How Skillshare Increases Affordable Access to Education

Many Americans will spend more on education than almost anything else in their lifetimes. We place a high value on an expensive education at a college or a university. For some, the beautiful campuses, small class sizes, and tenured professors are well worth the investment. Yet, as access to information increases and our economy changes, more and more students are paying for degrees that are less certain indicators of future employment.

At Skillshare, we’re imagining a new system. By leveraging the internet to remove previous barriers to a quality learning experience, we’ve created an open, affordable platform on which anyone can learn and share new skills.

Learning on Skillshare is a huge deviation from our current system of standardized tests, discouraging admission rates and high tuitions. For some, it’s hard to imagine it could be possible to receive a quality education in a model like this. While it might seem radical today, here are three reasons why the future of education not only can be open and decentralized, but why it needs to be.

Access to Education

The costs of running a school quickly can add up: real estate, maintenance, professors, desks, the list goes on. For every student you add, those costs go up, especially when you try and keep class sizes small with the best teachers available.

But on the internet, you cut a lot of those costs that come with traditional education, just like Amazon did for commerce and AirBnB for hospitality. That’s especially true when the main product being sold are classes made on teacher’s laptops, and the costs of streaming that  additional digital file are negligible.  

An online open platform minimizes operating costs, which is why Skillshare is only $12 a month, providing an affordable alternative access to education to those who are excluded from expensive college classes, or even online classes priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars. The model also removes other barriers like location, time and even language, allowing for the best teachers to reach thousands of students around the globe without sacrificing the quality of educational content.

Rapid technological innovation

Technological advancement is happening at an accelerating pace. We’re seeing exciting new technologies come out every day, from  artificial intelligence to virtual reality to 3D printing, and people are eager to explore these new technologies and put them to use.

To learn these new skills at a university, first, a member of the faculty would have to create a new curriculum. Then she’d go through layers of red tape to get the course approved. At that point, there’d have to be enough interest from the student base for the class to be added. In all likelihood, by the time students were learning the skill months or even years later, the technology would be obsolete.

On an open platform however, anyone on the planet can identify a skill that should be taught, and teach a class on it that very same day. That’s why on Skillshare, you can already learn 3D printing, drone photography, and how to create games for virtual reality. We can only imagine that the barriers to innovation will continue to fall and the speed we need to learn new technologies will exponentially increase. Only an open platform will be able to provide access to education for new in-demand technologies.  

Employment on an Open Platform

As technology advances, the economy changes with it. As more traditional jobs like manufacturing, driving, even surgery, are automated, one way to keep up is through constantly learning and utilizing these new technologies. Of course, there are some things that can’t be replicated by machines, and more and more people are focused on earning a living through harnessing their creativity. With this rise of the creative economy, millions across the US are earning a living from their creative skillset, whether it’s selling their photography, opening an Etsy store or freelancing online. Teaching online is a great way to monetize an existing creative skillset, allowing for many to earn a living pursuing their creative passions.

Conclusion

As the speed of innovation increases, more and more people across the globe are eager to learn new skills that allow them to thrive in tomorrow’s economy. An open platform like Skillshare can fill this need at a speed mirroring innovation plus at an affordable cost, while providing an additional income stream to thousands of people for monetizing their creativity.