ould you believe how much education has changed in just the past decade? We've gone from boring classrooms and heavy textbooks to the wild and wacky world of online learning.
Now, let me ask you this - have you ever found yourself nodding off in class or struggling to keep up with the pace of your lessons? Yeah, me too.
But with online learning, you can learn at your own pace, in your PJs, and even while snacking on some chips. It's the ultimate multitasking dream! And as expected, many education entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, the online learning market is estimated to be valued at about $166 billion in 2023, with even more growth expected in the coming years.
And we have some edtech startups to thank for that. These modern online academies are leveraging gamification, artificial intelligence, and Virtual Reality to take learning to the next level.
At EducateMe, we're all about introducing you to these digital revolutionaries that are shaking things up. We'll also share some of their founders’ insights and business model.
Let us look at some modern academies and the lessons to inspire your tutoring business ideas.
Flux Academy is an online school for people who want to learn web design. It is a creative academy with UX design, Web design, and landing page design courses. Ran Segall founded the academy with a mission to help web designers around the globe make a great living from their creativity and passion.
He created Flux Academy after successfully running a YouTube series where he posts videos on Web design and web flow. The Flux Academy YouTube page now has about 587,000 subscribers and is regarded as one of the top places to learn web design. Self-taught learners can watch videos by experienced freelance Web designers on the platform to sharpen their web skills.
Pioneering as Both Tutor and Digital Academy Creator
The Flux Academy founder demonstrates that individuals can excel as tutors and digital academy founders, shaping the educational landscape and creating opportunities for knowledge dissemination and skill acquisition within their industries.
Capitalizing on Video Lessons and Accessible Platforms
The effectiveness of video lessons on free platforms like YouTube highlights the potential to reach wider audiences and transcend geographical limitations, fostering a global learning community and driving innovation across industries.
Flux Academy has a 4.7 star rating on TrustPilot. Here are some reviews.
Level C is an online academy that teaches branding and business strategy courses. The platform employs a cohort-based model where learners collaborate to take lessons. The courses are divided into Masterclasses, Artisanal workshops, and interactive cohorts.
The co-founders Marty Nieumeier and Andy Starr make a series of modules of academic presentations to the class.
The class applies this knowledge in group task presentations and exercises. During these presentations, the tutors comment on and critique the work done in real-time. The trainee gets a branding certification from the platform at the end course.
Collaborative Learning for Effective Branding Education
Emphasizing collaboration in Level C learning is crucial, as branding success requires a team effort. Adopting a collaborative approach to teaching fosters an environment where learners exchange ideas and develop a comprehensive understanding of branding, allowing them to excel in the field.
Advancing Education with Cohort-Based Learning
Cohort-based learning is a distinctive methodology that enhances student engagement and fosters proactive problem-solving. Incorporating this approach alongside one-on-one coaching stimulates learners to devise creative solutions through collaboration, promoting critical thinking, adaptability, and communication skills in the branding landscape.
Outschool is an innovative online platform focusing on kids between the ages of 4 and 18. Outschool was created in 2017 to cater to this unique set of users. Its founders, Amir Nathoo, Mikhail Seregine, and Nick Grundy, aimed to provide students a unique and entertaining experience outside the traditional classrooms.
The platform introduces a fun element to learning. For instance, a student can learn Architecture through the Minecraft game. Using integration apps like Zoom, students can interact better with tutors. Outschool has different learning formats, such as live online classes and flexible schedule classes for self-paced learning. Students can also choose the duration of courses like short courses, One-Time classes, semester courses, etc.
The platform has over 10,000 tutors teaching over one million students in over 200 countries. chelps parents to teach their toddlers' practical tips and lessons available on the platform. The pricing model depends on the tutor, the course, and the duration. For instance, an algebra tutor may charge $15 per lesson.
Creating a Fun Learning Experience: The Power of Gamification
Gone are the days when education had to be dull and boring. Today, we can create a fun learning experience that inspires and engages students. According to Amir Nathoo, one of the founders of Outschool, they are wary of the platform becoming too test-based. Instead, they aim to encourage a fun learning experience. This is an important nugget for anyone interested in developing an e-learning app or platform. By integrating gamification features into courses, you can make learning more engaging and enjoyable. Gamification can help students stay motivated, track their progress, and earn rewards for their achievements. It can also provide a competitive element, encouraging students to strive for excellence.
Student-Driven Learning: The Benefits of Personalization
Traditional education has often taken a one-size-fits-all approach, with little consideration for individual learning styles or preferences. However, the future of education is student-driven, with a focus on personalization and customization. To achieve this, we need to make students choose their method of learning. It means introducing various learning durations to suit each student. This is an important nugget for anyone interested in developing an e-learning app or platform. By providing students with the ability to choose their own learning path, you can create a more personalized and engaging learning experience. Students can move at their own pace, focus on their strengths, and receive targeted support where needed. This can help boost student engagement and achievement.
Outschool has a 4.6 rating out of 2105 reviews of the Trust pilot.
This online learning platform facilitates learning through quick quizzes for students to test their knowledge of what they learned. Quizizz stands out due to its gamification feature, giving students an engaging experience. Tutors can create a quiz from the lessons students are willing to participate in. There are also pre-set quizzes on the platform.
The platform came on board in 2015 with Ankit Gupta and Deepak Cheenath as founders. They discovered that quizzes had become boring and routine for students. They creatively integrated gaming with the quizzes to make them more exciting.
Motivating Every Student to Mastery
We knew that traditional methods of assessment and instruction were not enough to engage and inspire today's learners. It was important to create a platform that was more than just gamified quizzes. One that was comprehensive and adaptive, that met the needs of every student, and that helped them achieve their full potential. And that's exactly what we did!
From Remedial Math to Global Education Technology
We saw firsthand the challenges that students faced in traditional classrooms, and we knew that we could do better. Educational platforms should manifest a tech-inspired design that engages and motivates students, makes learning fun and interactive, and helps learners achieve mastery in their disciplines, no matter where they are.
Out of 491 reviews, Capterra scored Quizizz a high 4.8
GoStudent was founded in Vienna by Felix Ohswald and Gregor Muller. In 2021 it became the first European unicorn edtech startup valued at about €3 billion.
According to Ohswald, in 2015, when he was rounding up his Master's Degree, he started helping his younger brother, Moritz, with his math assignment, and before long, his brother began referring others to him. He realized that the students were not enjoying the traditional teaching method, so the educational business idea came to him to build a platform to make the best teachers available to students anywhere they are.
The GoStudent platform provides an avenue for one-on-one video-based learning for primary and college students. GoStudent analyzes a student's educational needs and deficiencies and matches them with a suitable tutor. Upon matching the student with the tutor, the tutor prepares a custom learning program for the student based on the subject curriculum. In essence, GoStudent gives each student a unique experience.
The Key to Starting an Educational Business
The world is full of problems, and every problem is an opportunity for a budding entrepreneur to make a difference. As the founders of GoStudent discovered, even something as simple as a homework chat can become a global education solution. The key to starting a successful educational business is to be inspired by the needs around you. Look at the problems that people face every day and ask yourself how you can help solve them through education.
The Power of One-on-One Teaching
One of the key lessons that can be learned from GoStudent's success is the demand for one-on-one teaching. While cohort-based learning platforms and MOOCs are popular, there is still a strong demand for personalized, one-on-one teaching. As an entrepreneur in the education space, it's important to consider incorporating a one-on-one feature into your platform to cater to every user. This can help you stand out in a crowded market and provide a unique value proposition that sets you apart from the competition. Additionally, one-on-one teaching can be a highly effective way to help students achieve their goals, build relationships, and foster a sense of accountability and commitment to their studies.
GoStudent enjoys a 4.5-star rating on TrustPilot. Let's see a couple of reviews by users.
Duolingo has revolutionized language learning and enjoys the status of being one of the top educational business names. Over 500 million people use the platform to learn and master English, Spanish, and Native American languages. The platform was founded in 2011 when Professor of Computer Science, Luis von Ahn and his grad student, Severin Hacker, decided to build an app to make learning languages fun.
The platform began with a B2B model where the app founders translated text from English into other languages for businesses. However, this business model limited the revenue growth of the business.
Subsequently, the education business model became directed at the users using the app for free. To drive revenue, the founders created a paid proficiency test feature where a user can test his mastery of a language for just $49. This proficiency test is like the TOEFL test required by most US universities for international students. It consists of listening, speaking, and reading tests. Over 4000 global institutions, including Yale University, now accept the Duolingo test rather than TOEFL and IELTS. The Duolingo test is noticeably cheaper and lasts for just one hour.
The Power of a Free Model
Duolingo, one of the most popular language learning platforms, owes much of its success to its free model. Unlike competitors like Rosetta Stone, which charge high fees for access to their courses, Duolingo is completely free to use. This has helped the platform attract a massive user base from all over the world. While Duolingo does offer a subscription model, less than 3% of its users are paid subscribers. The majority of its revenue comes from paid ads and test fees. As an entrepreneur in the edtech space, offering a free model can be a powerful way to attract users and build a loyal customer base.
Making Learning Fun
The success of Duolingo's gamification strategy has shown that adding gaming elements to an education platform can be a powerful way to motivate learners and make learning more enjoyable. As an entrepreneur in the education space, incorporating gamification into your platform can be a great way to differentiate yourself from competitors and provide a unique value proposition to your users.
Duolingo has a 4.5 rating on the Google Play Store, meaning many users recommend it. Here are a few of the reviews.
Coachhub is a learning platform built for corporate training and employee upskilling. Coachhub helps with talent development by matching an expert mentor with an employee. With this model, companies can scale and measure the performance of employees. Employee development is a major reason employees stay longer at a job.
The founders, brothers Matti Nielbelschuetz and Yannis Nielbelschuetz, had cognate experience in the startup industry, having begun successful startups before Coachhub. The founders based the educational business on making employees feel valued and important to the business.
Coachhub has over 3500 certified coaches in 90 countries comprising courses in over 60 languages. Learners can chat with their tutors 24/7 and have access to supplemental materials to aid their learning on the platform.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Corporate Training
Artificial intelligence is changing the landscape of corporate training, and companies like Coachhub are leading the way. Coachhub uses AI to match learners with three suitable coaches who can help them meet their needs. The founders believe that providing employees with ongoing training and development opportunities that help them stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices is paramount to organizational scale. By leveraging AI to personalize the learning experience, companies can ensure that their employees are getting the training they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
Juni Learning is one edtech company to develop young minds for the future. The learning platform focuses on students between the ages of 7 and 18. The platform has Math, coding, algebra, and English courses. The platform works by pairing students with students from top universities to facilitate learning.
Juni Learning was founded in 2017 by two women, Vivian Shen, and Ruby Lee. The former had a stint as a software engineer at Google and is the CEO, while Ruby Lee is the CTO. The founders were driven by their dissatisfaction when they were computer science students at Stanford. They sought to make learning computer science fun and project-oriented for learners.
The Importance of Finding Your Niche
One of the key lessons from Juni Learning's founders is the importance of finding your niche. Initially, Juni Learning only focused on STEM subjects like computer science and math, which are areas where the founders had expertise. By focusing on their strengths and building interest in these subjects, Juni Learning was able to establish itself as a leader in the education space.
This approach has important implications for entrepreneurs in the education industry. By finding your niche and focusing on what you do best, you can build a strong brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field. It can also help to attract customers and build a loyal following.
The Role of Trust in Learning
Pairing a student with one tutor helps to build trust and creates a relaxed learning environment. This approach is especially important for courses that require detailed learning and individualized learning plans.
The success of Juni Learning's one-on-one approach has shown that personalized learning is the future of education. By offering highly customized learning experiences, platforms like Juni Learning are able to meet the unique needs of each student and help them achieve their goals more effectively. This is really one of the potential ways to revolutionize the education industry and help learners around the world upgrade their skill-set.
Juni Learning has a 4.7-star rating on the Trust Pilot review site. Let's see some reviews.
Guild Education is on the opposite spectrum of K-12 learning platforms, specifically for professionals seeking additional skills. It is also a platform for L&D teams to onboard new team members. Adults looking for a career change can learn new skills from scratch to help them cross over to a new field.
The edtech platform was founded in 2015 by the trio of Brittany Stich, Chris Romer, and Rachel Carlson. The founders saw an opportunity in working-class Americans with no college degree but willing to earn one. Guild Education makes it possible for these workers to develop themselves in their career paths and earn a college degree to boost their resumes. The platform collaborates with degree-awarding universities to award these degrees.
The company is very profitable and earned about $80 million yearly within three years of starting. After its billion-dollar valuation in 2019, it earned unicorn status.
Niching Down to Industry Specifics
Guild Education's founders recognized the need for workers to upskill and earn degrees from accredited universities. By tapping into this niche market, they were able to create a successful edtech firm that is helping to bridge the gap between education and employment. This approach has important implications for entrepreneurs in the education industry. By identifying a specific need or problem and focusing on it, you can create a product or service that meets the unique needs of your target market. This can help to differentiate your business from competitors and build a loyal following.
Thinking Outside the Box
Guild Education's success can also be attributed to its unique revenue generation model. Instead of students paying for tuition out of their own pockets, the company partners with employers looking to upskill their employees. It allowed the company to generate revenue while also helping employers to develop a more skilled workforce. This revenue generation model is a great example of how edtech firms can think outside the box and create innovative solutions to common problems in the education industry. By finding creative ways to generate revenue, entrepreneurs can build sustainable businesses that have a positive impact on the world.
Nearpod combines immersive learning through Augmented Reality, interactive learning, and gamification to give students a different learning experience. Nearpod is disrupting online learning with its use of technology. Tutors on Nearpod are provided with tools to make their courses multimedia-friendly instead of just text-based. Tutors can add videos, games, graphics, photos, and audio to enhance their lessons.
Founded in 2012 by three Argentines, Guido Kovalskys, Felipe Sommer, and Emiliano Abramzon. The founders believed in the impact of technology on education, which informed their decision to make the platform have cross-platform abilities.
Nearpod's unique value proposition makes it popular among K-12 teachers. Through word-of-mouth marketing, the platform is used by over a million teachers and has about 3 million students on the platform daily.
At first, Nearpod is free to use for both students and tutors. But after those tutors become fans of the platform, Nearpod sells them licenses for their programs. Interestingly this monetization model has been very effective. The subscription for Nearpod begins at $159/year.
Making Learning Available Anytime, Anywhere
Nearpod's founders see the importance of accessibility. According to them, mobile accessibility is a key factor of their growth. Having a mobile version of their solution has helped the company to reach a wider audience and make learning more convenient for students and teachers alike. This has important implications for entrepreneurs in the education industry. By making your platform accessible and easy to use, you can attract more users and build a loyal following.
The Art of Monetization
How about your monetization strategy? Nearpod initially offered a free version of the platform, which allowed it to build a user base and establish itself in the market. Later, it introduced a paid version that offered additional features and functionality. The SaaS business model helped the company to generate revenue while also providing value to its users. To succeed with your monetization model, it is important to offer a platform addressing the different payment options for users. This can help to attract paying customers and build a sustainable business model over time.
On Capterra, Nearpod has a 4.7 star rating out of 160 reviews. Here is one of them.
At EducateMe, we have established ourselves as a preeminent host and platform for a plethora of contemporary schools. Through our extensive experience in cohort-based learning, we have identified a marked shift towards cohort-based learning even among those who initially championed self-paced learning, with many now launching their first cohorts. This ongoing experimentation and refinement underscores the evolution of the industry, as educators strive to deliver the most optimal and immersive learning experience possible.
Roman Shauk, our founder, is fervently committed to the mission of increasing students’ success rates through technology. This passion originated from his firsthand experience with the inadequacy of conventional teaching methods during his tenure at the university. As a result, he was spurred to develop EducateMe, a platform replete with state-of-the-art resources aimed at fostering pedagogical creativity and effectively selling courses to an international clientele.
Reimagining What Learning Can Be
Roman Shauk recognizes that the future of education belongs to the people of tomorrow, who have yet to come. To prepare for that future, we must reimagine what education can be. It must be agile, market-oriented, humane, and integrated into our daily lives.
A Platform for Learner Freedom
Educators platform that gives learners the freedom to develop their own style of learning. It should offer a steady stream of new ideas, use new key performance indicators to measure efficacy, and provide a bridge between educational institutions and top companies.
Embracing New Technologies and Innovative Approaches
By embracing new technologies and innovative approaches, we can create a better learning experience for everyone. This experience should also provide academies with access to a network of experts who can aid in growing their brands’ educational offerings. By inspiring a fresh breed of forward-thinking entrepreneurs to follow their passions and change the world, we can create groundbreaking educational programs that meet the needs of the future learners.
The above edtech firms are just a few wave-making firms in the industry. They have scaled rapidly with innovative ideas and workable solutions and enjoy prominence among users. You can take inspiration from some of their disruptive ideas to make your educational business ideas a reality. From some of the profiles of the founders, you don't have to be an educator to thrive. Also, creating a niche is a useful business idea for teachers to leverage.