Democratic learning starters shine

New crowd-sourced learning US start-ups such as Skillshare and Codeacademy, focused on the concept of the ‘democratisation of learning’, are being tipped to continue their rapid growth as both consumers and organisations discover the benefits and breadth of the courses offered compared with more traditional content providers.

These new organisations aim to democratise learning by bringing it to the ‘community marketplace’. They offer online platforms that allow anyone to teach and share what they know, as well as learn whatever they would like.

Skillshare was top of the ‘Companies to watch in 2012′ list featured in Mashable Business earlier this year, a position reitereated only last month when it was described as one of ‘the hottest startups in New York’ by the same publication. Last month Skillshare announced new tools for sharing notes and asking questions. In 2011, Skillshare raised $3.1 million in a first round of venture financing, led by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital.

Less than a year old, Codecademy recently announced that it has raised a further $10 million round of venture financing led by Index Ventures and joined by Kleiner Perkins, Union Square Ventures, Yuri Milner and Richard Branson.When Codecademy recently launched a new initiative called Code Year, over 100,000 users signed up within 48 hours. The company was recently described by TNW as a ‘shining star’ in the “learn to code” movement,. It has been offering front-end technology courses on technologies such as JavaScript, jQuery, HTML and CSS since August of last year. Its has most recently launched Python courses to the public.

Authoring tool providers Articulate is also aligning itself with the democratisation fraternity. At the recent launch of Articulate Storyline , the company’s US-based VP of Community Tom Kuhlmann suggested that advances in technology are bringing about the ‘democratisation of e-learning’. Explained Kuhlmann, ‘In the same way that anyone can now make videos and put them onto sites such as YouTube, anyone can now create e-learning content using a tool like Storyline and make it available to others via social media channels’.


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