If you have watched any YouTube video in the past few months, chances are that the YouTube channel making the video was sponsored by Skillshare. Skillshare is an online platform with tutorials and classes on a myriad of different fields, such as animation, productivity, knitting, drawing and more. Another appeal of Skillshare is that you can not only access it through your computer or tablet but also through your phone, enabling you to watch/listen to lessons anywhere. There are many other websites that aim at virtually the same thing: providing guidance to develop hobbies and life skills from the comfort of your home or wherever you wish to follow the classes.
A downside of these online learning platforms is that if you are not constant and do not follow the courses regularly, they may be useless, as it is easy to forget something that you just learned about the day before if you have no previous experience of anything similar. Therefore, these platforms are an excellent way to force you to be more diligent, as well as give you the chance to learn something that you might have been interested in for years but never quite had the chance to pick up.
These platforms enable their users to learn such a broad variety of skills that it is quite easy to get lost in them. You may start a subscription with the intention of learning how to play guitar and instead end up following a class on how to lay cables,one on how to build aquariums and another one on how to become a professional juggler, only to drop all of them a few weeks later.
Of course, these platforms will not grant you the qualification of an expert in the field that you took a few classes on, but will definitely improve your knowledge and understanding of the skills you are interested in. The benefit of these platforms is precisely one of its drawbacks: that you are able to use them whenever, wherever. In the last paragraph I illustrated why it is a drawback, now I will do the opposite. It is a great strength of these platforms because unlike courses in real life, it is possible to adapt the courses to your own schedule, and not the other way around. For many people with jobs and families it is difficult to pursue new skills, therefore attending courses might not be a viable option for them. But thanks to platforms like Skillshare and the like they are still able to acquire new life skills or perfect ones they already had before.
The very wide variety of courses offered, in spite of possibly being disorienting, can also prove to be a great point in favor of these platforms. This especially applies to very organized individuals: with enough dedication and a good organization, they are able to go through several courses and achieve considerable progress in developing the skills they selected.
Personally, I do not think that they will take over the education system, as there needs to be a degree of contact between the students and the teachers. Especially for subjects pertaining to the field of the humanities, discussing the topics with other people (both peers and instructor) is necessary to better help the students develop critical thinking abilities. But it also applies to the natural sciences, social sciences and more.
As it might already be quite obvious, I am in favor of these platforms and find them to be of great help for anyone wanting to reinvent themselves, pick up a long-lost hobby/skill, or simply learn something new. However, this is only based on results I have learned about, not on personal experience. Nevertheless, I am very curious to try a few of the courses offered, as a supplement to education and life experience.