Number of the Day

The Self-Improvement Summer, by the Numbers

Rosetta Stone, MasterClass, and Coursera have seen a sudden surge in sign-ups during the pandemic

Marker Editors
Published in
2 min readAug 27, 2020


Marker # of the Day: 18 million — How many users joined Coursera since mid-March, a more than 400% increase over last year
Photo illustration, source: MR.Cole_Photographer/Moment/Getty Images

18 million: That’s how many users have joined the online learning platform Coursera since mid-March, a more than 400% increase over the same period last year, according to Inside Higher Ed. With sports, travel, and other forms of entertainment shut down, people have been signing up in droves to learn about everything from artificial intelligence to the “science of well-being.” Other online learning platforms saw a similar boost: Skillshare tripled its member sign-ups and recently closed a $66 million funding round. Meanwhile, the celebrity-guru-focused Masterclass, saw subscriptions surge tenfold over the average during parts of the pandemic, with subscribers spending twice as much time on the platform as they did before.

Another popular area of study? Foreign language. From April to June, Rosetta Stone saw 92% year-over-year growth in its consumer language segment. The language learning app Duolingo saw a similar increase, with new users spiking by 101% in March alone. We’ll all be ready when international travel is a thing again.

More people are even going for their MBAs online, even as the fall semester at many universities remains fraught. Harvard Business School Online has seen a 650% increase in enrollments between April and June compared to last year, while 20% of Harvard University’s first-year class chose to defer their admissions this year.

Turns out that for a lot of people, pandemic self-care looks a lot like self-improvement.