This post was made possible by Skillshare. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored. For more details, please read our disclaimer.
Learning anything is a battle against yourself.
Exclusive MakeUseOf offer: take as many premium classes on Skillshare over 3 months for just $0.99! Get the deal now.
As a self-learner, I am sure you will agree with what Skillshare student Matej Jan shared with the community.
He is a computer scientist who likes to lose himself in art. But it isn’t his wow-worthy pencil sketches that drew me to his story. It’s the way he is cutting a swathe through Skillshare with classes on productivity, social media marketing and perspective in drawing. He never took a single day of art school. But all the skills learned come together in his passion for pixel art.
So, ask yourself…
What’s your passion?
Is it simmering somewhere or have you gone off the boil?
In either case, with Skillshare you will find almost 7000 excuses to fire up the old flames again. Yes, I hear you. You don’t have time. Just give me 10 minutes. Five minutes to scan the words below, and another five to watch just one video from the more than 7000 available.
For your 10 minutes, we’ll hook you up with a discount on 3 months of access to Skillshare premium. You can sign up and learn all you want for $0.99.
What Is Skillshare?
Skillshare is a community of learners. It is also a community of wonderful teachers who can show you how to create monsters from ink blots or shoot photos from a helicopter. There are tons of Skillshare classes that costs you just $8/month. That’s less than what you pay for a haircut. But of course, you can get 3 months for $0.99 right now.
There are two great things about Skillshare.
First — you can pigeonhole a Skillshare class into the little slots of time that open up in the middle of a busy day. Offline access helps you take this learning anywhere. Try microlearning to wake up from any learning coma.
Second – every class on Skillshare is project based. The projects and community engagement with other students will help you soak up unfamiliar things in the context of the real world.
So, forget about that haircut. Sign-up for Skillshare and let’s dive into ten of the best courses.
1. Web Design
Class: Creating a Website to Build Your Online Brand (75 Minutes)
Do you have lots of content that is crying out for some Internet air? Do you have a business that needs more exposure? Do you have a hobby you want to show off to the world?
There is more than one reason to make your own website. Thanks to quick and clean website builders, you don’t need to have coding knowledge to build one from scratch. George Denison is a Squarespace team member and he takes you on a journey to build your first website in this free class.
You can apply the basics to any site but you’ll work along on Squarespace with the community. Start with a simple single-page site, and take that confidence into a few more pages and the beginnings of a full-fledged professional website.
- The value a site adds to your brand.
- Tips for optimizing templates, images, and content.
- Best practices for 5 essential site pages that become the core.
- Build your community with social promotion.
- Ways to grow your site over time.
A complete project to inspire you: ElisabethOlwen.com
2. Mobile Development
Class: Mobile App Prototyping — Designing Custom Interactions (50 Minutes)
Do you have a killer idea for a mobile app but don’t know how to present it? Do you want to move forward from wireframe mockups to interactive screen transitions that mimic a real app? Do you want to communicate better with your developers?
This class is useful for those with a basic familiarity of mobile app design. If you’re brand-new to prototyping or mobile app creating, try the Intro to Mobile App Design first.
- Learn the importance of prototyping.
- Get to know Framer with animation and events.
- Walkthrough a mobile app and learn common mobile usage patterns.
- Import your Sketch designs into Framer and finetune them.
- Pick up coding basics and its relation to high fidelity design.
A complete project to inspire you: FizzBuzz
3. Animation / GIFs
Class: Simple Character Animation (1 Hour)
Take this class if you have a natural interest in visuals in general and animation in particular. Even if you suck at drawing. Because even squiggles in motion can be charming, right?
This premium class on Skillshare is a good place to start your animation journey. It’s a hard skill to master, so designer Fraser Davidson starts you off with simple characters and turn them into animated GIFs. This course is a textbook lesson in the toughest aspect of animation – character animation.
It is also meant to be the take-off point for launching into other aspects of animation – like making your characters talk.
- Design simple characters in Adobe Illustrator.
- Bring your characters into After Effects to build your animation.
- Arrange your characters for simple motion and get them walking in a scene.
- Export your finished film as a GIF and share it on the web.
A complete project to inspire you: Moonwalk
Class: Make the Most of Instagram: Build Your Brand (26 Minutes)
Are you tired of being just one among the 500 million users? Do you want to stand out from the herd with a distinct photographic style? Or, you feel stuck and want to take Instagramming to the next level?
I am not sure if you can do it all in half an hour and eight videos but Gareth Pon has some powerful tips up his camera lens. One of South Africa’s top Instagrammers teaches you how to maximize your Instagram presence. You might not have realized how important the first nine photos can be for your profile. That’s the first tip that grabs attention.
Gareth also offers the valuable lessons we can glean from the feedback we get on our photos, and the type of interactions we can form through them.
- Perfect your profile picture and build your bio.
- Learn how to discover your own style and stay original.
- Use constraints to stay consistent in your style of posts.
- Subtle use of editing tools and filters to bring out the final mood of the photo.
- The importance of paying attention to who you follow.
A complete project to inspire you: Gareth Pon
5. Social Media
Class: Create A Great Social Media Strategy (1 Hour 57 Minutes)
This course is for you if you are in charge of running social media campaigns for a brand, artist, start up, or for yourself.
Most of the creative projects you do on Skillshare might end up on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social niche. You don’t need to be a brand manager or in public relations to understand and use social media tactics. It’s all about getting your message out there in the quickest way possible.
Julian Cole (Head of Communications Planning at BBDO) uses a Slideshare presentation on digital strategy as the whiteboard for this class. The premium course distills the simplicity from a topic that can seem complex.
- The six steps of an effective social media strategy.
- How to choose the right social media channel for your idea.
- Use your budget to decide on the paid social media channels to use.
- Check your ideas and decide the key performance indicators.
- How to present the breakdown of the campaign to the client.
A complete project to inspire you: Social Media Strategy for Mewe
Class: Calligraphy I: Writing in Classic Modern Script (1 Hour 47 Minutes)
There isn’t a reason to learn calligraphy except that you may just want to. However, you might be surprised with the uses you can put it to.
Calligraphy is an ancient art. In the age of digital fonts and death of cursive handwriting, calligraphy is alive and well. It is one hobby that won’t burn your pocket but can lead you to earn money from your creativity.
Even if you don’t get too many offers of styling invitations or typefaces, learning calligraphy can be instantly relaxing. Bryn Chernoff starts with the basics of developing your tools and ends with pointers on how to practice your script.
- Know the tools.
- Learn letter shapes, lines, and movements.
- Learn about constructing letterforms.
- Script and develop a style.
A complete project to inspire you: Vreeland’s Language
Class: Basics of Photoshop — Fundamentals for Beginners (1 Hour 18 Minutes)
If you are on a creative career track, learn Photoshop. If you are not a creative, learn Photoshop because everyone needs some image editing skills in this visual age. Or, for just designing your kitchen.
Photoshop is an industry standard software for graphic designers and photographers. It can be a career on its own. But Photoshop has so many uses that it looks good on anyone’s resume. With that in mind, you can expect a steep learning curve.
Don’t let that scare you away from at least clutching at the basics with this enjoyable series of lessons from Meg Lewis as she takes you through a mood board project.
With this class, it’s absolutely fine if you’ve never opened Photoshop before.
Key lesson takeaways:
- Learn about the Photoshop window and tools.
- Understand the difference between designing for web and print.
- Learn how to crop, resize, retouch your photos.
- Learn how to work with type and color.
- Create complete compositions.
A complete project to inspire you: Home Office Mood Board
Class: Wildlife Photography — Capturing Portraits of Your Favorite Animals (27 Minutes)
Enroll in this class if you love nature, animals, and photography in this order. And if you have the patience to mingle with the natural world.
You need good field skills to go with your photography skills. But it can be incredibly rewarding as you learn to live in the moment in the middle of nature. 21-year-old Finnish photographer Konsta Punkka condenses his experience in a premium introductory course for capturing portraits of animals.
The first lesson on “whispering to animals’ is a unique tip you will find here. Be prepared to spend hours in nature for just one rewarding shot you can take back home.
Key lesson takeaways:
- Search for the right location for a day of shooting.
- Learn how to plan your day and time the perfect shot.
- Learn about camera equipment and settings to achieve the best shots.
- Learn how to gain the trust of squirrels, hummingbirds and foxes.
A complete project to inspire you: My little friends
Urban dwellers can head towards the Street Photography: Capture the Life of Your City premium class for capturing city life during the night or day with an iPhone.
Class: DIY Cinematography Secrets – Make Your Video Look Like a Movie (39 Min)
You don’t need fancy equipment, technical know-how or a large film crew. You just need to shoot with soul.
Ryan Booth is known for his documentary feature on The Revenant — a project personally supported by Oscar-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Just like the famed director, he holds natural light close to his project. The class takes you through the process of picking up any camera and turning a video shoot into a watchable piece of art.
Key lesson takeaways:
- Learn the jargon for aspiring filmmakers.
- How to use simple tools to exploit natural light.
- Learn how you can maximize your location.
A complete project to inspire you: Concrete candles
Class: Create a Perfect Morning Routine (34 Minutes)
This course is perfect for when you are struggling with your day and don’t know where to start.
Your day starts with the morning. We have seen a rash of articles on the web discussing the morning routines of movers and shakers – from Benjamin Franklin to Mark Zuckerberg. But the first few hours are something you should call your own and design accordingly.
This free Skillshare class by Jeff Finley could help you design one. Take the class and tell us in the comments how successful you have been with your morning routine and how did you get there.
Key lesson takeaways:
- How to wake up early.
- The learning routine you can do in the morning.
- Build your mind with journaling, self-affirmations, and gratitude.
- Find clarity and peace with meditation.
- The benefits of exercise.
A complete project to inspire you: Morning Routine of a Freelance Graphic Designer
Do You Learn in Your Micro-Moments?
Today, you have to teach yourself.
Thanks to Skillshare, you can get on top of any learning leviathan by taking small bites one lesson at a time. The video lessons may not be a complete education in themselves, but they give you enough to tingle your interest. Take a class, and if you don’t find the topic engrossing enough, move on to the next.
Remember, with Skillshare you are not paying for a single class…you are enrolling into a full cargo of learning choices.
Go ahead. Sharpen the skills that no one bothers telling you about. And tell us about your picks from the 7000 plus classes on offer.
Have you tried Skillshare? How have online learning videos helped to improve your skills? Would you like to teach a skill on Skillshare? Tell us in the comments.
If you haven’t, make sure to sign up for 3 months for just $0.99 right here!
Image credit: Shutterstock