Skillshare: The Future Belongs to the Curious


This start-up built an alternative education system that’s poised to have a major impact on the learning landscape” (Tracy, 2017).

Skillshare, launched in April 2011 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn (Joyner, 2017), is an online learning platform where the world’s best experts teach world’s best skills. With Skillshare it is possible to learn and practice a skill by doing. You can learn a skill together with their community of over 2 million students and teachers and network with them. Classes and skills are taught by expert practitioners, which makes it possible for everybody to get unlimited access to over 14,000 classes in different categories, such as design, technology, entrepreneurship and many more (Skillshare, 2017). This start-up  uses the benefits from crowdsourcing. The crowd is used to teach other interested individuals a new skill, that are traditionally performed by a designated agent (Howe, 2006)

how-it-works

Learning should be as easy as listening to music at Spotify or watching your favorite movie on Netflix. Skillshare is really about learning by doing and every class is project-based as well. Students can create projects, alter them to the website and can get feedback from students all around the world (Skillshare, 2017). Thus, unlike other educational online platforms, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. to teach something valuable. And on the other hand, learning skills is for everyone universal accessible and relatively inexpensive. It is for everyone easy to become a lifelong learner.The mission of Skillshare is to close the professional skill gap and provide universal access to high-quality learning (Skillshare, 2017). They believe that there is a huge difference between education and learning. Skillshare empowers people to take a leap in their careers, improve their lives and pursue the work they love, by teaching skills online that are needed in tomorrow’s world. This mission directly shows the major strength of Skillshare and how they differentiate themselves from competitive education platforms. Skillshare allows everyone to sign up and teach a class. By doing this they want to provide universal access to high-quality learning.

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How it works

For the lifelong learner, Skillshare makes it possible to get universal access to high-quality learning and to learn anything they want to. They offer the possibility to watch classes, online and offline, on your own schedule, anytime and anywhere. Thus they make it possible to learn at your own pace. Furthermore, the classes are taught by an expert with experience in the field. These classes include video lessons that are relatively short with most lessons under one hour, written text. And with the project-based environment you really learn by doing and are able to share your project in the class to get feedback and collaborate with a large community (Skillshare Help, 2017). They offer their members the possibility to create projects and build a portfolio of their work. On the other hand, Skillshare makes it possible for everyone to share their knowledge in a particular field, as long as the class follows certain guidelines. The company has proven adept at acquiring experts to teach on their website (Bromwich, 2015).

Skillshare has a freemium model which allows users to access free classes, create projects and discussions within them. However, this model includes videos with advertisements. A premium model offers their users to get unlimited access to over 14,000 classes, watch them offline and ad-free (Skillshare Premium, 2017).

Efficiency criteria:

Skillshare is one of the leading educational platforms that offers everyone universal access to learn a new skill at an affordable price. The platform maximizes the joint profitability of both of the players involved (Carson et al., 1999). On one side, it is for individuals easy to reach a large audience and teach them a skill of their experience. They are not bounded by a physical location anymore and therefore can have a more efficient personal schedule. Additionally, they can earn a little to a lot.

On the other side, many individuals can learn and practice a new skill at an affordable price. At the same time, they can collaborate with a large community and get feedback from them, so that the wisdom of the crowd can be used.

Evaluating the institutional environment, the largest threat for Skillshare is that there are too many new teachers who don’t add value to the platform. However, because there are guidelines and requirements that should be met before a class can be created, this threat is limited.

Concluded, Skillshare is an online platform that offers universal access to high-quality learning at an affordable price.

References:

Bromwich, J. (2015) ‘Anyone Can Be a Teacher at Skillshare, an Online School, The New York Times, available online from: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/education/anyone-can-be-a-teacher-in-this-online-school.html?_r=0 [28 February 2017].

Carson, S. J., Devinney, T. M., Dowling, G. R., & John, G. (1999) ‘Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems’, Journal of Marketing, 115-130.

Howe, J. (2006) ‘The rise of crowdsourcing’, Wired, 14 (6).

Joyner, A. (2017) Skillshare Takes On the Education Gap, available online from: http://www.inc.com/best-industries-2013/april-joyner/skillshare-education-gap.html [28 February 2017].

Tracy, A. (2017) Skillshare: Redesigning  Education for the Masses, available online from: http://www.inc.com/abigail-tracy/35-under-35-skillshare-online-education-platform.html [28 February 2017].

Skillshare (2017) Unlimited access to over 14,000 classes, available online from: https://www.skillshare.com/ [28 February 2017].

Skillshare Help (2017) How does Skillshare work?, available online from: https://help.skillshare.com/hc/en-us/articles/205208147-How-does-Skillshare-work- [28 February 2017].

Skillshare Premium (2017) Why Premium?, available online from: https://www.skillshare.com/premium [28 February 2017].

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