As an alternative to traditional education Skillshare founded has become one of the most popular online learning platforms.
We look at who founded Skillshare and what their backgrounds were prior to launching the company.
We’ll take a look at the kind of courses that Skillshare offers and how this company has built up an alternative education system.
What Does Skillshare Do?
Skillshare is an online learning platform that seeks to educate people through videos.
Most of the unaccredited courses are accessible only through a paid subscription service.
As the learning is done via video it is a very interactive experience rather than being taught by a lecture in person.
The main goal of learning via a Skillshare course is to complete a project.
There is a huge catalog of online video courses available covering a vast and diverse range of topics.
The majority focus on creative skills as well as business fundamentals.
Other courses include food, lifestyle, publishing, and technology.
The teaching is done by experienced practitioners of the skill, work, or craft being taught.
Some of the more notable instructors include Seth Godin teaching entrepreneurship, and Young Guru teaching audio mixing and recording.
Courses earn their instructors royalties on the content they produce, being paid on the basis of their share of the minutes watched per month by students subscribing to the Premium service. (Read ‘How Do Skillshare Teachers Get Paid?’)
In 2018 the company launched Skillshare Originals which are videos produced by an in-house product team rather than external practitioners.
Founders Of Skillshare
Skillshare was founded by Malcolm Ong and Michael Karnjanaprakorn in November 2010 in New York City. The site went live in April 2011.
Karnjanaprakorn had previously worked at Hot Potato which was purchased by Facebook. Ong had been the product manager for OMGPop.
Ong had been interested in technology all his life, creating his first eCommerce company when he was still in high school.
With this first foray into enterprise Malcolm Ong learned how to code and how to run his own business.
He went on to work for IBM, Microsoft, and Razorfish before starting Skillshare with Michael Karnjanaprakorn.
The co-founder of Skillshare, Michael Karnjanaprakorn received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia as well as a Masters of Science degree from VCU Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Despite both of his degrees, Karnjanaprakorn does not believe that having a college degree is synonymous with success.
He has stated that traditional education would never catch up to the skills needed in the world today.
Together Karnjanaprakorn and Ong founded Skillshare, an online learning platform where any single person can teach and anyone can learn. (If you want to learn who is the Skillshare CEO, click here.)
History Of Skillshare So Far
In August 2012 Skillshare launched 15 online courses which were self-paced and where students collaborated on a project. In just over 15 months it had grown to more than 250 courses.
Today Skillshare offers over 30,000 online video courses, most of which are taught by experts. It is used by people who want to change careers, learn a new skill with their first class or take up a hobby. v
By 2014 Skillshare had moved from a free online service to a subscription-paying one. Members were paying $9.95 per month at that time.
Later in the year, they launched an open platform which meant that anyone could be a course tutor.
This new platform also introduced a free membership option for a limited amount of content each month.
The platform still offers around 2,000 courses for free, but the majority of its online classes are Premium classes and are subject to membership fees.
This democratization of learning means that people can learn online for a fraction of the cost that it would cost them to go to university.
Having said that, the courses on Skillshare are not certified.
The variety of courses available via Skillshare is immense.
Most of the courses are creative with subjects such as portrait drawing, photography, music fundamentals, and interior design.
For those who want to build a new career, Skillshare offers courses in Business Analytics, Marketing, and Leadership & Management among others.
Other courses are geared towards improving your lifestyle and personal happiness with courses such as Stoicism or how to organize your workflow for greater productivity.
The duration of the courses varies with some less than fifteen minutes, others which are 15-30 minutes or 30-60 minutes.
Finally, there are courses that are more than an hour long.
With the choice of subjects and course lengths, Skillshare encourages members to be inspired, learn new skills, and engage in discovery.
They also want course teachers to share their expertise and personal experience.
By doing so tutors can earn money but also contribute to the world of learning.
Taking a Skillshare course is a very interactive learning experience and quite different from other more traditional systems of learning. But this is what the founders of Skillshare intended and wanted.
How Has Skillshare Changed Learning?
Skillshare is all about learning and unlocking human potential according to Michael Karnjanaprakorn.
The courses are built on real-world experiences and collaboration.
As subjects are taught by those who are using their skills in their work or as an active hobby the content of the courses will always be up-to-date.
Traditional education focuses on many subjects that people may never have the cause to use in their lives.
How many of us actually use algebra every day?
While regular education is rooted in tradition the learning at Skillshare is always driven by innovation.
With this model of learning anyone can pick a subject and learn about it and those with knowledge and expertise can share that with others.
By using the internet Skillshare has removed some of the barriers that existed and allowed more people to be able to access quality learning.
As an online learning platform for creative subjects, Skillshare is one of the best available.
Although the majority of courses are subscription-based there are still more than 2,000 free online courses available.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to the founding of Skillshare and found it helpful.