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How Skillshare Became The World's Leading Learning Website

Michelle Koh
Michelle Koh
May 18, 2016
2 min read
How Skillshare Became The World's Leading Learning Website

Capitalising on the age of individual driven pursuits to increase social mobility, Skillshare offers everyone a chance to teach or learn a brand new skill.

Since offering online classes, Skillshare has launched over 150 classes with over 50,000 enrollments in that category alone.

But how exactly did Skillshare manage to differentiate itself in the competitive education market?

Let’s take a look.

1. Get the famous onboard - to teach exactly what made them famous

james franco skillshare

We’re talking about the likes of James Franco and Sophia Chang offering lessons and VSCO and Mailchimp offering scholarships to us mere mortals.

By including famous individuals known for specific skills, it not only proves the company’s credibility, it also acts as free publicity.

This immediate, sensational draw to getting taught by celebrities has huge staying power when it comes to attracting wider consumer base, and differentiates their product.

Not only that - this means you can tap on the individual’s large fan bases to use your product (and provide them with a chance to get to interact with their favourite celebrity!)

2. Crowdsource and tap on your own audience’s knowledge

skillshare be a teacher

Ever heard your friends raving about a mutual friend’s amazing film photography/writing/talents?

Apart from celebrities, Skillshare also provides an avenue for people who want to share their skills.

What better way for people to hear about Skillshare than allowing loyal customers to teach others their talents, make money and spread word about Skillshare to their friends?

Coupled with a refer a friend program, their people-focused word-of-mouth approach ensures friends, friends-of-friends and strangers are always streaming in with a desire to learn or teach something new.

Read next: How Referral Marketing Works

3. Assess capacity and look towards expanding to new markets

skillshare learn anything from anyone anywhere

Assessing the feasibility and management issues of their company after its first few years in 2011, Skillshare moved from being a series of physical schools to offering learning experiences online.

This increases accessibility as well as audience reach because of the ease and convenience an online platform provides.

People are far more likely to say “let me google that” than to purchase “Dummies’ Guide to Adobe Creative Suite”, after all.

4. Angling their platform to show exactly what people want to see

skillshare trending classes community based

How does an online learning site stay relevant?

Skillshare noticed that even when it comes to learning skills, some skills are often more in demand than others.

Skillshare thus created their website to fit this purpose. By featuring trending classes in the community on their homepage, it directly captures the attention of people and nudges them to try learning out a new skill.

“Hey, I’ve always wanted to try learning about watercolours as a kid, let’s try it out now!”

By letting the community decide which are the best courses that deserve to be spotlighted, it not only keeps Skillshare in trend, it also gives an incentive for people to create relevant lessons that people care about in order to get featured.


Read next: How Spotify Built A $5B Business With >75M Music Lovers


Michelle Koh
Michelle Koh

Michelle is a self-aware, milo-loving millennial.

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