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“I make sure I practise four days a week,” says Anamika Radhakrishnan. The 35-year-old education consultant began learning to play the guitar during the lockdown in May last year, a decade after her first unsuccessful attempt. She’s using a Finnish music learning app called Yousician, where you can learn to play instruments like the guitar, piano, and ukulele. “I have a sporadic schedule, so practising online gives me the opportunity to continue at my own pace,” she says.

Over the last couple of years, people like Radhakrishnan have become the rule rather than the exception. Through the pandemic, the demand for creative learning has skyrocketed across the globe, as people stuck at home found respite in learning new skills.

In India, new online learning platforms focused on creative skills, like FrontRow FrontRow The Ken How FrontRow, Celebrity School, Unluclass can build India’s MasterClass Read more , Unlu, and BitClass, have popped up to cater to this demand. And in February, US-based giant Skillshare entered the country, looking to tap into India’s $15 billion edtech industry.

Founded in New York in 2010, Skillshare has more than 13 million registered users globally, to which it offers over 30,000 pre-recorded online classes across genres like arts, creativity, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and productivity. Classes can be from 30 minutes to five hours in duration but they’re all broken up into byte-sized lessons of five to 10 minutes. The platform allows anyone to sign up and teach a class, essentially making it a skills marketplace.

Skillshare, which has raised over $108 million in venture funding venture funding The Telegraph American e-learning platform Skillshare announces foray into Indian EdTech market Read more in total, is looking to expand globally. And India is one of its prime targets. “India is currently one of our top three markets outside of the US, with over 32 million minutes of learning in the last year accounting to 10% of our total,” says Aayur Kaul, the company’s India head.

While it’s largely a marketplace for courses, Skillshare has also partnered with over 1,000 creators in India, including illustrative designer Alicia Souza and Lilly Singh, a popular Canadian YouTuber of Indian origin. The company didn’t reveal how many registered users it has in India, but it’s trying to attract them with a disruptive price of Rs 1,788 ($23.5) per year for a Netflix-style all-access subscription. It’s banking on users wanting to keep upskilling or cross-skilling over time. For instance, someone taking a graphic design course might want to pick up related skills like animation, illustration, and typography.

In comparison, Indian competitors like FrontRow, Unlu, and BitClass charge anywhere between Rs 200 ($2.6) to Rs 3,000 ($40) for just one course.

AUTHOR

Arpit Arora

Formerly a researcher at CivicDataLab and Pratham Books, Arpit tried to understand and unravel the Indian education system as a statistician. Now he's doing that as a writer at The Ken, reporting on India’s $180 billion education market.

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