As our world is constantly changing around us, it’s no surprise that the way we learn is evolving with it. The constant advancement of technology and the still ongoing global pandemic resulted in a significant spike in online course popularity, making online learning an integral part of the 21st century.
Among many articles discussing various MOOC platforms, you are sure to come across several Shaw Academy reviews - a Dublin-based online learning provider with a catalog of various courses to choose from.
Shaw Academy offered its first course almost a decade ago - in 2012. Since then, the company has significantly expanded its repertoire and has already offered over 100 online courses and seen more than 12 million students enroll from all over the world.
With this Shaw Academy review, I aim to help you decide whether this online learning platform is the one for you, or if you should be looking at some of the better alternatives out there. We will be focusing on Shaw Academy reviews on available courses, their pricing and structure, certification, and more.
So, what is Shaw Academy and should you try it out yourself?
- Certificates are globally accredited
- A wide selection of content
- Courses easy to understand
- Layout is very customer-friendly
- Not a lot of information provided
- Customer service could be better
- Scheduling lessons isn't too flexible
Table of Contents
- 1. Shaw Academy Reviews: PROS
- 1.1. Globally Accredited Certificates
- 1.2. A Wide and Varied Repertoire of Content
- 1.3. Easily Understandable Courses and Simple Structure
- 1.4. Consumer-Friendly Layout
- 2. Shaw Academy Reviews: CONS
- 2.1. Lack of Information
- 2.2. Shaw Academy Customer Service Issues
- 2.3. Inflexible Learning Schedule
- 2.4. Shaw Academy Customer Complaints
- 3. Shaw Academy Pricing
- 3.1. Some Charges Do Not Make Sense
- 4. Shaw Academy Alternatives
- 5. Conclusions
Shaw Academy Reviews: PROS
Most Shaw Academy reviews start off by listing the positive features the platform has to offer, so let’s not stray from the format. In this section of the review, you will find out more about Shaw Academy course content, quality, and anything else you would want to know about before making your decision.
The company’s primary focus is on providing education to anyone and everyone, from full-time professionals to someone looking for a new hobby, which has understandably led to their success.
For an online learning platform of a smaller size, Shaw Academy has a lot of great features to offer its students. So, without further ado, let’s move on to what makes Shaw Academy great.
Globally Accredited Certificates
Even if you’re not looking to develop new career skills or receive extra qualifications for work, making sure that the courses you’re about to take are globally recognized or at least accredited by trustworthy institutions can have a big influence on your decision.
Making sure the certifications are legit is arguably one of the most important things to do before choosing an online learning platform.
Shaw Academy’s vision statement is centered around providing “real qualifications which lead to real success”, as mentioned in their About Us blurb. Naturally, this creates an expectation of accredited, globally recognized certification.
Shaw Academy is an international online learning provider, working with field professionals and academic professionals from around the world. On top of that, Shaw Academy recognizes the international value of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and actively engages with it to assure all courses are up to date, allowing students to upskill and reskill as needed.
All certificates are globally recognized and accredited by these organizations:
- Austin Peay State University - Shaw Academy is recognized by APSU as a reputable education provider, partnering together to certify the online courses.
- International Accreditation Organisation (IAO) - after evaluating the available courses, IAO has accredited Shaw Academy according to the international principles and standards of quality.
- International Council of Specialised Online Certifications (ICSOC) - Shaw Academy has received the ICSOC badge of recognition for courses and learning materials that cover the learning need of professionals.
Upon completing a course, students have the option of either keeping the soft copy of their diploma that can be accessed through their Shaw Academy account, or order the hard copy and receive it in the mail. Both formats of the certificate hold the same value, so it depends on the individual.
When talking about Shaw Academy, it’s important to mention that you can only receive a certificate after completing 4 modules of any given course. Meaning that single-module basics courses or only completing some of the modules of a course does not qualify you for a certificate.
That being said, certificates and their accreditation are praised in most Shaw Academy reviews left by graduates.
A Wide and Varied Repertoire of Content
If you’ve already decided to start learning online, chances are you have a specific subject you would like to know more about in mind.
Online course platforms usually take one of two paths - some tend to focus on a specific topic for their courses, while others avoid tying themselves down to a single field and strive for a broad and varied catalog of courses.
Usually, smaller platforms stick to one field to center their material around. However, as mentioned in many Shaw Academy reader reviews, the platform can be considered an exception to this rule.
As mentioned earlier in our Shaw Academy review, the platform has a little bit of everything when it comes to topic and course variety. As of writing this review, Shaw Academy courses cover these major categories:
- Photography (6 courses)
- Marketing (6 courses)
- Design (9 courses)
- Business & Analytics (10 courses)
- Finance (9 courses)
- Health Wellness (14 courses)
- Technology (17 courses)
- Arts & Hobbies (9 courses)
- Beauty (3 courses)
- Music (3 courses)
- Languages (2 courses)
Shaw Academy is one of the smaller online learning providers, currently offering you 88 courses to choose from and averaging 8 courses per category. It is important to keep this in mind if you are looking to learn a very specific, niche skill, as most courses cover essential basics of the topic at hand.
All content is created by certified professionals, assuring that the learning material is up-to-date and provided in a clear format that’s easy to understand.
What makes Shaw Academy unique is its courses branching off to a few more unusual topics, such as wine appreciation, tarot card reading, and crystal healing. What’s great is that even these quite niche topics aren’t limited to a single basics module. This shows that just because a subject is more unusual, important details shouldn’t be left out, which is something many users rave about in their Shaw Academy reviews.
This perfectly reflects the company’s stated goal of “Delivering great education, affordably & accessibly to everyone”, as truly everyone can find something to learn at Shaw Academy.
Easily Understandable Courses and Simple Structure
When it comes to online learning, it doesn’t matter how informative or in-depth the material of any given course is - if it’s not easy to understand, the course might not be useful to you.
If you are looking for easy-to-follow online lessons, continue reading this Shaw Academy review to see whether or not this platform’s courses are the perfect choice for you.
The simplicity and “easily digestible” content of the courses are often mentioned as the platform’s biggest advantage in most Shaw Academy reviews, submitted by users. When it comes to individual lessons of the courses, each one focuses on one topic at a time, making sure you have enough time to get to know the material as well as possible.
All Shaw Academy courses follow the same structure. Each course, depending on its length, is divided into modules of 4 weeks each, with 2 Webinars scheduled every week. Depending on the topic at hand, Shaw Academy courses can be either 1 or 4 modules long.
The first 4 weeks of every course are focused on building a strong foundation of basic knowledge on that particular topic. After completing the basics module, you can continue learning more about the subject. The following 3 modules of longer courses are meant for honing in on different levels of knowledge on the subject, going from Intermediate to Advanced and Proficient.
One of the best things about Shaw Academy is that you are in no way obligated to purchase the full course if you are only interested in a few modules (you can read more on this later in the review).
Course content simplicity is one of the platform’s biggest advantages, mentioned in the majority of positive Shaw Academy student reviews left by users. Many current students and graduates have accredited the easy-to-follow, detailed material for their success in completing the courses.
"Easily-digestible" content allows students to quickly understand the learning material, making Shaw Academy suitable for people with many different levels of knowledge in the taught topics and makes the platform quite appealing to those new to online learning.
Sometimes a MOOC platform can be highly recommended, work with world-famous experts, and have the exact course you’ve been looking for. You eagerly jump online, ready to learn something new… But then you open their website and realize it’s the most outdated format that requires a map to navigate.
You lower your head, mourning the opportunity that got away, and wait for a new one to show up.
Luckily, this will not happen with Shaw Academy.
What you will see in many Shaw Academy students' reviews is that as soon as you open the website you are greeted with a sleek, yet vibrant homepage. The layout is very simple and easy to read, with no unnecessary walls of text or a million drop-down menus, and the colorful course thumbnails allow for pleasant browsing without needing to read every description.
The catalog is very easy to navigate as well. You can browse through individual categories by using the drop-down menu at the top of the page, or you can scroll through the whole catalog of categories and courses.
If sitting down at a desk to attend your classes isn’t your style and you prefer being able to take the courses with you, I have great news. Shaw Academy has an app that’s compatible both with iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded completely free.
The app contains all courses you can access through the website, with the same design and intuitive navigation, providing you with convenient education on the go.
Simple layouts and navigation not only promote a pleasant customer experience but also increases website accessibility, giving Shaw Academy a big advantage.
Many Shaw Academy reviews mention the simple website layout allowing customers to focus on the course materials without having to worry too much about easily finding their way around the site and making the learning experience that much more enjoyable.
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Shaw Academy Reviews: CONS
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that nothing in this world is perfect. Shaw Academy, naturally, is no exception. Even though we tend to focus on the bright side of things, it’s important to know the good, the bad, and the ugly before making up your mind.
So, with that being said, let’s see what cons tend to be brought up in Shaw Academy user reviews.
Lack of Information
One of the bigger challenges I faced while gathering details about Shaw Academy is the lack of clearly provided information. This can be a big issue for someone trying to learn more about the platform, as it was quite difficult to find even some of the most basic details.
After hours of reading entire pages of their FAQs, I still couldn’t find accurate, up-to-date prices of the final assignments or the hard copy certificates. These and other details, related to pricing, are very important to list clearly, as they can lead some customers to make uninformed decisions.
At the bottom of each FAQ page, Shaw Academy encourages you to reach out to their customer service via email if any questions remain unanswered, but, unfortunately, that leads to even more trouble.
Shaw Academy Customer Service Issues
It’s safe to say that almost all companies, big or small, rely on customer service to build a strong connection between them and their customers and help improve their products.
Shaw Academy, however, has chosen a very different approach to customer service.
One of the most common complaints popping up in Shaw Academy reviews is regarding lack of communication with customers. The Shaw Academy customer service email is listed on their website multiple times and is provided as their main contact for customers to use. After writing to that email many customers received an automated response redirecting them back to their extensive FAQ section.
However, the issues don’t stop there. Those who chose to contact Shaw Academy customer service not only were told to go browse the FAQs again but were informed that email-based customer service is only available to premium members.
It’s easy to empathize with the dissatisfied customers as this detail was never mentioned anywhere on the Shaw Academy website, not even in the Terms and Agreements.
There is an option provided to submit queries directly through the website, but many report that they never received a response after trying out this method.
It's important to note that it is not uncommon for websites to not include some information by accident or not word it clearly. However, some Shaw Academy users have noticed some issues regarding the information provided by the platform. More on that can be found in the following section of this Shaw Academy review.
Inflexible Learning Schedule
One of the greatest appeals of online courses is the flexible schedule, making it a great option for students and working individuals. Being able to control your studying times and going at your own pace creates a stress-free learning environment that allows people to reach their full potential.
In their FAQs, Shaw Academy mentions that a recording of each class is uploaded immediately after the live Webinar is over and that students have unlimited access to said recordings. However, in a different section of the FAQs, lessons are described as scheduled recordings that can only be accessed at the student’s selected hour.
This inconsistency in provided information can be seen in multiple Shaw Academy reviews, showing that it isn’t an isolated glitch in the platform’s systems. Customers have reported being bombarded with emails from Shaw Academy about them “holding up” the prerecorded class and prompting them to reschedule it for a different hour.
This can be quite bothersome, as unexpected things do happen sometimes, and being able to not worry about missing a class or having to reschedule it can help create a welcoming, stress-free learning environment.
These Shaw Academy problems, unfortunately, occur much more often than they should, creating a severe lack of trust from the customers who eventually turn to public review platforms, such as Trustpilot, in search of some sort of assistance.
Shaw Academy Customer Complaints
Many people interested in online learning want to know what to expect before enrolling in any courses. Some opt to read about the company on its website, but others choose to form their opinion based on other customers' opinions.
Shaw Academy does include several very positive reviews on its website. However, a quick google search reveals a very polarizing reality. The second largest part of Shaw Academy student reviews is at least disappointing if not concerning.
One website where you can find many extensive Shaw Academy complaints is Trustpilot, where customer complaints range from dissatisfaction with borderline spam-like emails and calls to claims of serious legal issues.
An important thing to note before moving on is that Shaw Academy does not offer refunds “for any partial membership periods or lessons or Courses” or “without just cause”, as stated in their Terms and Conditions.
Based on the Shaw Academy complaints available on Trustpilot, however, customers are not entitled to any refunds. Many customers were informed about this only after they saw unauthorized charges on their bank statements in Shaw Academy’s name.
Multiple people have stated that they were charged a few times after canceling their memberships, by simply clicking on the Tool Kit tab without actually purchasing anything and even during a promotional phone call from Shaw Academy customer service after they’ve refused all trials and memberships multiple times.
These cases are extremely worrisome as they show Shaw Academy as very untrustworthy, but, unfortunately, complaints do not stop there.
As of June of 2020, Shaw Academy had their “excellent” Trustpilot rating, which is no longer up at the time of writing this review, featured on their website. At the moment Shaw Academy reviews rate it as “average” with 3.5 stars coming from over 56.5 thousand individual reviews.
On top of that (pun not intended), right above the current rating Trustpilot has highlighted a warning regarding Shaw Academy’s actions. The statement, published on the 18th of June, 2020, informs readers about Shaw Academy being monitored for encouraging biased positive reviews, reporting and deleting negative reviews, and providing a misleading, not up-to-date Trustpilot rating on their site.
Whether or not there are more Shaw Academy complaints that have been removed, the remaining listings are very important to potential customers to know about before making up their minds.
Shaw Academy Pricing
Pricing plays one of the most important roles while choosing an online course to take. As course costs tend to vary from one online learning platform to the other, pricing might end up being the deciding factor.
Because most online learning platforms offer independent instructors a chance to create and upload their own content, two courses on the same topic might be priced differently. In some cases, the same platform might even have similar courses listed for drastically different prices.
When it comes to Shaw Academy, all courses are priced the same across the board, so you won’t need to worry about figuring out your total for multiple classes. Every course, whether it’s long or short, is priced at $58.73 per module.
Because each module is priced individually, this allows users to select the number of modules they would like to take without needing to commit to an entire 4 module course.
As with many online learning platforms, there are additional offers for loyal customers and new students.
Shaw Academy offers a free trial of 28 days, making the first module of your choice completely free of charge. After the month is over, you have the option of continuing your courses by paying the standard amount per module, or you can purchase a premium membership. Currently, there are 4 types of memberships available:
- Quarterly - $39/month;
- Half-yearly - $35/month;
- Yearly - $19/month;
- Lifetime one-time additional payment - $99.
All premium members receive the same benefits, such as:
- Unlimited access to all courses;
- Interactive Webinars and HD recordings;
- Weekly assignments;
- Premium support 24/7.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What can I choose from when it comes to Shaw Academy free course?
Well, the answer is simple - there isn’t such a thing as a Shaw Academy free course. Once the free 28-day trial is over, all courses have to be paid for either by purchasing the individual modules or opting for a premium membership.
With all things considered, Shaw Academy prices come out to be around average compared to the industry average of $29 - $99 per course.
It is important to note that there are additional charges when it comes to completing your courses and receiving your certification. At the moment, you must pay to access some of the learning materials, to take the final assignment, and for the hard copy of your certificate. However, finding the exact prices of these expenses did prove to be quite difficult.
Some Charges Do Not Make Sense
It’s natural and almost expected of online learning platforms to charge a certain amount for additional studying material or options that might not be available for those without a premium membership.
Pretty self-explanatory - you pay extra if you want something extra.
I’m going to be honest, you might be surprised to learn what you are expected to pay for while attending Shaw Academy.
Anyone taking Shaw Academy courses, whether they are using their free trial or are premium members, have an option of using Tool Kits - additional learning material - to really get the hang of the subject. However, many customers were surprised by the mandatory charge of $55 for each Tool Kit. This price, as the following ones, is not mentioned on the Shaw Academy website, so it had to be found in the customer reviews.
There are no exceptions to that price, so even if you are just trying Shaw Academy out for a month or are paying for a premium membership you would still need to pay to really try out the course.
The same goes for hard copy certificates. You have an option of accessing your diploma through your Shaw Academy account, but if you need to have a physical copy of it you will have to pay. Unfortunately, it is unclear how much the hard copy would cost you as some pricing details are not mentioned on the Shaw Academy website.
It is self-explanatory that in order to receive any form of certification you have to complete the final assignment. Unfortunately, taking final assessments also has a separate set price that has no exceptions.
Even though all of these additional features are mentioned as priced separately in the FAQs, the exact amounts aren’t listed anywhere, which has left many customers very confused and dissatisfied with their free trials.
Shaw Academy Alternatives
After reading this Shaw Academy review and weighing all the pros and cons you might not want to enroll in their online courses.
The great news is that there are so many more online learning platforms to choose from that you are guaranteed to find the best fit for yourself. Here are a few great options to help you get started.
- Skillshare - arguably one of the best-known online learning platforms available today offers thousands of courses on more topics than you could imagine.
- Udacity - being one of the most popular MOOC providers, Udacity has high-quality content available, including free courses of the same high quality for you to try out.
- Udemy - founded in 2010, Udemy is the largest online learning provider on the market. And if you're a student, you can access the 100 thousand of courses for free!
And if you are still curious to find out more options for you to chose from, be sure to check out our top picks of the best online learning providers.
Congratulations - you’ve finished our Shaw Academy review!
At this point, you should be well acquainted with the ins and outs of Shaw Academy, including, pros, cons, and available alternatives.
Now, only one question remains.
Is Shaw Academy worth it?
Short answer - yes!
Based on users' Shaw Academy reviews, the platform has many benefits that are worth your attention.
Shaw Academy has a notably wide selection of course topics, even including some niche courses for those looking for something more unique. On top of that, all courses follow the same simple structure, making learning easy and enjoyable. Because of this, anyone can find the best course for themselves.
Another thing that makes Shaw Academy great are the accredited and globally recognized certificates that are guaranteed to look great on any CV!
That being said, it is important to take note of the cons mentioned in the review. Some pieces of information can be difficult to find or are not mentioned at all on Shaw Academy's page. in addition, finding the missing pieces of the puzzle can be a little difficult, as customer service is not the most accessible or reliable.
If you did not find Shaw Academy to be the right choice for you, there are many other online course platforms to choose from that offer high-quality content for wonderful prices. Platforms such as Udemy are the perfect example.
All things considered, Shaw Academy can be a great option for those looking to learn something new and interesting for an affordable price.