We are at the birth of the Evolution of Online Education.
Just like technology has disrupted other sectors like taxis with Uber, hotels with Airbnb, and other sectors, it’s about to change how we learn and teach.
Companies like VIPKID are an example of how american teachers are using technology to teach Chinese students between the ages of 5 – 12. VIPKID has bypassed systems like Skype and created their own virtual classrooms. They have an app for keeping teachers informed of their classes and progress…
The company currently has over half a million students with around 20,000 instructors. It has received over $100 million in funding! And it’s growing year over year.
This leaves us with two questions:
Q. What does it mean for the old way of learning and teaching?
A. It means that education is getting an upgrade!
Q. What will make online teaching and learning a success?
A. Teachers! It all comes down to having good teachers! Teachers with real life classroom experience will have a jump on this new tech and the ones that will benefit most from it.
VIPKID says its instructors are typically teachers and other professionals who are putting in hours at VIPKID as a way of earning a little extra money (which makes VIPKID an interesting twist on the collaborative consumption model where people earn extra money by signing on as cleaners or drivers for other kinds of on-demand startups).
Although a number of e-learning services attract users with a freemium or low-cost model, VIPKID takes a different approach here, too. It offers a single free trial lesson, but for anything more, it charges by 30-minute sessions, at a fee of 288 yuan ($43) a pop. Teachers — who must pass a set of relatively stringent requirements to qualify — in turn are paid between $7 and $11 per half-hour session, depending on experience, attendance and finishing classes.
Over time, it sounds like the plan is to enhance the learning platform and expand to more subjects and geographies, but for now, there is still growth to be found in VIPKID’s current target audience.