Believe it or not, e-learning is a requirement these days. Be it schools going kid or a corporate employee, online learning platforms are helping out everyone acquiring new skills, clearing doubts, and even getting just-in-time job assistance.
One of the major reasons for this mass acceptance is the ease and flexibility of e-learning platforms. They allow both teaching and learning in a self-paced ecosystem, which makes them a perfect fit at anywhere with scope for learning and guidance.
It does not matter if you want to learn how to bake a cake or build a rocket; there are online resources and online learning platforms for anything you wish to learn.
The biggest market for e-learning in 2019 is Learning Management Systems. According to elearninfo247, the market is brimming with over 1.3k LMS solutions being offered by various software vendors. Next comes the market of e-learning platforms.
One of the biggest shares in e-learning platform market is held by e-learning marketplace. They have played a crucial role in thriving the scope for platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, and others as a highly profitable business activity. By making e-learning accessible to the masses, an e-learning Marketplace makes a perfect business idea in 2019.
If you too understand this trend and willing to invest your time, money, efforts and resources in launching a profitable e-learning Marketplace business, this guide will teach you the perfect way to do that.
How to choose a course model for your e-learning Marketplace?
I am giving out three names here: Udemy, Coursera, and Varsity Tutors. All of these are e-learning marketplaces. They all are massively popular among the learning audience. In fact, a major proportion of their revenue comes through the US market itself.
Now, how can all these businesses in the same industry perform so well in the same market?
The primary reason for this is the difference in their business models and also the course models. Udemy is popular for offering micro-courses. Coursera, on the other hand, makes perfect use of Academic model courses and offers specializations and certifications in collaboration with reputed educational institutes. As per Varsity is concerned, it’s a perfect platform to get academic help and private tuitions for school and college going students.
You can select a perfect course model like these for your own e-learning marketplace and acquire a good share in the market; even if it is already brimming with other businesses in the same industry.
Night school Model: Choose the Night School model like Udemy and offer micro-courses to teach specific skills and get paid for it. It’s more like creating laser-focused tutorials. Teach how to program using Java Servlets, how to take photographs, or how to design banners with Photoshop. Anything that you can teach in a single small course would be a perfect fit here. Learners will purchase the course and pay for it.
Academic model: If something you can’t teach in a single small course, you need to create comprehensive courses like Coursera for them. For example, Digital Marketing, Entire Photoshop training, Data Science, or Artificial Intelligence, or preparation for GRE exams. Such courses carry on for months. So you need your learners to pay for them on a monthly basis rather than paying big fees at once. The MOOCs and distance learning courses also come under this category.
How to create an e-learning marketplace in low investment?
An e-learning platform is not a single software solution. It is a collection of multiple solutions that work together to carry out a business activity successfully. You would need the following fundamental solutions to start with it.
- A website to host the courses and manage content
- E-Learning authoring tools to design the courses
- An LMS software to assess and manage the learning activities
- A payment Gateway to execute the online transactions
If you are thinking about coding the marketplace from scratch, it would be a complex and expensive task. You would need to code everything, and trust me, the website is the craziest part. You would get the LMS, e-learning Authoring Tools, and Payment gateway in the form of APIs, but coding the website from scratch is a bad idea.
An e-learning website is a complex architecture and contains various modules and sub-modules. For example.
- Login Management
- Course Management
- Payment Management
- Revenue channels Management
- Tutors Management
- Students Management
- Email Management
- Push Notifications
- LMS integration
- Analytics Management, and
- Various third-party API integrations
Coding the website from scratch, you would require you to code all these modules from scratch. Even if you outsource the entire development project.
- A team of 5 resources will take at least 3 months to deliver the beta version.
- If a team of 5 resources works for as low as $50/hour/resource & 8 hours
- 1 week’s expense of the project will be at least: $10,000/week
- 3 month’s expense of the project will be at least: $130,000
This expense is just for developing the website. Think of it when you want to develop mobile apps with it. It’s huge.
Trust me! No one today spends this much in starting a small scale business. Especially when you don’t have an investor.
Is there a cost-effective way to get an e-learning website?
Starting an e-learning business is an accessible idea with some wise moves. You don’t have to spend $130,000 to develop your website. There is a much cost-effective way.
You can use an e-learning marketplace builder. Some people also call them clone scripts. These are ready-made solutions, which you can use to set up your site within a few hours and without spending much.
For example, you can use an Udemy clone script, which typically comes somewhere around $500 for the website solution and around $1500 for a bundle of website and mobile apps.
Other clone scripts are also available in the market, which you can use as per your preferred business model. For example, if you want to give academic tuitions to students through video conferencing and interactive whiteboards, you can use a Varsity Tutors clone.
A clone script comes readymade with all those modules and features I talked about in the previous section. You won’t have to code anything from scratch.
Should you choose an Open-Source clone script?
There are both SaaS-based and Open-source scripts in the market. You can choose a SaaS-based solution if you don’t want to handle anything by yourself and want the vendor to manage the aspect like.
- Website hosting
- Website security
- Security patches
- Feature upgrades
Be advised that SaaS solutions come at recurring monthly charges and you don’t get access to the source code.
In such case, if you wish an absolute control over your site, and can handle the above-mentioned aspects, you should choose an open-source script to build your site. Advantage of such solutions is that they provide the source code access and you can always customize your website the way you want.
- You can revamp the UI to match your brand as they are white-labeled solutions.
- You can add new features by yourself or hire a trained developer to do it for you.
- You can host your website on the web server of your choice.
- You can choose to use a payment gateway of your choice
- You can integrate any third-party API to add new features
Of course, you will have to manage your site in-house and you would be responsible to manage its security, but this would not be a tough task if you have the basic skills. Alternatively, you can hire a skilled in-house admin to manage your site and its development.
Running an e-learning business is a powerful business idea. Like all influential online learning platforms, your success depends on how much can you invest in making your platform competitive?
However, it doesn’t mean you always have to spend fortunes. There are cost-effective ways to start an e-learning business. You just have to know the right way to acquire them. So plan your business, identify the scopes, choose a business model, prepare the list of features you want, and select the right approach that suits your model and investment budget.
My only advice is, do not waste time, money, and efforts re-inventing the wheel. Make all possible use of available resources and invest more in innovation and business development.