Education industry as a whole is an evergreen industry to be in. It is an ever changing, ever growing sector that never seizes to make way for opportunities for constant improvement. Hence this is the industry one should definitely invest in. However, the unexpected pandemic has drifted the course of the whole education industry throughout the world. It is estimated that worldwide closure has affected over 70% of the total student population across the globe. Hence this situation has forced everyone into taking immediate and drastic measures by shifting the whole education system onto a virtual platform.
E-learning is the new black!
Online tutoring has been predicted to reach about $336.98 billion by 2026 by Syngene Research (2019 – even before pandemic). Hence it only makes it more concrete that this is a good choice for those who want to change their line of business or start a new business etc. The only difference between them is that traditional schools have dedicated buildings whereas here if you have internet connection it is more than enough. Apart from that everything else is more or less the same, except in a virtual class you will have to put in extra efforts to keep your students engaged as there is a lot of room for distractions.
But it also has its own perks. Them Being-
- Classes can be conducted at any given time
- There is no need for a fixed venue
- Anyone with a proper qualification can teach
- Anyone interested to learn can learn
These advantages you will not be able to reap in a traditional school system.
In this article let us see how to start online school step by step.
Step 1: Analyze your target audience
This is the stepping stone to building a robust online school. You will have to study and analyze your student base at the very beginning, even before you start planning your course material and development of the website. Depending on your student base only you will have to build your course work accordingly.
Once you get to know your audience, do your grounds work regarding your competitors? This is a great way to learn a few nuances on how to run an online school.
Step 2: Devise a business and revenue model
Now that you are aware of the student base and what is expected to be delivered by you, you need to carefully layout the business and revenue plans. Your business model should cover all the below pointers-
- Business summary
- Market overview
- Operational strategies
- Sales & Marketing strategies
- Proposed value of your products or services
- Organization & Management team frameworks
- Financial and Legal frameworks
Moving on to fabricate revenue model-
Given this is a trillion dollar industry you need to take utmost care while formulating a revue model. Here are a few models you can adopt in order to gain good monetary benefits.
- Make separate fee structure for one-on-one classes
- Provide the courses at no cost but charge for certification and course materials
- Charge membership fees or subscription fees
Step 3: Consolidate the course material
Now that you have an outline of how you want to run your online school, you can concentrate on consolidating the course material. You need to take into consideration your target audience for this. Every student is unique in their own way. And hence since it is impossible to tailor make one for each student you will have to study your target student base and then come to middle round by which you can decide on the course of your study materials.
You need to keep in mind-
- Age of the students
- Their qualification
- Their aim or what are they looking for in the online course etc
Your educational goals should be defined SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Segregate your course material into multiple modules and chalk out goals for each. Each module must add value to the ones before. There should be a natural progression with each section building on top of the last one.
Once your business plan and course outline is finalized you need to execute it efficiently. There are too many processes to be handled and you will need an equally robust learning management system (LMS) to deal with it. This will take care of all the tasks like managing multiple systems, course materials, content libraries, audio and video files, class schedules, and everything else.
Step 4: Develop your own virtual platform
Though this might seem like the toughest part of the process, on the contrary this is the simplest part of setting up the online school. Opposite to popular belief that one should be aware of technology like the back of his palm if they are going to start a business in those lines, it is enough for you to just know how to navigate and handle your website and manage the operations.
There are two ways of developing a website –
- Developing it from scratch or
- Purchasing a ready-made script or software (turnkey solution)
Many providers like the LiveLearn Varsity Tutors, SmartSchool, Pinlearn etc. provide you with the necessary and feature rich software which will help you build yourself an empire. This is our recommendation too as it will decrease the expenditure of your money and time considerably. The features to look out for are-
- Video streaming and calling facility
- In-built virtual writing board software
- Document sharing facility
- Notification Alerts
- Progress Analyser and Tracker
- Class scheduler
- Payment gateways
- Dashboards exclusively for admin, tutors and students
- Review and Rating options
to name a few.
Step 5: Engage your students
There are three ways in which you can impart your school training.
- Synchronous tutoring: This is where both the tutor and the student have to be online at the same time.
- Asynchronous tutoring: The tutor and the student don’t necessarily have to be online at the same point in time. The tutor can email or upload the course material and students can access them whenever they can.
- Combination tutoring: Online tutoring is not limited to just one type. You can take the best of both worlds- Synchronous and Asynchronous tutoring methods and come up with a new model too.
Apart from these usual methods, you will have to think of something out of the box in order to hold your audience attention through the virtual platform. You could try some of the below to begin with. Once you get a hang of it, you can invent your own methods too.
- Invite guest lecturers
- Give group projects and assignments
- Use PPTs and colorful animations
- Conduct pop-quiz, group discussions, debates etc
Also, use tools such as google analytics to track the progress of your students and the course in general. This will help you in revising or reworking on any erroneous processes there might be.
Step 6: Market your online school
Post striving so much to build your online school, you need to catch the eyes of the right audience in order to acquire the amount of traffic to get your platform the required ranking on the SERPs. Given the reach of the World Wide Web one can make optimum usage of the resources it provides and promote them.
Here are some of the means which you can use for your marketing purposes.
- Social media marketing: Eg- facebook, twitter
- Multimedia marketing: Eg- google ads, pay per click
- Content marketing: Eg- email marketing, newsletters
- Influencer marketing
- SEO technique etc
Being in the education field is a profitable business without a single doubt. But it needs to be managed very proficiently since there is always room for changes and improvements. You need to be up to speed with technological updates, tutoring methods, course materials and many others. If you require any assistance with any of the above mentioned steps or anything related to online schooling we are always available to guide you through.