Business Ideas for 2021: Online Learning #StartUps - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Business Ideas for 2021: Online Learning #StartUps


Opportunities for Online Learning Businesses

Before you start your online learning business, it’s important to understand the market you’re entering into. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the sector is relatively new, given the recent attention it has been getting, but it is, in fact, pretty mature.

Learna, for example, was founded in 2010. Preply – which facilitates 1-on-1 tutoring – launched three years later, while Teacherly debuted in 2014, as did Minerva.

With that being said, there is still great potential for innovation in the market.

Imperial created Insendi in 2018 because it couldn’t find an existing service that met the Business School’s needs:

“We wanted to build a platform that was focused on enabling learning, rather than the administration of learning,” explains Imperial’s Leferve. “Insendi comprises a suite of learning activities that faculty organise into a sequence to form a course.”

Teacherly’s Mahmood started the company to harness the internet in a way that school’s previously hadn’t:

“As a former teacher myself,” Mahmood explains, “I saw first-hand how the working processes of teaching were extremely inefficient, with many of us often working in isolation on lesson plans and marking and so on, and rarely as one team.”

“At the same time,” he continues, “we have the added functionality of being able to deliver lessons remotely, in the same way that meetings can still be held through tools like Slack.”

So, when thinking about your new business, you should consider whether the same sort of tech is being offered by an existing company. What is it about your platform that is different from Zoom or Microsoft Teams, for example?

“One of the biggest advantages is that we can move and adapt quickly with the times,” explains Minerva’s Viney.

“We run after school clubs, such as film production, robotics, art, and debating, which inspire children to explore their creativity and develop a broad range of interests. From an operational perspective, we can launch new after school clubs (such as drama, coming in January 2021), far more easily than if we were a physical school.”

Finding your business’s niche is absolutely essential in this marketplace. It’s crowded, and there are likely hundreds of companies offering similar services – not only to your burgeoning business, but also to other, more established companies.

“We can’t offer more physical subjects like P.E. or Design & Technology,” explains Viney, “which rely heavily on coursework or practical examinations.”

However, with the rise in virtual exercise tools such as Peloton – or even online football coaching companies, such as MyPersonal Football Coach – there could be a gap in the market waiting to be filled.

You should also invest serious time into understanding the needs of your potential audience. Are they school children, are they university students, are they professionals looking for CPD tools, or are you going to be marketing directly to companies to train staff?

“High attrition rates are always a cause for concern for online learning, and are much greater than for residential education,” explains Learna’s Probert. “It’s often the human connection of face-to-face courses which retains students, and keeps them feeling part of the community.”

If you’re going to be marketing to university students, then, how can you facilitate their feeling part of a collective?

“Learners can also struggle with the discipline of self-directed online-learning,” she continues. If you’re going to be aiming your business at school children, how can you keep them using your platform rather than hopping on TikTok or YouTube?

Another potential pitfall lies simply within the world around us.

“Many traditional schools, understandably, have been less willing to embrace new technologies and methods, most likely due to fears that they threaten the teaching profession,” explains Viney.

As ever with new technology businesses, there is the problem of accessibility. While it might be second nature to most people to turn on a laptop and log into a Zoom meeting, it isn’t for everyone. Can your platform be used by people with hearing problems? What if they have sight issues? What if operating a computer is a challenge?

Plus, what if your target market – primary and secondary schools, for instance – includes people that don’t have a computer? What if they only have one PC in a household with four, five, or six people clamouring to use it?


December 31, 2020 at 07:11PM by Henry Williams, Khareem Sudlow