What is Skool?
Skool is a community and course hosting platform founded around 2019 by the (in)famous online entrepreneur and maverick Sam Ovens.
Growing rapidly through the large audience of its creator, the platform was started to fill some of the gaps in the online course platform market.
It aims to put the community at the center of the student’s experience and make it easy to incentivize interaction and boost client’s results.
Feature: What Can You Do With Skool?
Skool came out of its beta phase in early 2022 after over 2 years of being accessible to a select group of initial users.
It has released a very solid set of features over the years to deliver on its promise for course creators wanting to create a vibrant community, to do so all in one place.
Skool core feature set currently includes:
This is definitely a good start to build your community and a great fit if your courses or coaching programs involve group calls and support.
Again, Skool aims to simplify the cumbersome process for course creators to use different tools to organize their community together (usually a Facebook group) and take control back on what you can do for your members' engagement.
That being said, let’s break down each of these core features and see how they compare to other popular platforms:
Skool’s Online Course Feature
This is usually the core curriculum of your programs and includes static content such as videos, images, downloads, etc.
Skool makes this whole process very easy with a simple back-end menu to add your content and organize your course in different categories (“Set”) and modules.
Each module can include 1 video, Description, several links or files, actions items and a transcript.
Note here, that for the time being Skool does not support video hosting and you will have to use your own solution (YouTube/Vimeo/Wistia/Loom).
There isn’t much you can change in terms of the layout and design of the course for your users but the default build is very sleek and simple.
You also have the options to turn comments on or off on any given module.
The last downside to mention for Skool’s online course creation feature is the current lack of learning tools such as quizzes, assessments, PDF embed or other tools to help your student test themselves and take action.
This can surely be done in other ways and doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for most course creators but is missing right now in comparison to other popular platforms.
You can also drip the different modules of your program to delay access of certain parts to later.
The way you'd get people into your community is by using the native checkout feature:
This is directly connected to your bank account (no need for Stripe!).
Payouts are made every Wednesday and you will pay a processing fee of 2.9% + 30c
Note that only monthly subscription are supported (no one-off payment or yearly).
Skool’s Community Feature
This is the centerpiece of the platform and has clearly been the main focus of the company in development of new features.
The Community feature, and corresponding tab in Skool’s interface, looks very much like your Facebook group feed.
Admin and users can create posts for the community (although you can decide to make this only for admin) and include a text, video, poll or link or even GIFs
These can be organized in Categories to keep posts tidy and easy to search different topics.
Other users can then like and comment on the thread below that posts, subscribe to it for new replies or add their own files to their answer.
One of the interesting features of this community tool is the gamification aspect.
Users making valuable posts will get likes which translate to points and levels that will display on their profile:
This is a great way of rewarding your community members for engaging with everyone in your programs.
Users getting the most engagement from their post will then be features in a Leaderboard displayed in your community.
To gamify the experience even further, you can add custom names to different Levels in your leaderboard and unlock certain course when a level is reached:
You can also mark some posts as Gem, which will display a gem icon next to it and show direct recognition for a particular member.
Lastly, each member has a profile anyone can visit and see their activity, latest posts and other basic information.
This is a great opportunity to invite users to network through the internal messaging system.
Overall the community feature Skool offers is definitely a strong selling point and delivers on its promises.
This could be a game changer if your programs focus around support, accountability and engagement, which is crucially missing from most online courses out there.
Skool Calendar Feature
The last core feature Skool offers is a very handy calendar integrated into your platform.
Thinking about it as your own Google Calendar inside your community platform to share with everyone.
This allows you to easily display upcoming group calls, in-person events or important dates you want your members to look out for!
These will actually convert to your member’s time zone too.
The event you create can include a short description and link, and a way for your people to add it to their personal calendar.
Although this is a fairly basic feature, it does stand out from other platforms and make it easy for you to have everything in one place and keep your interactive programs organized.
Note that you will still need a scheduling platform (eg Calendly, Acuity,etc.) and/or live hosting tool (eg Zoom) to allow your members to participate in these events as Skool isn’t a substitute for those.
Skool Mobile App
In 2023, Skool released their very own mobile app to help you and your community stay connected on the go.
This is available on iOS and Android
This is a central app, and not branded for you.
Meaning that your members will have to download the Skool app and find your community there.
They will be able to do everything they can on the desktop website!
- Community - group discussion with posts and comment
- Courses - learn with video and text-based lessons
- Calendar - see what community events are happening
- Chat - DM anybody in your communities
Note that this isn't really meant for administrators to edit and manage the community, this is still best done on desktop.
What other tools your might need
We’ve reviewed the core functionality Skool currently offers to its users and how you can use it for your programs.
But let us make a note here about what other tools you will probably need to complete your tech stack as a course creators:
- A website/funnel builder: you probably need some kind of sales page or funnel pages to market your programs.
- An email marketing system: to nurture leads and convert prospects into future paying members of your community. Skool does have a Zapier integration which will help you connect the platform to your favorite CRM
This is to take into consideration when looking at Skool and how this can fit into your budget. The above can stack up to about $100 per month.
User Experience: Is Skool Easy To Use?
One thing that’s very clear when jumping into Skool, is that there has been a particular effort to make it as simple and sleek as it can be!
The back-end interface, which looks a lot like what your the end-user (aka your students) will see, is clear and concise:
You can easily navigate to the different parts/features of the platform with the easy tabs at the top.
New members can see at a glance what your community is about with the panel on the right hand side that contains basic information as well as helpful links to get started.
The course user experience is also very polished with a handy sidebar to follow along the curriculum and the main content in the middle
In terms of learning curve, Skool is one of the easiest platforms to set up and manage we’ve tested.
As an admin, you’ll be able to create everything from the Settings panel, with very intuitive settings and simple customization.
When it comes to the promise of offering very simple solutions for combining a community and courses in one simple platform, Skool delivers greatly.
Pricing: How Much Is Skool
As with pretty much everything else with Skool, pricing is currently very simple:
There is only 1 simple plan of $99 per month:
Note that this is $99/mo and per group.
1 group can contain an unlimited number of members, a community, a classroom with unlimited courses, and a calendar.
If you want multiple groups, you’ll have to pay another $99 /month.
You can get started with a 14 days trial to play around the platform and see if this is a good fit.
I foresee more pricing tiers being added in the future as the platform grows in popularity and features.
But for the time being it’s pretty straightforward!
To put this in perspective with other similar platforms (Circle, Mighty Networks, Kajabi,etc.) Skool is probably in the higher mid-range of pricing here.
We’ll note here again that there are some other tools you’ll need as a course creators which will need to considered in your budget (see further above in “What other tools your might need”).
MORE ON SKOOL PRICING:
How is the Support & Community for Skool?
Skool doesn’t really have a live chat support for now.
But you're still able to contact support via a dedicated email.
That being said, it has its own community of fellow members and users which is a very active and helpful group.
As mentioned before, the platform is extremely simply to use so tech support shouldn’t be something you need very often.
If you want to get started and understand the basics of the platform, you can follow a quick introduction course recorded by Sam Ovens himself inside that community:
This should be enough for any questions you may for now, considering the relatively simple feature set Skool currently offer, even if in the future having the possibility to chat to a member of the team in real time will be appreciated!
Our Overall Rate: 4.5
Community & Support Rating:
Skool came out of its beta phase with a big promise and a lot to offer!
It definitely fills a gap in the course creator community for a platform that focuses around the community as well as delivering group programs.
Although there are still a few tools missing you’ll need to bring from elsewhere right now, this could be great for a good chunk of the industry.
You can get started today with your 14 days trial to make up your own mind!
Skool has been running for many years and was created by Sam Ovens, it's very well staffed and funded and has a long term vision for its platform.
Most people using Skool do it for the ease to put together a community-based online program in one place.
Skool replaces the need for a community tool (Circle, MightyNetwork,etc.) as well as an online course platform (Teachable, Kajabi,etc.)
Not at the moment.
But you can still get started for free for the first 14 days!