New Trends in Democratizing Education

One recent trend in education is to democratize learning by bringing it to the “community marketplace” with online platforms that allow anyone at all to teach and share what they know, as well as learn whatever it is that they would like to know. Operating under the belief that learning for the sake of learning can be fun and rewarding, these types of platforms maintain that acquiring real-world knowledge can sometimes hold more weight than learning gained in the classroom.

Skillshare Vs Udemy

Two competitors in this sphere are Skillshare and Udemy—although they have similar goals, they also have opposing business models. Initially only in NYC but with plans to expand across the country, Skillshare asserts that learning should be collaborative and occur in a groups of people with common interests, and therefore, all of their courses are held in-person. In topics ranging from cooking to web design and development, the average cost of a Skillshare class is $20, while some courses are even offered for free. Before being posted publically on Skillshare, each course is evaluated and approved by the Skillshare team to ensure its credibility.

With Udemy, the classes are held completely online and built through their “create a course” technology, allowing instructors to upload PDFs, YouTube videos, MP3, PowerPoint presentations, and more. From business and entrepreneurship to technology and health and fitness, most courses on Udemy are free. Paid courses can range from $5-$250. Since Udemy is not limited by region, the platform makes learning truly accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Another platform on the same page as Skillshare is CourseHorse, which promotes learning in your community, but instead of allowing any interested party to become a teacher, they provide an aggregate of local NYC classes from only established schools in the area. From kickboxing to professional makeup artistry. CourseHorse’s database offers a range of courses, allowing you to sort classes by topic, day, and time. For those who would like to try a class before purchasing, CourseHorse has also begun to offer one class free trials to their users.

What Does this Trend Mean for the Future of Education?

These platforms will only continue to expand and are poised to revolutionize education when it comes to individuals seeking new skills and hoping to learn and grow from their peers. However, for those that are pursuing education for the purpose of employment, I believe that these types of platforms are far from replacing formal education gained at an accredited institution. As we discussed in our post on work experience vs. a 4 year degree, in the eyes of employers, a credential is still key. But with the growth of accessible and affordable education, will this always be the case? That remains to be seen in the coming years.