Build great skills courses

Teaching doesn't have to suck

Hi there! I'm Kieran, a geek professor. I teach geek things, like programming, and website stuff.

Me in 2004: Teaching is so depressing. Students don't get the simplest things. What a waste of time. Feeling a little guilty, too. What if I'm part of the problem?
15-year training montage (Rocky music: do, do do do, doo do, do do doooo). Studying learning research. Designing new teaching work flows. Writing software to make the work flows work, and flow. Trying it. Improving. Trying it. Improving...
Me in 2019: Teaching doesn't suck. It's even kinda fun! Students actually learn how to do stuff. They see their time and money are well-spent. The teaching work flow is a well-oiled machine, that just runs. Ah! Life is good.

This website is about the software I made. It's called Skilling. It works well for me. Students love the courses I make with Skilling.

If you want to make cool courses, check it out. Reach out to me at if you have suggestions, questions, or good computer jokes.

Make websites for flipped and online skills courses

Skilling is open-source software for making and running skills courses. Skills are things like programming, auditing, and mathematics.

To make a good skills course, you need to think about tasks, content, and relationships.

Skilling helps you create effective courses

Here are some aspects of a good skills course. Skilling can help with all of them.

Prior knowledge

New learning builds on existing knowledge. Activating existing knowledge at the start of a lesson improves memory of new knowledge.



Schemas are patterns that help solve problems. They're central to human expertise. Skilling helps authors make schemas explicit.



Thinking about what you have just learned can yield new insights.


Personal formative feedback

Feedback can be more than a grade. It can be a list of things to improve. It can be personal. Skilling makes this practical at scale.


Worked-example effect

Worked examples are particularly helpful when learning skills. Skilling helps authors make worked examples with characters, annotations, and more.


Different needs

Skilling lets authors vary content according to student attributes (e.g., disability status), student progress, which campus they're on... anything you can record data about.


Help students keep up

Students sometimes fall so far behind that it's impossible to catch up. Skilling has a course timeline on every screen, and an emoji reacting to student progress.


Design for assessment

Often, the core of a Skilling course is a sequence of hands-on exercises. Each one has a rubric. Authors can design courses around exercises, and their assessment.


Personal engagement

Usually, instructors are responsible for all aspects of a course. Skilling breaks that up, with authors responsible for content, and graders responsible for feedback. That leaves instructors free to focus on students.


A course can use Skilling along with other software.

Skilling fits with how universities operate

Unbundling instruction

Skilling unbundles instruction into different roles. This helps you make the best use of high- and low-cost personnel.



Skilling helps you adapt to changing demand for skills courses.



Skilling websites can reflect your brand.


Open to inspection

Skilling helps you give accreditors and clients what they are looking for.


Cost to students

Universities can give students access for free, or at low cost. Commercial trainers can price courses between cheap-but-ineffective narrated PowerPoints, and expensive face-to-face classes


Course assessment

Skilling gathers a lot of data about student behavior and performance. Authors can use the data to improve courses over time.


Solid technology


Protection against XSS, CSRF, URL guessing, SQL injection, and other attacks.



Protects student data from unauthorized access.



Skilling is designed for WCAG 2 accessibility standards, and to comply with section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act.


Open source

Skilling is based on Drupal, a popular open source system. Code is open to inspection. And free.



Add in Drupal modules for forums, social media, you name it. Change the content, and the look-and-feel.



Skilling helps students make the best use of whatever screens they have available.


What now? Check out the demo. Read Building a course for a typical course design process.