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Don’t want your brain to rot? CreativeLive makes it easier to continue your education

Above: CreativeLive's dancing experts teaching students how to swing.

Image Credit: CreativeLive Facebook

You could be harboring the talent of Annie Leibovitz or the creative prowess of Francis Ford Coppola and not even know it.

CreativeLive has scooped up $21.5 million to unleash the artist within you.

The online education portal features live streamed workshops from experts in photography, video and film, design, business, audio, music, software, and lifestyle.

“Education doesn’t stop after college,” CEO Mika Salmi told VentureBeat. “People’s lives and careers continually evolve and individuals are hungry to learn new skills. We saw that learning real skills in various creative fields was broken – it was hard to access, the teaching quality was spotty and overall student experience was poor. We believe being “creative” is an important part of any career or life.”

CreativeLive claims 2 million students from around the world have collectively watched more than 1 billion minutes of its skill-based education content. The library contains more than 500 courses from instructors, including Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times best-selling authors, Emmy nominees, and well-known founders and CEOs.

Anyone can join the courses, which range in price from free to a couple hundred dollars and run from one day to a month-long series.

CreativeLive’s goal is to make high-quality, continuing education more accessible to a wider audience.

Online education is taking off right now as people increasingly view the Internet as a way to further their learning outside of a traditional campus environment. The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has created an environment where anyone with an Internet connection can develop skills, whether its coding Python or wedding photography.

Continuing education is traditionally expensive and time-consuming, and companies such as Khan Academy, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, Lynda.com, and Curious all take a unique approach to making it cheaper and more convenient.

Khan Academy and Coursera partner with universities to make their content more available, while Udemy, Udacity, and Lynda.com are focused on technology, business, and corporate training. Curious connects teachers and students for online tutoring sessions.

For the most part, CreativeLive’s competitors don’t offer live classes. The videos and materials are stored, so students can learn at their own pace. While that is a more flexible option, it can feel less intimate.

CreativeLive aims to bridge the gap between isolated online learning and the experience of sitting in a classroom with an instructor and fellow students.

The Social + Capital Partnership led this round, with participation from Greylock Partners, which led CreativeLive’s $7.5 million Series A round in October 2012. It is based in San Francisco.

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