Use SkillShare To Learn Or Teach Anything You Want

06/14/2011 04:17 pm ET | Updated Aug 14, 2011

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to make beaded jewelry, blog for a living, play better poker or make great dumplings? Or are you someone who can already do these things, and you want to teach other people your secrets--and make some money while you're at it?

SkillShare is a new site that lets both interested learners and teachers get together to meet their goals, for just about anything people want to learn, or teach.

What it is: SkillShare is an online nexus for people to organize classes based on the skills they have and for other people to find classes for the skills they want to acquire. The range of classes is as wide as the people who want to get involved, and include programming, setting up a business, flirting, and playing the guitar.

"While it's great to learn multi-variable calculus or the economics of China during school," co-founder Michael Karnjanaprakorn told TechCrunch. "What about the other 99 percent of skills that will never see the light of day? By the time a college starts teaching 'Mastery in Online Community Management,' it will become so outdated and irrelevant. Traditional education will never catch up to the skills needed in the market today."

How it works: For those interested in taking a class, the process is easy. Just go to the site, browse the classes available in your city, sign up for the one that you want to take, and pay online using a credit card or PayPal account.

Everyone who believes they have something to teach can sign up to arrange a SkillShare class. Teachers just create a class, add a description, biography, and then outline the logistics of the class, including price, class size, time, date and location. Class sizes do not usually exceed 20, and tend to hover in the ten person range. The site recommends that teachers do not exceed 90 minutes per class, with a heavy practical component to the class structure.

SkillShare takes 15 percent of profits from the classes, which tend to range from about $10 to $50, depending on the skill being taught and the potential cost of materials required. While instructors must find their own venues, SkillShare is setting up a database of venues for future classes to simplify the process.

Why you'd use it: SkillShare's strength is in how effortless it makes the process of setting up and finding classes. Users can see who their teachers are, what their qualifications are, and pay directly on the site, rather than, say having to post on Craigslist for potentially spotty results. And unlike classes one might sign up for at a local college, the breadth of SkillShare's offerings spans the interests of those who want to learn how to cook Malaysian food to those looking to set up their own startup. As the site grows, it stands to reason that more and more options will become available.

For teachers, SkillShare helps people take an idea into reality by providing clear instructions for how to determine what their class will consist of, how large it should be, what sort of venue they should use, and even what class structure tends to work the best. It's the provision for such administrative headaches that will be a boon to anyone who has a skill to peddle, but lacks the organization and credibility to get going on their own.

How to get it: Just visit SkillShare's site.

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Watch a short video explaining the concept:

What is Skillshare? from Skillshare on Vimeo.

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