Based on World Economic Forum, online learning has grown tremendously to 92 million students in 2021, doubling from 44 million in just 2 years.
So why not start an online education business?
|Pros of Online Education Business||Cons of Online Education Business|
|Flexibility of time||Difficult to make online/virtual learning engaging and the website easy to navigate|
|Time savings from traveling||Maintenance cost to hire people with technical skills|
|Scalable with pre-recordings for students to learn at their own pace||Constant updates to online programs are required to have relevant learning paths|
|Social entrepreneurship opportunity by helping poorer students||Bad ratings by students affect reputation as most online reviews cannot be removed|
|Cost savings from less setup, and venue costs||Competing against worldwide online schools and other online learning platforms|
The power of technology and the extent of dependency we have on it is something our ancestors would not have expected or fathomed in their lives. It allows us to be connected, regardless of where we are.
- Aspiring entrepreneurs can readily start businesses without having to lease a physical space for their stores;
- Online websites can be easily created with the click of a finger; Our documents and projects can be easily shared with and sent to our colleagues and classmates regardless of location or time zone.
- Technology can even be described as something that has the potential to create a level playing field for everyone, just like education, which plays a large role in our quest for equality.
During the pandemic, we have seen how lessons can still take place without much face-to-face interaction. Home-based Learning (HBL) or remote learning can still be effective and maybe even more helpful for some students whose schedules become a lot more freed up as they spend less time traveling to and fro. Taking education courses online may then seem more attractive for some students as well as adults seeking to upgrade their skills, and this may be beneficial to the person running the online education business.
But as with most other things, there will be both advantages and disadvantages. Although there are reduced costs from not having to pay for physical space and its maintenance fees, you’ll have to put in time and effort to learn how to create and organize a website that will attract people. You’ll also have to put time aside to source materials carefully and look for well-qualified employees to teach the courses you’re interested in offering. On top of that, you'll have to work on marketing to convince parents who firmly believe that in-person learning works best for their children.
Nonetheless, this article will serve to provide some pros and cons of starting an online education business, and hopefully, you will be able to make a better-informed decision for yourself.
Pros of Starting An Online Education Business
Firstly, like any online business, starting an education business online offers you flexibility in terms of time. Your schedule may be more freed up since you neither have to spend additional time traveling from place to place, nor spend extra money and energy to maintain a clean and conducive environment for your students and employees.
Such flexibility may also be a critical deciding factor for your potential students. Currently, many students have extremely packed schedules, attending lessons at school, followed by several extracurricular activities. Should they be interested in looking for additional classes to learn another skill or brush up on their current ones, it may be difficult for them to head down to a physical academy by a certain time.
Furthermore, such flexibility means that students can take lessons at their own pace, and this is important since all students are learning and absorbing information at different rates. He or she may be struggling in class, but attending online lessons, especially if you decide to offer pre-recorded lectures, can help the student learn at a comfortable pace. The flexibility gained from remote learning may therefore be a key consideration for potential students or their parents.
Next, with less time spent on transportation, you’ll also get to save more money. Starting an online education business can ease your financial burdens and you may be better able to sustain the business in the long run. Fees for leasing a physical store and the maintenance fees that come with it, such as air-conditioning, fans, furniture, and even their respective repairing fees, do not have to be considered.
Furthermore, you will not have to consider other expenses which include the purchase of backup stationery for your students, rewards to encourage them, and printing fees associated with hardcopy worksheets. As such, reduced costs for you as the owner can be passed down and translated into lower fees for your potential students, and these reduced prices may be yet another selling point of your online education business.
Most importantly, if you are passionate not only about entrepreneurship but also social equality and volunteering, then starting an online education business may be one business idea that you may wish to consider.
The pandemic has highlighted the plight of many lower-income families and has exposed structural inequalities in many communities. During the lockdown back in 2020, students from lower-income households struggled to find space in their cramped houses, let alone the electronic devices necessary for home-based learning (HBL). Many adults from lower-income households also faced the danger of retrenchment and now continue to worry about their skills becoming less relevant. It’s no surprise, then, that school and work have become a lot more challenging for them ever since the pandemic began.
Since then, many non-profit organizations (NPOs) have reached out to affected students and helped individuals from lower-income families by giving them access to technology and some electronic devices, helping them to become more prepared for the increased use of technology across the nation. Be it adults seeking to switch careers or children struggling with the use of technology that may not be the norm in their daily lives, these efforts help them in the long run.
Rapid technological advancements have undoubtedly played a huge role in allowing you to envision being the founder of an online education business in the first place. But many others have fallen behind because of the accelerating rate at which the world around them is changing. With this partnership, you can create a business that’s not only about education, but also one that’s working towards solving digital inequality. By helping everyone, regardless of their income or background, access the plethora of information online to use for their studies and skill upgrading, you’re not just an ordinary entrepreneur—you can become a social entrepreneur and use your online education business to address issues in your community.
Cons of Starting An Online Education Business
Although there has been much discussion about the many advantages and possible takeaways of starting an online education business, there are also some areas that you may find challenging.
To start, running an online business means you would have to learn how to make your website engaging and easy to navigate.
- With a good website, potential customers would have a first good impression of your business and course offerings. Materials and resources should be organized neatly and in a way that students can easily find what they need.
- The organization of the website and the way that the materials are being arranged and distributed will be key factors in parents’ decision-making, especially since most parents would already have the impression that online learning is not as productive as in-person learning.
- Of course, if you are already adept at creating websites, then this may not be a huge obstacle for you. But regardless, before you even begin brainstorming about the subjects you’d like to offer, the staff you wish to employ, or even the kind of materials you plan to teach, the first most important step for you to do is to put together a website that people will be attracted to.
Moreover, you must be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort updating the website and your materials regularly. You’ll also have to actively get feedback from your students regarding the arrangement of the materials, the ease of navigating the website, and even the school syllabus.
Constant checks and updates are required so that you can stay relevant to existing and potential students. Especially since it is an online business you are running, and given online businesses are relatively easy to start nowadays, such efforts are crucial to help your online courses stay attractive to your audience.
Another problem with the online education business is that bad reviews by students remain forever. A bad day between a student and an individual instructor or a technical issue with video quality could end up with an 1-star review in Facebook or Google. The bad review cannot be repaired since most websites do not allow owners to remove negative reviews.
Also, like any other tuition center or academy, you may run into some trouble with the students, and more likely with the parents of younger children, due to issues related to your materials or your qualifications. Parents may doubt the effectiveness of online learning and you may find it hard to convince them otherwise. As such, you’ll likely have to spend a lot of time arranging the credits for your materials—being clear and transparent to your students about the materials that you will be using in your online courses is a must. From the get-go, you should be discerning about any material you’re interested in using in your online courses since there is abundant information everywhere, be it online or offline. You should also be prepared to spend lots of time determining the credibility of the sources of your materials so that there will be no issues when you are passing down these resources to your students.
Next, marketing is almost a necessity if you decide to venture into this industry. Considering the lack of face-to-face interaction, building trust with the parents will be even more difficult. As such, you can tap on marketing to reach out to your audience and promote your business.
- But this means that you must be ready to fork out money, and you have to be patient to wait for business to come in since mindsets (their impressions about the effectiveness of online learning) are hard to change.
- The website organization also becomes even more critical for you to be able to grab the attention of potential students—on the website, you can include the various qualifications of your teaching staff, and this, in addition to the good organization and distribution of your resources, can help your online education business stand out even more.
- As mentioned above, people may be skeptical of online learning and your employees’ abilities, so these qualifications that you display and the materials that you source for your lessons become even more important criteria for them when deciding if they should attend your courses or send their children for your online classes.
Lastly, if you do decide to be at the helm of your business on your own without hiring any employees to help you with the sourcing of material and teaching, then you’ll have to be prepared for many tireless days. Starting any business is never easy but starting an education business may take a toll on you even more quickly if you are not passionate enough about teaching.
All in all, starting an online business is so much easier today. The rapid advancement of technology has helped us to access even more materials, and it has aided us in our shift to online businesses. Taking online courses has also become a more common sight, and therefore starting an online education business may be a good idea. But with that said, there are also some potential troubles and challenges that you may face along the way. Hopefully, this article has highlighted both the pros and cons and has helped you to be more certain of what you might face if you open an online education business. Wishing you all the best!