What Do People Want To Learn How To Do Online

Title graphic of “Top Life Skills People Want to Learn Online”

MasterClass’ Most Popular Online Learning Topics


If you aren’t already familiar, MasterClass1 is a company that hires experts in various fields to record video lessons that appeal to people who are interested in learning new skills. These video lessons can be purchased and watched on your own time. But this got us thinking! What kinds of skills do people want to learn most? In this campaign, we analyzed the online engagement of all 134 MasterClass videos (everything from cooking to graphic design, to pretty much anything else you can think of) in order to determine which skills are most desirable.

Thanks to the internet and modern technology, many of us have an endless supply of information within reach at all times. While this concept can come across as overwhelming, there are many benefits. For example, if you decide one day that you’d like to learn a new skill, sometimes all it takes to make that a reality is some free time, a bit of dedication, and the click of a few buttons. However, if you have all these things plus a little extra money to spend, you can join the millions of people who have begun signing up for the online video courses provided by MasterClass.

Table of Contents:


Grand Canyon University analyzed three engagement metrics across 134 MasterClass trailer videos on the MasterClass YouTube channel2 to determine which online learning topics are most popular. The three metrics we used were:

  1. Number of video views
  2. Number of likes
  3. Number of comments

We then calculated the average number of views, likes and comments for each online learning topic to create a ranked list of the MasterClass topics with the highest engagement.

Many of the MasterClass instructors aren’t just experts in their field, but celebrities that became famous by achieving great success in music, science, sports or whatever area of focus they’ve dedicated their life to. With so many popular names in the MasterClass instructor pool, we began to wonder which MasterClass instructors are the most popular across the U.S. We used Google Trends search data from the past 12 months and analyzed the search volume of each MasterClass instructor in order to find each state’s favorite.

Online Learning Topics Ranked by MasterClass Metrics

A chart displaying the MasterClass online learning courses with the most views, likes and comments

The most popular MasterClass topic (in terms of video views) is communications/sales, averaging over 11,000 views across all 134 MasterClass videos. With sales jobs in high demand (technology, healthcare and real estate industries), it makes sense that sales and communication topics would reign supreme for MasterClass video views. Sales training programs on platforms like Coursera or HubSpot Academy3 also continue to grow in popularity, serving millions of online students eager to grow their sales acumen.

The most popular MasterClass topic in terms of video likes is dance, averaging 6,583 likes, and the top MasterClass topic in terms of video comments is makeup, averaging 333 comments. In the MasterClass series, professional ballerina, Misty Copeland, gives novice dancers step-by-step dance tutorials, while makeup guru, Bobbi Brown, unlocks the secrets to feeling comfortable in your own skin. With these top names instructing the classes, it’s easy to see how dance and makeup topics earn high engagement!

A few topics span all three engagement categories (views, likes and comments). Out of all MasterClass learning topics, communications/sales, science, graphic design and personal growth all land within the top 10 for total views, likes and comments.

Top 25 MasterClasses Based on Online Engagement

Rank MasterClass Name Teacher Field/Topic Number of Views Number of Likes Number of Comments Total Engagement
1 Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation Chris Voss Sales 22,008,386 1,800 97 22,010,283
2 Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication Neil deGrasse Tyson Science 16,208,218 3,500 169 16,211,887
3 Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation Dr. Jane Goodall Science 8,687,115 2,300 128 8,689,543
4 Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration Chris Hadfield Science 7,542,004 2,000 131 7,544,135
5 Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation Jon Kabat-Zinn Personal Growth 4,968,351 1,700 112 4,970,163
6 Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training Brandon McMillan Dog Training 4,806,864 692 23 4,807,579
7 Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep Matthew Walker Science 4,441,282 1,800 92 4,443,174
8 Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing Margaret Atwood Writing 2,971,094 1,400 37 2,972,531
9 Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring Stephen Curry Sports/Fitness 2,704,645 35,000 330 2,739,975
10 Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar Carlos Santana Music 2,569,501 787 42 2,570,330
11 Nancy Cartwright Teaches Voice Acting Nancy Cartwright Acting 2,567,478 1,600 115 2,569,193
12 David Carson Teaches Graphic Design David Carson Graphic Design 2,367,260 2,000 103 2,369,363
13 Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership Bob Iger Business 2,160,460 431 22 2,160,913
14 Geno Auriemma Teaches Leading Winning Teams Geno Auriemma Sports/Fitness 2,044,474 759 37 2,045,270
15 Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design Kelly Wearstler Interior Design 2,022,986 586 13 2,023,585
16 Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination Amy Tan Writing 1,870,817 1,300 67 1,872,184
17 Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell Teach Rock Climbing Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell Recreation 1,848,986 692 40 1,849,718
18 Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking Timbaland Music 1,839,386 1,400 56 1,840,842
19 James Cameron Teaches Filmmaking James Cameron Film 1,801,279 23,000 665 1,824,944
20 Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing Salman Rushdie Writing 1,752,089 1,900 101 1,754,090
21 Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess Garry Kasparov Games 1,746,978 1,300 86 1,748,364
22 Paul Krugman Teaches Economics and Society Paul Krugman Economics 1,732,187 238 53 1,732,478
23 Metallica Teaches Being a Band Metallica Music 1,633,078 6,800 313 1,640,191
24 Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty Bobbi Brown Makeup 1,632,289 634 639 1,633,562
25 deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production deadmau5 Music 1,631,824 703 46 1,632,573


When we shift our focus over to the most popular MasterClass instructors (instead of topics), the results are arguably even more surprising. While we, once again, have a varying field of first-place finishers for the three separate categories, what matters most in this measure is the sum of all three category results. The instructors who received the most engagement might not be who you’d expect.

The number one overall instructor, with a total engagement score of over 22 million total views, is Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator and current host of a Negotiation Improvement MasterClass. This particular course falls under the communications umbrella. A lesser-known name like Chris Voss might seem like an odd number-one ranking when names like Margaret Atwood, Carlos Santana, and Stephen Curry are also in this top 25 ranking, but numbers don’t lie. With one of the most popular MasterClass courses, Chris Voss has definitely cut out his own slice of the MasterClass pie.

If we look at the subjects taught by the top 25 instructors, science and music were the most common, with four courses taught by four different instructors.

A chart displaying the most popular MasterClass instructor in each U.S. state

If you don’t care as much about overall MasterClass instructor popularity, but are curious about your state’s favorite instructor, we’ve got you covered. This chart shows even more household names, and if you look closely, you’ll see connections between some of the said names and the states that watched their videos the most.

For example, country music star Reba McEntire being number one in Alabama just makes sense, right? Or what about NBA superstar Stephen Curry being top-searched in California, the state he has played professional basketball in since 2009? Canada-bordering and very cold temperature states like Minnesota and Michigan, both looked up NHL legend Wayne Gretzky’s class more than any other state. Nevada residents searched Gordon Ramsay the most on MasterClass, which might have something to do with the five restaurants he owns and regularly visits in Las Vegas alone.

Closing Thoughts

Unfortunately, you can’t get a complete education out of just one or two video series, but Grand Canyon University (GCU) finds high value in learning beyond the classroom. Earning your degree doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Learn more about the wide variety of scholarships and other financial aid opportunities offered by GCU. With flexible online classes, you can earn your degree while incorporating relevant MasterClasses.

Retrieved from:

MasterClass in January 2022

MasterClass YouTube Channel in January 2022

HubSpot Academy, Best Sales Training Programs in January 2022

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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