type below and hit enter
I'm Kristi. I'm the artist behind At the Dot Design.
Read more about me
Have you been thinking about making a Skillshare class but aren’t quite sure how to get started? In this article I’m going to walk you through five tips to help you create an engaging Skillshare class your students will love.
While some people may tell you to write down the demographics of your audience to get to know them, I think that information has very little to do with truly getting to know your audience. Can the age, gender, and location of your audience be helpful, of course, but you know what’s better?
Asking them what they want to learn from you.
If you are struggling to come up with a topic for your class my number one suggestion is to ask your audience. If you have an email list or social media following (no matter how small) the easiest thing to do is pop a survey in your next email or a poll or question box in your Instagram Stories.
Even if only one person responds it’s a clue that will help you decide what your course can be. The other thing to think about is that there is always someone a few steps behind you who wants to learn from your experience. It’s really easy to let imposter syndrome slip in and convince you that you don’t have anything to teach, but you do. Think about the pain points you went through as you built your business or creative practice. How can you help others move more easily through those pain points?
You asked your audience what they want to learn from you and hopefully you received at least a few responses. Now is the time to brainstorm around their answers and create a huge list of possible topics to teach.
One way to do this is to create a word web. Write down one topic in the middle of a sheet of paper. Next, let your mind wander and jot down all of the thoughts that come to mind around that word. For example, let’s say your central word is block printing. When I let my mind wander I think of puzzle block prints, repeat pattern block prints, multi-color prints, multi-block prints, the list can go on and on.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how full you can make your page. You’ll be surprised how one thought leads to another and before you know it the time will be up and your page will be full. Once you’ve gone through the word web exercise take some time to look through everything you’ve written down and choose one topic that you want to build your class around.
You’ve picked a course topic for your Skillshare class, now you need to start drafting a course structure. You want the course to keep your audience engaged and you want to make sure that the information you are sharing is organized and thoughtfully designed.
Before I made my first Skillshare class I took the time to watch several classes from other teachers I admire. This helped me to understand what I liked and didn’t like about their courses. I took away those lessons and used them to help me design my own class.
Skillshare recommends that your lessons be short (usually less than 9 minutes). Creating short bite-sized lessons will help students grasp concepts progressively. It will also prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. Create an initial outline of your course then take the time to review it and think about whether your lessons have too many topics or concepts. Remember to gently walk your students through each lesson and let them build as the course progresses.
Within each section, it’s important to establish a consistent flow. Begin by introducing the main idea or objective of the section, providing a roadmap of what your students will learn. Then, systematically present the key points, supporting them with examples, stories, or case studies to enhance understanding. Remember to use subheadings or bullet points to break up text and make it visually appealing.
Try to keep a mix of video, images, audio clips, and other visuals throughout your lessons to keep students visually engaged. It’s also nice to incorporate stories and real human moments, don’t feel like each lesson needs to be perfect, your students will enjoy seeing a few mistakes.
I mentioned this briefly in the last section, but using a variety of video, image, and audio clips can help your class stand out. You don’t need to go crazy but think through how you want to film each lesson and try to mix things up. Here are a few different types of shots you can play with to make things more interesting:
Other types of media you can include in your lessons are:
Your first Skillshare class doesn’t need to include all of these interactive and multimedia ideas but try to incorporate a few of them. As you create more classes you can learn new skills and will get more comfortable adding different types of video and effects to your lessons.
There are lots of ways to promote your Skillshare class, I fully intend to write a future blog post that goes through a bunch of ideas. For now, the best way to promote your class to start is to leverage your email list and share your class on social media.
With social media, I recommend sharing your class information weekly. At first, that might feel like too much, but trust me only a small percentage of your followers will see these posts so you want to keep them consistent.
You can also ask family and friends to participate and share your class. I was so touched by the number of friends and family who took my course and shared it with others. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help.
When it comes to engaging with your students there are a few ways to get the ball rolling. You can use the Skillshare discussion section to write a little welcome note to your class. This lets them know you are here for them and gives you a chance to thank them for taking your class. Be sure to answer questions from students in a timely manner and if students submit class projects be sure to take the time to give them some feedback.
I hope these five ideas will help you along the way to creating your first Skillshare class. If you are creating your very first class it can feel like a big lift, but remember to take it one step at a time. When in doubt turn to the resources Skillshare provides to help teachers build successful classes, and if you can join the Skillshare Teach Challenge to help walk you through the process.