Over the last ten years, even before the coronavirus pandemic, online learning has seen significant growth. The rise of the internet, combined with education, allowed people to learn new skills. And since the coronavirus pandemic, online learning has become an integral part of most people’s lives.
The COVID-19 outbreak forced people to work from home, schools and universities were shut down, which led to the booming usage of online learning.
Even before the pandemic, according to a forecast by Research and Markets, the online education market was set to reach 350 billion USD by 2025 (1). And the latest analysis, considering the growth impacts of the pandemic, the online learning market is set to reach 513.140 billion USD by 2026 (2).
According to market analysis, the online education market was worth about 187.877 billion USD in 2019 and is forecasted to thrive at a 15.44% CAGR from 2019 and 2026.
According to available data, the market is further expanded because of factors like:
- Decrease in overall expenses
- Expanding government drives supporting online education
- Increasing internet and smartphone penetration
- Increasing interest for adaptive and versatile learning
- The rise of AI-enabled e-learning solutions
- Development of cloud-based education applications and rising investments in the space
- Rising number of competitors, leading to drop in overall costs
- The presence of free education content
- The flexibility of education content, they are available at any place and time
- Gamification of education content to make learning easier
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The Online Education Market
There are numerous online education or learning platforms in the market. It includes players like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, Udacity, and Lynda that serve millions of users.
Different user verticals are also shaping these various platforms.
For instance, while Skillshare is mostly for creators with many courses on photography, lifestyle, and animation, Coursera is primarily academic with access to university courses.
Considering the surge of online learning, top-tier universities worldwide have also started democratizing their offers by making their courses available online. Universities like Harvard and Stanford also offer online courses under categories like personal development, art, mathematics, businesses, engineering, and computer science.
If nothing else, all these points out one thing; there is a huge demand from people to learn new things online. Such demand and the rapid growth of such made is a huge range of platforms offering different options covering different groups of people worldwide.
“The most significant challenge for learners is to find out what skills are emerging and what you can do to compete for the top spot in the global market. Today, we live in a rapidly changing world that valuable skills only a few years back are no longer relevant. It has led to a lot of confusion among people about what they should be learning,” stated Darren Shimkus (3), the President of Udemy, back in early 2020 when the platform closed a 50 million USD funding round (4).
Online education is becoming a huge catalyzer for individuals and businesses to help adopt this rapid change around the globe.
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Online Learning in India
The growing internet and smartphone penetration, even in emerging economies, and flexibility of educational information are further pointing to the market’s growth. For instance, Bangladesh saw an extremely high internet penetration from 100k in 2000 to about 94,199,000 in 2020. The case is also similar in India.
Last year amid the pandemic, BYJU’s, India’s most valuable edtech startup, witnessed an increase of a whopping 7.5 million new users when it started offering free content access (5).
These stats also suggest that emerging nations like India offer excellent opportunities for businesses looking to venture into the online education market.
In addition, the government of India has also been introducing several schemes and initiatives to promote online education, especially after the coronavirus crisis, which continues to grapple the world economy.
In May 2020, the Indian Education Ministry launched PM eVidya, a unique and innovative initiative to drive multi-mode access to various online education content among teachers and students (6).
Overall, the online learning market is set to witness high growth in the upcoming years amid the rising internet penetration and demand for upskilling in the global market, especially in emerging countries like India.
Before we dive into various opportunities, you can leverage the trend; let’s look at the benefits of online learning.
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Benefits of Online Learning
Online learning platforms collect a huge amount of user data, allowing those companies to use ML algorithms to enhance users’ learning patterns.
Such a machine learning algorithm can further use the recognized learning patterns to offer personalized content for individual users. For instance, if a student repeatedly struggles to understand a particular concept in a course, the platform can readjust the online learning material to offer more detail in a relevant way to help the student learn.
The instant feed loops within platforms offered by other online students or platforms can improve the overall learning curve.
In addition, it also offers more reticent or shy people an opportunity to participate in class discussions more effortlessly than offline class sessions.
Of course, time is another big advantage of e-learning. People can arrange their learning schedules as per their convenience, offering a huge opportunity for individuals, including entrepreneurs, to increase their knowledge assets more effortlessly.
“The e-learning industry is rising at an exponential rate. Today, it has even become vital to stay up to date with the latest industry developments. Businesses can dig into these coaching, mastermind, and consummation programs to scale themselves rapidly. It is an incredible opportunity for people ready to walk the extra mile,” asserted Javid Niazi-Hoffmann, a German-based preeminent coaching consultant (7).
The online learning cost structure is another factor responsible for its rapid market growth. Online courses are comparatively more cost-effective than traditional opinions. Additionally, there are no communication costs, and other course materials like textbooks are often available online at no extra cost (8).
Lastly, mobile-first applications have also given access to more users, offering further benefit from online learning. In the future, considering the big data online learning platforms collect, it would be no surprise if online learning becomes more democratized and has more elements like VR/VR or advanced ML algorithms (9).
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Tips for Entrepreneurs to Leverage the Trend
Several entrepreneurs and skilled individuals are making six figures on low-cost online courses.
If you are also looking to venture into the space and monetize your skills, you can start by developing a community on platforms like Reddit, launching free courses, and even releasing e-books.
Many individuals are doing this as their primary career.
According to the available data, the main growth channels these entrepreneurs or course owners use are email marketing and SEO (10, 11, 12).
You can try creating high-quality product comparisons and reviews for the most popular tools in your niche market. As we previously discussed in our story, The Growing Market of Review Websites, product reviews can be a lucrative business space, and people looking for them can also be excellent prospects for your online courses.
On the other hand, you can focus on sending attractive offers and discounts to your existing mailing list as a part of your email marketing.
According to available data, course owners often make this one common mistake. They focus too much on automating a perfectly set sales funnel (13, 14). While it is important to automate tasks, you can save a significant chunk of money by doing something simple such as setting up a marketing calendar.
In contrast to common advice you may find on the internet, you may gain better results by discounting courses to drive sales, especially at the beginning of every year (15, 16).
Below are some ways you can plan your promotions:
- Aim to make noise about every two months
- You may find festive seasons as your biggest sales period
- Use new product launches, product bundles, affiliate sales, and collaborations to create buzz and drive sales between each festive season.
Next, you can adjust your calendar monthly or quarterly based on your overall performance and any change in priorities.
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Creating a Successful Course
You will be able to make a lucrative course if you effectively validate the content you produce.
- Keep an eye on community posts and support emails for common problems or repeat questions people ask for.
- Validate the demand for the content you choose to build before you start building it. You can do it by building a landing page, setting a minimum order threshold like 50 orders or so, and sending it to your email list with an option to pre-buy.
- Produce and release your content segment-wise over a few weeks. You can also choose to share your content exclusively with pre-buyers, get their feedback, and tweak it.
There is also an option to send out Facebook ads and set up a seven-day drip sequence to roll out your course (17). You can create scarcity and prompt action from your prospects using discounts and enrollment deadlines.
At the same time, don’t fake scarcity. If you say that a discount ends or you close enrollment at a certain date or time, mean it.
Key Components You Can Include in Your Tech Stack
- Using platforms like ThriveCart to offer payment plans which would make it easier for students to sign up
- Using tools like WordPress or Wix to build your website
- Hosting course content via platforms like Teachable
- You can also register your software via platforms like WooCommerce
- Integrating payment processing platforms like PayPal
- Active email marketing campaign
Are you already running a business in this space? Or are you looking to monetize your skills with low-cost online courses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!