Wondrium is one of my absolute favorite platforms for learning new things.
I’m a life-long learner. I’m constantly curious about different things. So it’s no surprise that I like both Masterclass and Wondrium.
So we decided to write a review of Wondrium here, with a brief comparison to Masterclass, which we also have a full review of.
And while Masterclass is excellent in its own right, Wondrium is different, and I might even say that it might actually be a bit better for writers.
But I’ll get to that…
- What Wondrium is
- How much it costs
- My top recommended courses
- Pros and cons of Wondrium
Table of contents
- What is Wondrium?
- Pricing: How Much Is Wondrium?
- Everything Wondrium Gives You
- The Best Wondrium Courses for Writers
- How to Write Best Selling Fiction
- How to Publish Your Book
- The Art of Storytelling
- Writing Great Fiction
- Building a Better Vocabulary
- Effective Editing
- Writing Creative Nonfiction
- English Grammar Book Camp
- Utopian & Dystopian Literature
- Mystery & Suspense Fiction
- How Great Science Fiction Works
- Screenwriting 101
- How Wondrium Compares to Competitors
- Pros About Wondrium
- Cons About Wondrium
- Verdict: Is Wondrium Worth It?
Also keep in mind that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, but as always that costs you nothing extra, and it all goes to support the Kindlepreneur coffee fund.
What is Wondrium?
Wondrium is basically the Netflix of online learning. It’s a subscription platform with a HUGE library of educational content.
You may have heard of “The Great Courses”. Well there used to be a platform called The Great Courses Plus, but that was rebranded as Wondrium in 2021.
With that rebranding came a partnership with other learning platforms, including Magellan, Craftsy, and Kino Lorber at the start (there are more now).
It has now grown to be (by far) the largest streaming service in its category, with new courses added weekly.
And yes, its catalog is a lot larger than Masterclass.
Pricing: How Much Is Wondrium?
Wondrium has three pricing tiers:
- $20/month billed monthly
- $45/quarter ($15/month) billed quarterly
- $150/year ($12.5/month) billed annually
Wondrium also offers a 14-day free trial that you can use to see if it’s to your liking. And if you decide you don’t want it, or don’t use it enough, you can cancel before the 14 days are up.
Wondrium has apps on a number of different platforms, including:
- Your web browser
- The iOS app
- The Android app
- An Amazon Kindle app
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
I personally use my phone or the web for most of my viewing, but this is mostly because I have a Roku and the Roku version doesn’t have a way to increase the speed of the lectures, which is a shame because I usually listen at 1.5 speed.
Hopefully that’s something they add soon.
Everything Wondrium Gives You
Alright, so let’s actually dive into the features and offerings that you get with Wondrium (I’ll get to specific courses down below).
You can browse Wondrium by subject, which includes the following categories:
- Business & Finance
- Food & Drink
- Health & Mindfulness
- Hobby & Personal Pursuits
- Philosophy & Religion
- Professional Growth
- Travel & Cultures
For authors, I recommend Literature, as that is where most of the writing courses are. However, many of the other courses are relevant as well, depending on the genre you write in.
For example, there are an unparalleled number of history courses, which are the perfect way to study up on ancient ways of doing things. Perfect for authors who write historical fiction or fantasy.
Or there are science and astronomy courses perfect for science fiction authors, psychology or crime-related courses for thriller writers.
I could go on and on.
Additionally, you can also browse by Format, which includes:
- TGC Classics
And last but not least, you can sort by their different collections. Wondrium has a lot of collections, but these four are the big ones:
- Wondrium Originals: A collection of exclusive original content made just for Wondrium, like the travel show Travels with Darcy and the fiction writing course How to Write Best-selling Fiction.
- The Great Courses: Wondrium's largest collection, with dozens of in-depth programs on topics like Norse Mythology, The History and Archaeology of the Bible, and more.
- Kino Lorber: Classic films and documentaries like Nosferatu and Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.
- Craftsy: Creative skills like drawing, woodworking, and metalsmithing. Great for learning hobbies.
In addition, you will also occasionally see content from other sources, those tend to come and go, so I won’t list them all here.
The Best Wondrium Courses for Writers
Alright, now we get to the fun part of the review, the part where I outline the best courses specifically for writers (as this is the main audience for Kindlepreneur).
Before I get into that, I want to reiterate that while Wondrium has some excellent courses just for writers, there are a lot of courses that are tangentially related to a variety of genres that are excellent for research.
For instance, when I was about to start writing my first YA Arthurian Fantasy, I watched a course on the Arthurian Legends. And it was fantastic!
The courses are incredibly thorough and give you a solid overview of a topic. It leaves you able to talk conversationally on just about any subject you want.
So with that in mind, I highly recommend the history, science, psychology, and many other courses there. They will give you a lot of background information that you might want as an author, without requiring you to get a PhD in the subject.
Here are my favorite courses that are more specifically relevant for authors:
How to Write Best Selling Fiction
Overview: This course reveals all the secrets that best-selling fiction writers have employed for years, from crafting compelling characters to structuring a page-turning plot. It provides tips and techniques to elevate your writing style and take your stories to the next level.
About the Instructor: James Scott Bell is an award-winning novelist and writing instructor who has written a best-selling book on plot and structure.
How to Publish Your Book
Overview: This comprehensive course offers extensive insights into every step of the publishing process to help authors navigate the complex world of publishing. It covers finalizing your manuscript, understanding different publishing paths, effective marketing strategies, and building a successful writing career.
About the Instructor: Jane Friedman is an expert on publishing who has worked in book, magazine, and digital publishing and now lectures at the University of Virginia.
The Art of Storytelling
Overview: This engaging course demonstrates proven methods to master the art of storytelling, from basic principles like evoking a scene to advanced techniques used by professional storytellers. It reveals how to develop entertaining and memorable stories for the stage or everyday life.
About the Instructor: Hannah B. Harvey is an award-winning teacher and internationally recognized professional storyteller with a Ph.D. in Performance Studies.
Writing Great Fiction
Overview: This masterclass explores all the elements of powerful fiction writing, including in-depth lessons on crafting vivid settings, nuanced characters, gripping conflict, and satisfying resolution. Gain valuable insight on the fiction writing process from brainstorming ideas to polishing the final draft.
About the Instructor: James Hynes is a published novelist who has taught creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and other prestigious programs.
Building a Better Vocabulary
Overview: This course provides an enjoyable, research-based method for improving vocabulary using insights from cognitive science. It offers tips and strategies to enhance learning and memorization of new words that can be applied in any context.
About the Instructor: Kevin Flanigan is a literacy professor focused on developmental word knowledge and effective vocabulary instruction.
Overview: This practical course offers a proven self-editing framework to take writing to the next level. Through step-by-step lessons, it provides an array of tools and techniques to polish narrative writing including correcting grammar and style issues, strengthening voice and flow, and preparing a manuscript for submission.
About the Instructor: Molly McCowan is an accomplished developmental editor, copyeditor, and writing coach.
Writing Creative Nonfiction
Overview: This comprehensive course explores every phase of writing creative nonfiction, from finding inspiration to getting published. With insightful lessons on crafting personal essays, memoirs, travel writing, and more, it provides tips to improve storytelling and examples from renowned authors.
About the Instructor: Tilar J. Mazzeo is an English professor, New York Times bestselling author, and expert on creative nonfiction.
English Grammar Book Camp
Overview: This dynamic course explores the foundational aspects of English grammar and their practical usage in clear, accessible lessons. Moving from parts of speech to sentence structure, it provides context and builds competence applying grammar principles.
About the Instructor: Anne Curzan is passionate about the history of language and everyday talk.
Utopian & Dystopian Literature
Overview: This fascinating course traces the evolution of utopian and dystopian ideas through their greatest works of literature. It analyzes influential texts from across centuries and continents to illustrate how concepts of imagined perfect and terrifying societies took shape and remain culturally relevant.
About the Instructor: Pamela Bedore teaches courses on American literature, popular culture, and genre fiction.
Mystery & Suspense Fiction
Overview: This captivating look at popular mystery and suspense genres analyzes their literary history, cultural prevalence, and mass appeal. The course surveys the conventions of these styles and deconstructs examples from classic to contemporary to shed light on why they continue to intrigue readers worldwide.
About the Instructor: David Schmid teaches fiction, cultural studies, and popular culture as an English professor.
How Great Science Fiction Works
Overview: This unparalleled course explores the wide-ranging influence of science fiction across literature, scientific advancement, technology, and pop culture. With a sweeping look at the history and cultural impact of sci-fi, it closely analyzes the complex themes, masterful storytelling techniques, and pioneering visions of the genre's greatest literary works.
About the Instructor: Gary K. Wolfe is an award-winning science fiction scholar and editor.
Overview: This dynamic course delves into the foundational elements of effective cinematic storytelling. With an insider's perspective, it reveals how to craft compelling characters, structure gripping plots, and write memorable dialogue that brings screenplays to life.
About the Instructor: Angus Fletcher is an English and film professor who has written multiple feature screenplays.
How Wondrium Compares to Competitors
When it comes to online learning platforms, Wondrium stands out for its sheer breadth and depth of educational content. However, it does have some stiff competition in the space. Here's how Wondrium stacks up against some of the other top players.
Masterclass is perhaps the most direct competitor to Wondrium in terms of being a subscription platform with a wide range of topics covered. Masterclass offers courses taught by celebrities and industry leaders on subjects ranging from cooking to filmmaking to sports.
The biggest advantage of Masterclass is that you're learning directly from the absolute best – people like Neil Gaiman, Levar Burton, or James Patterson. They've reached the pinnacle of their field, so who better to learn from?
However, I've found the format of Masterclass courses to be more limited compared to Wondrium. Most Masterclass courses are between 5-10 video lessons averaging 15-20 minutes each. They are well-produced and insightful, but not nearly as comprehensive as a typical 12-60+ lecture Wondrium course.
Wondrium goes much more in-depth, spending hours upon hours exploring a topic from all angles. So if you're looking for a true immersion in a subject, Wondrium has the edge. That said, Masterclass is unrivaled for learning directly from the masters of a craft.
Skillshare is an online learning community focused primarily on creative skills rather than academic topics. You'll find courses on illustration, photography, video production, design, marketing, and more.
The platform is oriented towards very specific, practical skills rather than broader knowledge. So you might take a course on social media strategy or watercolor painting basics. This can be great if you want to pick up tactical abilities.
However, Wondrium offers a much wider range of subject matter, including topics like history, science, literature, philosophy and more. While Wondrium has some practical skills courses, its strength is building a foundation of knowledge in a subject rather than just teaching isolated skills.
Overall, Skillshare is better for targeted creative skills training, while Wondrium provides more well-rounded learning.
Udemy is another large online course marketplace, with offerings in topics like design, marketing, programming, and more. Like Skillshare, it focuses primarily on teaching practical job skills and software proficiencies.
Courses are paid for individually, so you buy only what you want à la carte rather than paying a subscription. This can be nice if you just need to pick up one or two specific skills.
However, this format encourages very niche courses sometimes only an hour or two long. Again, Wondrium takes a much more comprehensive approach in exploring subjects through lengthy, structured courses.
So Udemy is better for quickly adding a new capability, while Wondrium builds deeper knowledge foundations.
Coursera partners with major universities to offer online versions of real college courses and degrees. You'll find courses from schools like Stanford, University of Michigan, and Duke.
The courses span topics like technology, business, and health, offering university-level curriculum to anyone online. And a huge benefit is that most Coursera courses are available for free.
However, Coursera courses tend to be lighter versions of true university classes, often just 6-8 hours of content in total. Wondrium courses regularly span 24+ hours of lectures diving deep into a topic.
So Coursera serves as a nice taste of higher education, but Wondrium goes far beyond surface level into mastery of subjects.
LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda) offers courses mainly focused on creative business skills like design, marketing, data analysis, and more. The platform is great for picking up abilities that translate to real-world jobs.
The course quality is generally very good, on par with Wondrium. And the business slant provides very career-applicable education.
However, the scope of LinkedIn Learning content is narrower, prioritizing marketable skills over exploration of academic disciplines like history or literature.
So LinkedIn Learning can give your resume a boost, while Wondrium simply makes you a well-rounded lifelong learner.
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Pros About Wondrium
By now you have an idea of what I like about Wondrium. I really like it. A lot. But here are some of the specifics that particularly draw me to the platform:
- Extensive catalog of courses: With over 10,000 hours of content and growing, Wondrium has a course on practically any topic you could want to learn about.
- Very nice for life-long learners: The wide range makes it easy to always find new subjects to explore as your interests evolve and change over time.
- Great for a well-rounded education on any topic: The courses truly immerse you in a subject with comprehensive, structured lessons over hours of content. This is especially useful for writers who need a broad overview of a variety of subjects besides writing.
- High production value: The courses are professionally filmed in studios with engaging instructors and visual elements like slides and demos.
- Instructors from accredited institutions: Instructors are experts from top universities like Stanford, giving credibility.
Cons About Wondrium
Despite the fact that I love Wondrium, there are a few things I would improve if I could. Including the following:
- Mildly expensive: While affordable compared to alternatives, the subscription fee can add up, though this isn’t really that much of an issue if you get the annual option, which comes out to just $12.50/month, which is cheaper than Netflix.
- Some issues with the app: I’ve had a few issues with some of the apps, including the occasional crash. And certain platforms like Roku don't allow speeding up video, making courses slower to get through.
- Not good for niche skills: The focus is more on conceptual knowledge rather than tactical abilities and techniques. Some of the alternative platforms mentioned above are a bit better for hyper-niched skills in my opinion.
Verdict: Is Wondrium Worth It?
100% Yes, I can confirm that Wondrium is worth it.
When Dave was just starting out with Kindlepreneur, he wrote a great review of Masterclass, and don’t get me wrong, I love Masterclass as well.
But if I personally had to choose between the two (speaking for myself here, and not for Dave Chesson or Kindlepreneur as a whole), I would choose Wondrium.
Because writers need to know a lot more than just how to write. We need to know about history, geography, psychology, philosophy, science, and a lot more.
And in my opinion, Wondrium is the #1 place to do that, so it remains my personal recommendation for a good learning platform.
If you love to learn, you will love Wondrium. Period.\