Online education and learning are now massively popular more than ever.
E-learning was certainly always a very lucrative industry. The e-learning market reached $165.36 billion in 2014, and was worth $255 billion in 2017.
Now it is estimated that the e-learning market will account for $325 billion by 2025.
Such forecasts show that the online learning industry is extremely favored by investors, innovative startups, and a huge target audience.
It’s not only e-learning startups that are building e-learning platforms, many offline businesses, including educational institutions, are considering building our online platforms as well.
But how to create an e-learning website and be exceptional? What business model should you choose and what features should you implement?
These questions are always among the most important for entrepreneurs. In this article, we’ll look into all of them.
State of the Online Learning Market
The online learning market is already experiencing a new flow of inexperienced and new types of users – students and teachers. With the pandemic hitting education hard, schools, universities, and colleges are moving online. And it’s a whole new world for offline educational institutions.
Nevertheless, the e-learning industry will only benefit from this new wave of online students. From the example of the 2008 global financial crisis where private tutoring grew by 7% between 2009 and 2010, it is clear that the coronavirus crisis is likely to affect the e-learning industry in a positive way. So, this is the most perfect time to create an e-learning website and help as many tutors and students as we can.
Benefits of Building an E-Learning Website
According to BizEd, over 80% of educators believe e-learning can upgrade student performance and learning outcomes.
With e-learning students or those who want to upgrade their skills can save a bunch of time not driving to their course location. Instead, they can take a lesson from the comfort of their home or any anywhere else in the world.
Usually, online courses are more affordable, since there are no costs wasted on administration. Plus, a user can find courses that suit their budget, with no geographical limitations.
According to Entrepreneur, around 90% of students go for e-learning rather than offline learning. It was also estimated that 70% are willing to move e-learning if given access to live online classes. Furthermore, 63% of students would pick live classes over recorded lectures for their exam preparation.
Moreover, it’s not only students who prefer online education. Employees who want to improve their skills also are going online. In the USA, 77% of companies offer online courses to help educate their employees. 81% of employees take online courses for personal development.
In addition, an e-learning platform can provide its users access to lesson recordings. Thus access to an audience that avoids offline education because of their unstable schedules.
Types of E-Learning Websites
Basically, there are 3 main types of e-learning platforms:
Learning Management System (LMS)
The learning management system is a software application for the administration of educational courses as part of remote learning. The first LMS appeared in the 1990s and initially was used by universities and colleges. However, now LMSs are used both by corporations for training their employees and by higher education institutions.
The LMS market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion by 2023. One of the key drivers for the LMS market is the adoption of digital education.
How does an LMS work?
LMS platforms offer an online learning platform for students or employees to access recorded lectures, resources, and have live discussions.
Online Course Platform
An online course platform is an online learning platform that offers video courses from experts in different areas.
How does the online platform work?
Users choose online courses by checking out demo videos and reading reviews. Then users get lifelong access to videos and online assessments. Usually, this type of e-learning sites provide certificates after course completion.
These types of online learning platforms are growing at an enormous rate, take Udemy or Coursera, for example. In March-April, one Udemy course surged 231% in popularity, and another 146%.
But perhaps the most impressive story of online course platform growth is Lynda.com. In 2013, this platform raised $103M in funding. In 2015 it was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. This platform is now known as LinkedIn Learning.
Online Learning Marketplace
An online learning marketplace is a mediator between educators and learners that connects both sides on one platform. Such marketplaces allow users to browse and book one-on-one or group video lessons with tutors.
How does an online learning marketplace work?
A potential student enters a keyword into a search bar. Then a student chooses a teacher based on reviews, ratings, and the teacher’s profile description. If necessary, a user can contact a tutor with additional questions. Usually, online learning marketplaces offer one-on-one live classes via a video call.
An e-learning platform can either be managed or a freelance online learning marketplace.
The teams of managed marketplaces play a bigger role in managing all the platform’s activities, such as
- the verification process
- adding or deleting users or teachers
- approving or disapproving classes.
Plus, unlike freelance platforms, managed marketplaces tend to hire in-house experts to teach on their e-learning websites.
Q&A Student Marketplaces
There is also a subtype of an online learning marketplace called an online tutor marketplace, or Q&A student marketplace. This is a type of online learning marketplace where students or pupils can ask a question on a subject and get an answer from a teacher.
How does an online tutor marketplace work?
Basically, a user chooses a subject, asks a question, and provides any necessary details. There are also some fields that a user is required to fill in, like when the user would like to receive an answer.
Then, a user chooses the type of teacher they would like to answer the question. Obviously, the price varies depending on the type of tutor: high school, college, masters, or Ph.D. The prices are set hourly.
Moreover, a user needs to estimate the number of hours a tutor is likely to spend on an answer. After posting a question, a user gets tutor bids. Then a user chooses a teacher most suitable to answer the question and pays.
10 Core Features for Every Online Learning Platform
In fact, the process we call registration implies features including:
- the registration itself
- sign in
- password recovery.
The registration process should be quick and simple. It’s not a feature that users like to spend time on. A complicated registration process might increase the user’s leakage. Despite this, it is still highly recommended to introduce a double opt-in registration and ask users for an email confirmation.
As mentioned above, to keep users on the platform, the process of creating an account has to be very simple. And authentication makes the registration process as easy as it gets.
Just allow your users to register by using Google, Facebook, or even Apple.
Note: If your online learning platform offers tutoring lessons to minor children, within the registration process it’s advisable to ask for:
- zip code
- grade level
This is done to avoid any gaps in who is paying. And overall, to take extra precautions.
The sign-in feature should have a simple form with an email address and password. In addition, your online learning platform can offer sign in through social networks.
In case a user has forgotten their password, send your user an email with a recovery password link.
Warning: The real concern for your platform should be restricting access to different user roles: users, tutors, and admins. To restrict access to different user types, our company usually implements a policy system that authorizes access to parts of a project.
2) User Profile
The user profile doesn’t have to be complicated nortoo detailed. It needs to contain the general information that was extracted from the registration process.
Tip: Don’t force users to register right away. Usually, the registration process comes before sending a request to the tutor.
For tutors: the tutor registration involves more steps:
- 1 step is to include basic information.
- 2 step is to describe their educational background. Additionally, the subjects that they are going to teach. Plus, a few words about their experience and expertise to attract more users.
- 3 step is ID verification. Firstly, a tutor uploads photos of the ID document. Secondly, states the country. Thirdly, indicates a type of their ID document, and the document number.
Tutors and users should always be able to update their profile information.
Users should be able to search either by keyword or by subject.
Some online learning marketplaces, like Wyzant or Preply, try to find the best tutor right away by suggesting the user take a questionnaire. A questionnaire can include questions like the following:
- Time zone
- Level of user’s education
- Availability for lessons
- The urgency of the lesson
- Teacher’s title
- Teacher’s short description
The search page should also contain filters and a sorting system, but this is not always the case.
The users should be able to filter teachers by:
- Hourly rates
- Tutor age
- Student’s level
- Upcoming dates
- Price range
The search page should also show the number of teachers chosen according to user preferences.
Basically, a user should have the ability to sort by:
- Best match
- Lowest/highest price
- Event time
Surely, not every type of online learning platform has to have a booking feature. This feature is more typical for online learning marketplaces for booking lessons with teachers.
After a user books a lesson with the teacher, the teacher receives an email with the user’s request and additional information. Typically a teacher confirms the class and the student receives an email with payment instructions. After processing the payment, the student receives a link for the upcoming class.
5) Tutor Page
A tutor page is actually a page that converts users into clients and convinces them to book a lesson with a teacher.
A tutor page should always have a tutor’s photo, name, the subjects a tutor gives lessons on, rating, and hourly rate. That’s the primary information that is going to make the initial impression. And obviously, the page should have a ‘contact a tutor’ button.
After scrolling through the tutor page, a user should be able to find the information on:
- The number of hours the tutor has spent teaching on the platform
- The tutor’s education
- Cancellation history
- Examples of the tutor’s expertise (answers on user subject questions)
If a tutor has a lot of reviews you can add a review search by tags or keywords.