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November 21, 2013 / carlispina

Learn (or Teach) a New Skill with Curious

Curious logoWith the increased ease with which anyone can create and upload videos to the internet, there has been a rapid increase in the availability of video tutorials on a wide range of topics. If you go to YouTube, you can find tutorials on all sorts of skills from cooking to computer coding. But, Curious is a new platform that aims to offer new ways for teachers to share and monetize these lessons.

The platform offers video lessons on a huge number of topics from languages to computer programming to sports and dancing. When the platform first debuted, Curious provided support for each and every one of their teachers, but now they have opened the platform to anyone who wishes to use it. While this may mean that the quality of lessons will decline, they continue to offer teachers the options to become “Curious certified,” a process that requires that the teacher submit an example of an existing tutorial and some information about their experience. Lessons and courses by these teachers bear a special seal to allow users to select these specific lessons if they prefer. The platform itself allows teachers to create lessons, group them into courses and integrate quizzes, attachments and a discussion feature into their videos. Teachers have the option to offer courses for free or charge for them either on a lesson-by-lesson basis or as a bundled course. Teachers who opt to sell their lessons keep 70% of the revenue generated by their work with the rest going to Curious. Curious also allows teachers to sell other products, such as books associated with their lessons, which the company’s leadership believes will lead teachers to offer lessons for free.

From the student’s point of view, the site, and its related iOS app, offer a very usable and attractive experience. Users can view random courses via a spinner at the top of the page or they can navigate by the topic that they want to learn about. There is also a staff recommendations section where Curious can point more attention to courses that they have evaluated. While watching lessons, students have the option to post comments or ask questions of the professor. Once a student starts a course, it will appear in an “Enrolled Courses” section of the webpage while logged in. When you open an account, you are given 20 “coins”, which can be used to pay for lessons during your trial period. Since most lessons cost a single coin (which is equal to $1), this translates to approximately 20 lessons. You can also view an unlimited number of free lessons, though you will be prompted to create an account after just a few minutes of your first lesson.

Overall, Curious seems like an interesting service, though it is not clear that all lessons will be of a higher quality than those that can be found for free online. As more teachers opt to offer free lessons, its value might increase. Also, it is an interesting option for those who wish to use the platform, and the free advertising that can come with it, to offer and profit from lessons on virtually any topic.

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