. The production values of the videos are impressive and worth every penny.
Despite its many virtues, there are a few cons to Masterclass. The platform addresses a broad audience and there is not much interaction between teachers and students. Compared to a personalized study environment such as during an online course, Masterclass can feel a little one-sided. For people who are operating on a limited budget, the monthly subscription model may seem inflexible. Nonetheless, the content on the site is unparalleled in terms of its unique access to the great minds of our time.
Masterclass is rather like the Netflix of online self-improvement. Instead of spending our time on mindless entertainment and reality shows, people can now enhance their knowledge and learn from thought leaders. Whether you are just seeking to be better at your hobby or looking to gain a leg up in your field, online education platforms such as Masterclass are well worth your attention.