I have been using Wondrium almost since it first came out, and I have been using The Great Courses for longer. So, after over a year of use, I thought I would finally write a review.
Wondrium is my favorite platform for online courses. Period. And when it comes to subjects like history, mythology, and writing (a.k.a. my areas of expertise), Wondrium is unparalleled anywhere in the online courses space.
But there is a little more nuance to that, and so if you want to understand my full thoughts, keep reading:
In this review, I will cover: what Wondrium is, it’s cost and key features, the best mythology, ancient history, and writer courses, and finish up with my list of pros and cons.
- What Is Wondrium?
- How Much Does Wondrium Cost?
- Wondrium Availability
- What Is Included in Wondrium?
- What Subjects Does Wondrium Cover?
- The Best Mythology Courses
- The Best Ancient History Courses
- The Best Courses for Writers
- The Wondrium Magazine
- Pros: What I Liked About Wondrium
- Cons: What I Didn’t Like About Wondrium
- Verdict: Is Wondrium Worth It?
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Wondrium, but I only recommend the things I personally use, and using my links will actually save you 20% on an annual plan, so you pay nothing extra.
What Is Wondrium?
Wondrium is a subscription platform built for life-long learners. Originally, it was called The Great Courses Plus, and as the name suggests, was exclusive to The Great Courses.
However, in 2021, The Great Courses teamed up with other services (Magellan, Craftsy, and Kino Lorber at the start) to rebrand and create Wondrium.
That made Wondrium a much bigger platform than The Great Courses Plus had been, with no increase in price.
Some of Wondrium’s key features include:
- Over 8000 video lectures (and constantly adding content)
- High-definition video quality on most courses
- Video and audio versions of each course
- A free PDF guidebook for each course
- The ability to save courses to your watchlist (I have over 40 on mine)
- A quarterly magazine shipped to your home
Wondrium provides literally thousands of hours of video instruction, usually in the form of a lecture-style series on almost every topic imaginable.
Most of these topics focus on courses you might find in an academic institution, rather than skills-based courses you might find on another platform like Skill Share or Udemy.
Lectures? Isn’t that a bit boring?
If “lecture series” sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry. I find most of the lectures to be highly engaging, with enough visuals and vocal variety to keep me engaged in the subject.
In fact, I find them to be much more informative than other lectures or documentaries that you would find on YouTube or other subscription platforms.
Wondrium is curated, meaning that the courses are not created by just anyone. And most are taught by university professors, top researchers, and other people at the top of their field.
How Much Does Wondrium Cost?
Wondrium has three pricing tiers:
- $20/month billed monthly
- $45/quarter ($15/month) billed quarterly
- $150/year ($12.5/month) billed annually
HOWEVER, if you use my link, you can actually get 20% off an annual plan, which comes to $120 for your first year, or the equivalent of $10/month. And let me tell you from personal experience, it’s totally worth it!
Is there a free version of Wondrium?
No, there is not a free version of Wondrium. However, there is a 14-day free trial that you can use to test it out. If you decide you don’t want it, you can cancel before the 14 days are up.
Wondrium is available on most platforms and apps. You can stream it on the following:
- Your web browser
- The iOS app
- The Android app
- An Amazon Kindle app
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
The only thing left out here that I wish they would do is an app for the PlayStation and Xbox, since I stream most of my media through my Xbox Series X.
I imagine that most of Wondrium’s audience is not frequently on a game system, so I don’t have any hope of this happening anytime soon, but that is my only gripe.
What Is Included in Wondrium?
Wondrium is a combination of many different platforms. It started with The Great Courses Plus, but they later teamed up with various other services to create the ULTIMATE platform. These offerings include:
The Originals are a bunch of exclusives created specifically for or exclusive to Wondrium.
Some of my favorites in this category include:
- Travels with Darcy: A travel show similar to Rick Steve’s Europe, but for more than Europe.
- How to Write Best-selling Fiction: My favorite course for learning to write fiction.
- Board Games of the Ancient World: A fascinating look at a different side ancient history.
The Great Courses
This is the bulk of the content, and includes dozens of different programs with hours of content in each.
It would be impossible to list all of my favorites here, because there are so many, but here are a few:
- Norse Mythology: A thorough breakdown of this fascinating mythology.
- Myth in Human History: A deep dive into the role that mythology fills.
- The History and Archaeology of the Bible: A fair and balanced look at the history and archaeology of Biblical times.
Kino Lorber is a producer of documentaries, and they have a bunch of classic films as well.
Some of my favorites include:
- Nosferatu: An incredible classic film that shaped the horror genre.
- Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: A classic docuseries surrounding Joseph Campbell.
Magellan is a collection of documentaries related to history, science, nature, astronomy, and true crime (all really great topics).
Here are some of my favorites:
- The Normans: A great documentary on the Normans who invaded England in 1066.
- The Gut, Our Second Brain: A fascinating look at this important and overlooked part of your body.
- Hidden History of Egypt: A fun look at Egyptian history.
As the name suggests, Craftsy focuses on various creative hobbies, things like painting, illustration, crafts, woodworking, etc.
Some of my favorites include:
- Learn to Draw: A great course on how to draw.
- Shop Essentials: The basics of shop class.
- Metalsmithing at Home: Great for learning about metal working, which I love since I’m an author of fantasy and need to know how these things work.
This is a collection designed to “restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse.” I love some of these, because they do a good job of examining each issue from every angle.
There’s a small selection here, but a few favorites are:
- Do We Need God Less the More We Evolve?: A debate on the role God plays in our lives.
- Is Death Final?: A look at the different philosophies around what happens after death.
- Will Automation Crash Democracy?: A fascinating look at the role that robots, AI, and automation could have on our society.
Truefire is a collection of instructions for playing guitar, and it goes into a lot of detail on various techniques or types of guitars.
I don’t play guitar so I have no favorites to list, but if I wanted to learn, this is definitely where I would start.
A small collection of health and wellness features, including various meditations and lectures on health.
Abacus Media Rights
This is another very small collection of international programming. There isn’t much here so that’s all I’ll say on it.
This is another small collection that focuses on documentaries, most of them related to great historical figures.
Another small collection that focuses on documentaries of various genres and types. I personally love that they have a documentary about an Indiana Jones fan film.
One last small collection of documentaries of various subjects.
As you can see, there are a bunch of smaller collections that each bring a few distinct documentaries to the table. And once again you can get all of that for 20% with my link:
What Subjects Does Wondrium Cover?
Wondrium covers a variety of subjects, including:
- Business & Finance
- Food & Drink
- Health & Mindfulness
- Hobby & Personal Pursuits
- Philosophy & Religion
- Professional Growth
- Travel & Cultures
That’s a lot of subjects! As the owner of a mythology website, I am partial towards ancient history and mythology, which is what I focus on primarily in this review.
But as an author, I am also interested in many of the writing courses.
I have already watched many of the courses on Wondrium since I signed up over a year ago, but I still have dozens more on my wish list. Seriously, check out the screenshot from my wish list for just a few:
The Best Mythology Courses
Since this is a mythology website, I have to specify the best mythology courses on Wondrium.
First of all, let me say that it is amazing to find so many good mythology courses in one place. The only other course marketplace that has anything related to mythology is Udemy, and they’re honestly not very good (I’ve tried a couple).
Here are the best mythology courses:
1. Great Mythologies of the World
This is the big one, the overarching course across all of mythology, and it has more episodes than any other mythology course on this list: 60 of them. If you’re looking to get into world mythology, this is the place to start.
2. King Arthur: History and Legend
When I first started researching the Arthurian legends to write my book series, this is where I started, and I am so glad I did.
The teacher, Dorsey Armstrong, does an awesome job of breaking down the legend of King Arthur throughout the centuries, and all of the different influences. I cannot recommend this one enough.
3. Myth in Human History
This one is an in-depth overview of the role that myth plays in human society, and it is another one of my favorites. It talks about mythology more globally, covering things like creation myths, flood myths, pantheons, etc.
4. Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth
This is a recording of various interviews with Joseph Campbell. It is a program that appeared a long time ago, and is not part of The Great Courses, but is still a classic that any mythologist should watch.
5. Norse Mythology
If you are looking for an in-depth analysis of Norse Mythology, then you’re in luck! This course goes into much more detail than the previous courses I mentioned, but specifically about Norse Mythology.
6. Sacred Texts of the World
If you’re interested in learning more about the sacred texts of various religions around the world, this is a fascinating overview of everything from Hinduism to Buddhism to the Bible.
The Best Ancient History Courses
Closely related to mythology is the subject of ancient history, a subject that I find absolutely fascinating, both because of its relationship to mythology, but also as research for my books.
There are literally dozens of courses on ancient history, but I managed to pare it down to 14 of my favorites:
1. Big History of Civilizations
If you want a good place to start, this is the one I would look at. It provides a huge and broad look at history as a whole, which provides a great framework for discovering which area of history you like best, then you can look at other courses that delve deeper into that topic.
2. History of the Ancient World
This is perhaps my favorite course that I have watched. It is a global overview of ancient history, from the beginning of civilization to the fall of Rome. It is a fascinating look into multiple cultures across the entire earth in roughly chronological order.
3. Other Side of History
This course goes over what day-to-day life would’ve been like throughout much of ancient history, something that is often forgotten when we focus on the great men and women, and big events of ancient history.
Note: this is also a great one for authors, who want to inject a little more realism into their historical or fantasy books.
4. The Greek World
As the title suggests, this is an examination of the ancient Greek world, and how it shaped Western civilization.
5. The Roman Empire
There are a lot of different courses about the Roman Empire, but this is the one I would pick if you can only have one. It goes over the reign of Augustus to the fall of Rome.
6. The Celtic World
As an author of Arthurian literature, this is another one of my favorites. The Celtic world gives you an insight into this huge and mysterious civilization that existed all across Europe, but is best known today in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
7. The Pagan World
What did Europe look like before Christianity? This is what this course uncovers in this in-depth look at paganism before the rise of Christianity.
8. History of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite ancient civilizations, and this course goes deep into what their history and culture looked like.
9. Ancient Mesopotamia
Ancient Mesopotamia is the oldest civilization that we know of. They were the first to invent writing, and pioneered a lot of innovations in mathematics, art, storytelling, and more. This course goes over all of that.
10. Ancient Civilizations of North America
Ancient civilization is not just for Europe and the Mediterranean. There were multiple civilizations right here in North America, and the general public knows very little about these. Want to learn more? This Great Course will break it down for you.
11. The World of Biblical Israel
I love having more context when I read the Bible, and therefore this is a great course to watch, because it goes into detail on what Israel looked like during the time periods associated with different stories in the Bible.
12. The Foundations of Western Civilization
Western civilization, generally thought of as the great civilizations of Western Europe like ancient Greece, Rome, Britain, etc. has had a huge influence on us today. This is a sweeping course that covers huge section of its history, and what it means.
13. The Foundations of Eastern Civilization
As I’m writing this Wondrium review, this is the course that I am currently watching. And it is absolutely fascinating. I’ve grown up knowing little, but always being interested in, Eastern culture. This course unpacks the history and influences of China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. I highly recommend it.
14. The Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations
This is another course that goes over many ancient civilizations, especially mysterious and lost civilizations, such as the Minoans and the Carthaginians. Another great way to delve deep into ancient history.
The Best Courses for Writers
Lastly, as I am a writer, and I suspect that many who use the site are as well, I had to list a few of my favorite courses for learning how to write, especially learning how to write fiction.
1. How to Write Best-Selling Fiction
This is by far my favorite course on writing, since it is taught by James Scott Bell, who is a proven best-selling novelist. I actually have read some of Bell’s books before, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was the instructor.
2. The Art of Storytelling
This is a course that talks about storytelling generally, not just in writing. So you will learn how to implement storytelling into your personal life.
3. English Grammar Book Camp
This course is exactly what it sounds like, a boot camp to learn English grammar. For most writers, myself included, we could use a brush up on our grammar, so I would highly recommend this thorough course on the subject.
4. Analysis and Critique
While not as necessary for many fiction writers, it is important to have analysis and critiquing skills when learning how to write. Plus, Dorsey Armstrong is one of my favorite instructors on the platform.
5. Writing Great Fiction
This is another basic course about writing fiction, giving you storytelling tips and techniques. Although I find that it is more skewed towards literary writing, and less toward best-selling fiction that you get with the above course by James Scott Bell.
6. Effective Editing
Learning to edit is a key strength for any writer, so this is another course that I highly recommend to build that skill.
7. How to Publish Your Book
This course is all about how to publish your book, and the many avenues to do so. It is taught by Jane Friedman, who is (and I can confirm this) a well-known name in the publishing industry. She is definitely one of the first I would go to if I wanted to learn how to publish traditionally or self publish.
The Wondrium Magazine
I have to pause here and also mention the Wondrium Magazine that is published quarterly. This is not a very thick magazine, but I found it pleasantly surprising.
As someone who has never read a magazine since he canceled his Lego magazine subscription at 14, I actually picked this up and read it. And you know what? It’s actually good!
The magazine goes over new courses that have been added to the platform, but also gives a little bit of behind-the-scenes for what they are working on. I found it to be a refreshingly transparent and enjoyable look at all of these different subjects that I am interested in.
Pros: What I Liked About Wondrium
All right, so if you can’t tell by now, I really like this platform. But here are, specifically, a few pros that stick out to me:
- An insane catalogue: the amount of content on this platform is truly mind-boggling to me. I could spend years and years going through what they have now, not to mention everything that they are adding and will add in the future.
- Incredible for life-long learners: if you are a lifelong learner, then this is the platform for you. In fact, I would say this is the best platform to get a foundational knowledge on almost any subject.
- A history and literature nerd’s dream: if you are a fan of history or literature, look no further. This is virtually the only course platform that has anything on history or literature. It’s incredibly hard to find anything on mythology, for example, anywhere else.
- Super high quality production: I have found that most of the programs on Wondrium are filmed in high definition video, have great audio, and are generally well made.
- Taught by instructors from accredited institutions: every instructor on Wondrium is vetted and proven to be an expert in their field. Unlike Masterclass, which goes to the “best of the best” in terms of success (which can lead to survivor bias), Wondrium focuses on academic knowledge, meaning these guys really know their stuff.
Cons: What I Didn’t Like About Wondrium
Now despite the fact that I clearly love this program, there are a few cons that I should point out. Some of these may be resolved in the future, but here we go:
- Mildly expensive: compared to other subscription programs, Wondrium can seem a little expensive. However, it is not as expensive as a platform like Udemy would cost, and nowhere near the expense of premium courses found throughout the Internet. Given the value of the content, I find it worth the expense. I personally get the quarterly plan, which brings the price down to be the same as Netflix.
- Some small issues with the apps: I’ve seen some complaints about technical glitches in the app. Personally, I do find that streaming Wondrium to my Google Chromecast is a little clunky. But it is doable, and I am sure these things will improve over time.
- Not good for learning specific skills: there are two flavors of learning, one that is meant to give you a broad overview of a general subject, and one that is meant to teach you a hyper-specific skill. Wondrium is the former. This is why you can find history and literature courses on Wondrium, but not elsewhere. If you’re looking to develop specific skills, a course platform like Udemy or Skill Share might be better.
Verdict: Is Wondrium Worth It?
Yes! Wondrium is my favorite platform for online learning, and I have tried them all. While there are certain subjects or skills that you might not find on Wondrium, there is so much that you will find.
If you consider yourself a life-long learner, or if you enjoy mythology and history (as I assume you do if you are visiting my site), then there is no doubt that Wondrium is perfect for you.
If you are looking to develop specific skills, my recommendation would be Skill Share. In actuality, the two don’t have a lot of overlap. The courses on each are wildly different, so if you can afford it, the best scenario would be to have Wondrium and Skill Share.
But even then, if I could only pick one, I would still go with Wondrium.