The first month of Skillshare’s engagement promotion wrapped in November, and while it’s still early in the process, we’re learning a lot from the teacher community!
Some teachers reported immediate, visible effects from their efforts in November, while others reported that their engagement strategy showed little results in terms of reactivating their students.
While not all teachers may see an immediate or obvious uptick in student activity, we’re still tracking how increased teacher engagement across our platform positively affects the Skillshare community overall. Skillshare’s engagement promotion continues in December and January, and we’re eager to share more data and insights once we have them.
In the meantime, we’d like to showcase a selection of innovative and successful strategies teachers tried across our community last month, grouped under some emerging themes. We hope this inspires other teachers for the next two months of the promotion, and beyond!
Want a Review? Just Ask!
Speaking of reviews, we know getting timely feedback from members on your teaching can be a slow process. But rather than asking for reviews from students in an emailed discussion post, some teachers reported that making a direct request in their project feedback was much more effective.
Teacher Messer Creations shared his story: “Among my Skillshare classes, I teach a series of classes focusing on drawing portraits. I have a handful of students that have been following along in the series, posting projects along the way. When one of these students posted a project in my latest class, How to Easily Draw a Portrait | Understanding Features & Proportions Part VI, in addition to my feedback I encouraged her to leave a review on the series for the community. Two hours later, she did. I feel like this is genuine engagement because she did everything that I would hope to see from a student. She submitted a project, got teacher feedback, and left a review of the fun she had.”
Other teachers shared that switching up their approach this time also drew results. Top Teacher Rose Nene mentioned that she always encourages students to leave a review, but felt her approach in previous classes was too subtle.
She wrote, “For my latest class, Product Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Props and Styling, I followed Skillshare’s recommendation to remind students to leave a review in my conclusion video. I was hesitant to try it at first because I thought I might sound pushy, but I am glad I did. In my final lesson, I dedicated the last 30 seconds to my ask: I showed a screen share of how to leave a review on the platform and told my students how it feels to read their reviews. I was shocked by the response: I received a review just a few hours after publishing! And it did not end there, the reviews kept coming. As a result, I feel more connected to my students, and it is really nice to know how they felt about the class.”
Share Discussions that Add Value
Discussions allow you to connect with your students and followers. And, it helps if you’re offering content that complements what you teach and is useful to where they are in their learning journey. Teacher Denise Love put it best: “I like discussions that add value. My followers both on and off Skillshare love these and respond much more than to posts that just announce a new class.”
Love mentioned she often shares lists of art supplies she likes, in addition to pointing to a class where she uses them in action. In November, Love tried a different approach: “I sent out a discussion that lists some of the classes I’ve enjoyed on Skillshare, and at the bottom of the post shared some of the classes I teach too. This post garnered lots of comments, and was a great way to give other Skillshare teachers some love.”
Similarly, Top Teacher Tracey Capone shared some valuable information about software in a post to her followers: “Rather than talking about my classes, I took the opportunity to engage my followers in a discussion about a recent software release, more specifically Version 2 of the Affinity software suite. I gave them my take on the updates, talked about what to consider when deciding to upgrade — plus I mentioned that my future classes will be in Version 2. Most of my followers are students from my Affinity classes, so it was the most well received, most engaged discussion I have had on Skillshare! I also gave a Tip of the Month and spotlighted student work, both of which were well received. It was really rewarding to try something different and have it resonate.”
Sharing enriching content can happen in a class discussion as well. Top Teacher Ewa Rosa shared, “This month, I had an inspired idea to simply share my favorite free resource: a Japanese book of wave and ripple designs that is available in the public domain. I started a new discussion in my class, Slow Drawing, Slow Living: Get in the Flow with Ocean Doodles, and I encouraged students to practice new wave designs by tracing the illustrations in the book. I was surprised when I saw people actually reacted to it, and a bunch of students thanked me for sharing the resource! Not only that, but I also noticed a spike in minutes watched for that day. It could have been a coincidence, but maybe some of my older students saw my email, visited my profile, and watched some of my other classes. All in all, this experience encouraged me to think about all the different helpful discussions I could start.”
Start Conversations to Learn — From Each Other
Students come to Skillshare to learn from an expert but many are also equally eager to contribute to our learning community. Teacher Jason Miller commented that this dialogue has mutual benefit, both powerful and rewarding, for both students and teachers alike. He shared, “Rather than watch the class and finish with unanswered questions, I sense students find it satisfying to have direct access to the teacher. In my class Create a Stunning, Detailed Logo for a Luxury Brand, a student wanted some suggestions on building their own library of resources safely and legally, and was seeking my help for finding professionally-curated sources. In my response, I was able to point the student to a specific lesson in another of my classes which answered their query in more depth.”
Likewise, several teachers shared experiences of involving their audience through discussions to help them figure out what they should teach next. In her class Realistic Illustrations Made Easy: Watercolor Bird & Florals, teacher Ezhil Aparajit asked students to help her choose her next class topic. She wrote, “It was highly effective as many of my students responded to the discussion; in fact, one of them opened a new discussion for all to participate in! It was an encouraging approach involving good responses and feedback from the participants.”
Teacher Smeaf Sculpts had a similar strategy and outcome with a discussion post to his followers. He added, “Within a day, more than 15 people have commented on my post with meaningful feedback and discussion. Seeing their responses helped me decide what my next class should focus on, in addition to what my students are struggling with.”
Make it a Feedback Loop
Giving project feedback was our most popular strategy last month, and when done right, can have ripple effects throughout a teacher’s other classes and touchpoints on Skillshare.
Top Teacher Kyle Aaron Parson shared, “Giving project feedback really helps connect me with my students and allows them to have a more catered experience.” While Parson consistently posts project feedback across all his classes, he went the extra mile in his latest class, Practical Graphic Design: Learn Adobe InDesign Through Fundamental Design Principles. Parson launched a giveaway to encourage project creation and reviews, posting feedback along the way. He shared, “In their reviews of the class, some students added they felt it was a great bonus to have constructive feedback alongside my lessons. I’ve also noticed these students taking my other classes after the giveaway ended too, sharing that they can’t wait for future classes.”
In addition to giving feedback in the Project Gallery, Parson gave shout-outs to his students when he announced the giveaway winners in a discussion post, highlighting standout projects in a custom, eye-catching graphic.
(We’ve got an extra shoutout for Kyle, who caught our eye (and at least one of his students) with his own take on the year-end wrap-up post with his followers.)
Shine a Light on an Older Class
Getting students to re-engage with you on Skillshare doesn’t require a huge effort. For some teachers, adding bonus content to an existing class sparked interest and new conversations. Teacher Lucie Duclos uploaded a short bonus video to her class Gel Prints and Patterns: Explore Monoprints + Mixed Media, and then announced the update in a discussion with her followers. She shared, “I got a huge spike in new students and minutes watched in that class. It was very effective — I am planning on adding another bonus video to another class in the next few weeks.”
Or don’t change the class at all! Top Teacher Silvia Ospina launched a giveaway to incentivize students to watch her existing classes and upload projects. But this time around, as she explains in her discussion post announcing the giveaway, she added a twist: “Instead of approaching the project in the usual way, I encouraged students to adapt the class project to an autumnal theme but using the same technique.” In her post she also included some additional tips for how to approach each of the projects in her classes, as well as some linked resources for those short on time.
Get Involved and Engaged
Skillshare’s engagement promotion continues in December 2022 and January 2023! Want to learn more about eligibility for this promotion and the best ways to engage? Read all about it in the Help Center, Engagement Promotion: Engage Your Students to Earn!
Teacher activity and feedback is helping Skillshare learn more about effective strategies for engagement for both teachers and members alike. Thank you to all teachers who took part in November — we look forward to having more of our teacher community participate in the coming months.