Online classes are nothing new. However, entrepreneurs are starting to take advantage of the continued popularity of online learning to create platforms which allow students and teachers to connect through interactive video chat. It also goes deeper than that – alongside their primary aim of connecting teachers with students, they can offer comprehensive packages including administrative support and assistance with marketing. But can they ever really beat the experience of a face-to-face lesson? Here’s why they might:
1. They’re convenient
Venue and cost are significant factors when deciding whether to teach a class. You need to be certain that enough people are going to sign up in order for it to be a financially viable exercise. On top of that there are considerations like whether the facilities in the venue are adequate for the kind of class you want to teach. As interactive online classes become more commonplace this will change. All of these concerns become moot points as a teacher is able to base themselves in their own home, thereby dramatically cutting overhead spending.
2. People want a better experience
As previously mentioned, online courses are nothing new. They’ve been around in one form or another for years, becoming increasingly popular recently thanks to sites like Udemy, Cousera, and Skillshare. However, the one thing that these courses lack is an interactive element, which means that they rely on students to simply sit down and absorb the material. For those who choose not to teach in-person classes, there’s been a move towards teaching through sites like Skype and Google Hangouts. However these sites involve a lot of admin from a teacher’s perspective as third-party services become necessary to handle bookings and payments.
Recently, companies like Italki and HowNow have taken advantage of this to create streamlined services where admin is taken care of and call quality is significantly improved thanks to software that’s designed to handle more than just two people sitting and talking. This benefits both teachers and students, making online interactive video classes a much more attractive prospect than they once were.
3. Geography means nothing
Of course, there are always going to be people who prefer to learn in-person. That’s great if you’re based somewhere with a large population, but if you’re a student or a teacher living somewhere more remote it would have meant missing out in the past. Interactive video classes are a great leveller as they mean that teachers and students are able to access far more than their geographic location would once have allowed them to. As house price rises in cities continue to force people to move further and further afield, being able to reach those in more remote locations is a major coup.
4. Users can work with the best
Now, ‘best’ is obviously very subjective. A student might be looking for the person with the most in-depth knowledge of a subject in the world. They might just be looking for someone who they work well with, even if the level of expertise is slightly less. There might be a teacher who’s looking to maintain their contact with a student in spite of have relocated. Online classes are an attractive prospect because they mean that any of these can be facilitated. Having a platform that allows for interactive video classes is a step up from relying on emails, social networks, or even phone calls to maintain a working relationship.
5. Teachers can control their own hours
Many people will never have even considered teaching or learning online before. Interactive online platforms like the ones mentioned earlier tend to offer a class-by-class payment structure. This is much less of a financial commitment than that required by courses where students have to pay up-front with only a bare-bones outline or some online reviews to help them to decide what will work for them. The freedom to ‘shop around’ with very little financial outlay makes online classes an attractive proposition.
Over to you
What do you think of the rise of platforms offering interactive, online classes? Would you prefer to learn using online materials on your own or interact with someone over video chat?