Until a couple of years ago, online education was an option for those looking for a convenient alternative to face-to-face learning. Nowadays it is a necessity for many and the pandemic has taken its toll in this matter, and since 2020 98% of US universities have switched to online learning. People from all corners of the world now want to gain new knowledge in a flexible and comfortable way without the necessity to physically attend classes. High demand concerns not only people who would like to educate themselves on the web but also those who would like to teach: either these are skilled professionals who have great experiences to share, teachers who had to leave their work, or feel there is the potential to launch an educational project. Online courses and webinars are already quite common practice, but online schools are gaining momentum. If you want to spread knowledge all over the world and decide to become an online school owner, we suggest you look through our guide to get to know all the ins and outs of launching an online school.
Reasons to create an online school
Though it may be quite obvious that it’s high time to start an online school because lots of services have switched to the online mode these days, we’d like to review all the aspects in more detail for you to discover the benefits you might not have considered.
Offline schools are aimed at students from certain areas, therefore the amount of those who can attend them is limited. Online schools allow teachers to reach a much wider audience in terms of the number of students and location. Students from any country may study in a web school and usually there is more space than in offline school as you don’t have to worry about the room capacity.
Comfortable learning and teaching process
Online schools can have several schedules for the students to choose from the most convenient ones. In turn, teachers get access to multiple features for comprehensive lesson creation including built-in media, references to online resources, and tests for progress tracking that are much easier to check due to automation. Apart from that, students may access educational materials whenever it is necessary, can have chats with teachers if they have questions which may significantly improve the learning effectiveness. If it’s not about live classes, teachers may record videos and don’t be physically present in every lesson that saves their time.
As we mentioned above, automation helps both teachers and students. For instance, students automatically access lessons and tests on multiple devices, and can use chats to get support whenever they need. Automation tools make it easy for the teachers to give feedback and grade students as well as make the necessary updates and send notifications when needed.
Compared to offline schools, online ones are much cheaper to launch as you don’t have to worry about many aspects, such as room rental and maintenance as well as taking care of the supply of online schools. Of course, you will have to make some investments to develop and maintain your online school’s online presence but there are many learning management systems you can use to save time and money. You just need to set everything up once, and then all you have to care about is updates and occasional bug fixes in case they appear.
Clear and simple monetization
When you start vlogging, for instance, it’s usually not clear at the beginning how you will exactly monetize your content. Online education allows you to easily get revenue from the knowledge you share. Depending on your school’s specificity you may choose among several monetization models allowing your students to access learning in the most convenient way. Furthermore, we’ll take a closer look at different business models you could use to monetize your online school.
Types of Online School Business Models
One of the most important steps you will have to take in the process of creating a successful online school is to choose its business model. How do you want to monetize your services? What is the most fitting model for your type of educational content? Let’s review the main business models to choose from:
Pay-per-class model: implies payments for access to certain classes without the need to subscribe to the service for a set period.
Membership-based model: this is good when you create an online school with a constantly growing knowledge base, so a student may subscribe once with the chance to cancel a subscription or prolong it if there’s the need.
Certificate Courses: this model is good for educational services that offer courses on various topics providing a certificate when the program is finished (a student pays for the full course or for a certificate at the end).
Webinars: if there are some topics you can present as webinars, offer paid access to them providing a recording after the webinar is over; if you already have a YouTube channel with available webinars, this is a good method to offer something premium and make money beyond YouTube.
Video Lessons: you can boost your YouTube advertising strategy by providing video lessons, but you can also offer paid ones in your online school.
Live classes: you can schedule online classes with paid access, so the students could pay for the real-time content they are interested in.
Multi-model: you can combine different online school business models, for instance, pay-per-class access with paid membership and certificate courses, offering several payment options to your students.
10 steps to create an online school
So, you’ve figured out why it is worth launching your own online school and know what kind of business model you’d like to implement. It’s high time to concentrate particularly on the process and start moving towards your goal step-by-step. Here are the 10 points you should follow to create your online school and give it a go!
- Validate Your Online Course Idea
When you come up with the idea of an online school, spend some more time to making sure it’s really great and profitable. Learn the demands of your potential students, examine the market, think about what you are going to offer with your lessons. You may even test your idea by creating polls for your target audience or making free webinars to prepare your future students for what you are going to sell. Make sure your idea is worth paying for and conduct some beta-testing before the launch.
- Name and brand identity
Your online school’s name is especially important because people should remember it and feel the message you fill this name with. Make sure you choose a short, easily memorable, title that has sense. Then choose a domain that will be as close to your school name as it’s possible. Don’t forget other details about the brand identity including logo, custom color scheme, and other style elements you consider necessary. Make it in such a way everyone will recognize your brand and distinguish it from others.
- Research competitors
Of course, there are already many online schools and you have dozens of competitors but still your educational platform may be different in its own way. However, researching competitors is a must because of the following reasons: you need to investigate the pros and cons of similar online schools and make sure none of your ideas look like plagiarism, and you may find certain points you could implement even better than others did.
- Figure Out Your Target Audience
Do more research and leverage analytical tools to decide on your target audience. Proceed from the specificity of your lessons, study statistics, and common trends, and find out more about people you are going to offer your services to. Thanks to modern tools and platforms it is quite easy to segment audiences, learn about their preferences and habits. To make the right decisions you should find out what niches are less occupied and what are the general requirements on the market.
- Choosing your team
You are not almighty and don’t have an unlimited amount of time and skills. Therefore, you might need to put together a team. Apart from the team of teachers and experts who are essential for your school, you also need professional developers who will take care of the technical part and software, and a marketing team that will do its best to promote your services efficiently. You can ask separate experts for assistance if you know whom to address, or request qualified help from the companies that offer a full package of development, promotional, and support services.
- Prepare learning materials
The core of your online school is lessons, so you need to be especially responsive in this matter. Don’t rush, take your time to gather material and create lessons that bring value. Add the necessary medium and references to make the learning process interesting and help your students understand complex things easier. Consult with experts who know how to present the material in the best way and always double-check the results before the launch. It’s your reputation and could be the difference between success and failure, so do your best. When the materials are ready, create a learning plan to keep students engaged and make the learning process effective.
- Prepare the essential tool-set
Before you provide access to your online school classes, make sure all the tools are ready and set. These may include:
- API & SSO
- Analytical software
- Marketing & sales tools
- Email-marketing software
- Referral & affiliate programs
- Payment settings
- Other website features
- Quality testing and bug fix
Quality assurance is extremely important before the official launch of your school. Seek experts who will thoroughly check your site, find bugs and errors, and fix them in a timely fashion. An online school is not an easy thing, and as many different professionals may work on it some inconsistencies may take place. You can learn lots of reference material and read many stories about the common mistakes and errors that may happen and pay special attention to them. Make sure your service works as smoothly as possible before you give it a go.
- Adopt a marketing strategy
Your online school’s success isn’t possible without a marketing strategy. You need to develop and implement a campaign that will promote your services effectively and engage your target audience even before students start their first lesson. You might need a team of marketing experts: creative writers, SEO and SMM professionals, marketers. But you may save time and expenses by leveraging a company like VlogBox to promote your school among the ever-growing CTV community where education is one of the most popular verticals, like cooking shows or games. Our experts will take care of every stage from OTT placement to monetization and support which will help you raise awareness, attract new audiences and monetize your online school in the best way possible.
- Online school launch
When everything is set up it’s time to start an online school you have set up. And it’s only the beginning of your new exciting journey! A lot of work is behind you but you must not stop here as later on you will have to continue taking care of many aspects. Promotion and improvement are ongoing matters, and, apart from that, the market of online education is constantly evolving. Thus, you will have to keep up with trends and always stay in the loop to help your educational business stay successful and profitable.
Now you know how to start an online school step-by-step and what it takes to create and launch a new educational platform. Of course, there are many more nuances you will face in the process of creating an educational establishment, but we covered the key ones you should pay attention to. Online education will always be in demand, especially since the pandemic when the whole world started living differently and many things have moved from offline mode to the online environment. Fortunately, there is a great number of tools you can leverage and experts you can ask for assistance. VlogBox is one such trusty assistant you can always rely on in terms of your own CTV channel’s establishment, your educational service promotion and monetization in the OTT environment. Drop us a line and let’s cooperate for your success!