How to Start an Online School in 5 Easy Steps

Known to us by different names – cyber schooling, virtual schooling or sometimes we might have even heard of distant learning and many others; all refer to nothing but online schooling in simple terms. The best alternative to the regular brick and mortar schooling, it provides wider scope for both students and parents to access better and flexible curriculum, classes by certified teachers, excellent learning materials and all from the location of their comfort. There can be many reasons why some people prefer online schooling. Some of the most common reasons are-

  1. Due to the nature of the job of their parents they might be under regular relocation
  2. Children might be previously homeschooled
  3. Children might have special needs
  4. They might require personalized schooling
  5. They might be advanced learners seeking challenging courses

and many more.

Keeping in mind the above pointers you will need to carefully lay out a plan and execute it to the “T”. You might already be running a successful brick and mortar school or might be a total new comer, these seemingly simple steps, if followed properly will definitely help you attain your goal. But, don’t be fooled by the simple words on the headings, there is a lot more to them than that meets the eyes.

These five points contain your answer to the question – How to start an online school?

Here you go,

  1. Create your online school
  2. Identify your audience
  3. Choose a business and a revenue model
  4. Plan your coursework
  5. Promote your online school

Sounds simple, don’t they?

Now let’s see what each of them actually have in store for you.

  1. Develop your own online schooling platform:

This is the most important and tricky part of the whole process. This will be the face of your new business venture. You need to be very careful on what you put on your website. These are the basic features that an online school should consist of.

  1. In-built virtual writing board software
  2. Document sharing facility
  3. Dashboards for admin, tutors and students
  4. Video and audio streamer
  5. Notification alerts
  6. Class scheduler
  7. Progress analyzer and tracker
  8. Review and rating options
  9. Payment gateways

There are two ways in which you can build your website-

  1. On your own from scratch: If you are technically sound you can go for it yourself or you could also hire an exclusive tech team of your own and get them to develop an online school platform that suits your business goals.
  2. By purchasing a turnkey solution: This is readymade online tutoring software that will be available for your immediate launch. There are many advantages added to this as well. You will get a complete set of the source code, you will be allowed to customize it, you will get the required tech support from your seller and it will be a onetime payment scheme. Below are a few well-known names in the readymade software developing industry-
  3. Pinlearn
  4. Articulate Storyline
  5. Adobe Premiere Elements etc

2. Identifying your audience:

Schooling in itself covers an extremely broad spectrum from the student base you will have to cover to the subjects you will have to teach. Since you are just stepping into this universe, it is always advised to start small and then grow your circle. And for this knowing what audience you will want to teach makes a huge difference. For this you will have to consider-

  1. Their age
  2. Their academic status
  3. Their geographic location
  4. What they are looking to learn
  5. If they are with any special needs etc

Once you have decided this aspect, it will then be easy for you to chalk out your course work and also the biggest task of whom to hire for teaching them. This will also help you in making a suitable business plan and a revenue model accordingly.

3. Choosing a business and a revenue model:

A good and efficient business model is the key to a strong foundation of your school. Without planning and a solid structure it is nearly impossible to build any kind of business without chaos. There are basically three types of online schooling models that you can adopt. These are also interlinked to what revenue model you will want to choose for your business.

Let’s look at the most prominent revenue models that are out there.

  1. Membership or Subscription fee model that includes recurring payments
  2. A freemium model
  3. A singular fee for one-on-one classes
  4. Separate charges for certification and course materials

And the types business models incorporating the above are-

  1. Night school model: model where a student pays only once to access a particular course
  2. Academy model: model which allows students to pay a recurring fee(subscription fee) and provide access to a wider range of course materials
  3. Combined model: model where a student, in addition to the perks of academy model has an option to pay a premium to access many additional coursework

4. Choose and create your course:

Since you will know who your target audience is and what they are looking for, it will be a bit easier for you to deduce on which subjects and materials you choose to provide them with. Conduct a thorough market study and see what is in vogue. You will have to devise a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) course plan. If needed, get help from a reliable education consulting firm to proceed with your course plan. Once you decide your subject/subjects you will have to plan your course outline, schedule of the courses, assessments, attendance, and many more such complex processes. Hence incorporating an efficient LMS (Learning Management System) is of great importance. This will help you with all the previously mentioned and many other tedious and strenuous parts of inline school management.

You will have to at least complete recording one course module before going live. Each module can be dissected into multiple, simplified chapters that seem to be leading towards one direction. Make sure your course materials are engaging, do not steer off the path of the planned course, and precise so as to help with the conversion rate.

5. Market your online school:

Without this step no one will know about your online school. You will have to put in all of your creative acumen in order to promote and market your virtual learning platform. It needs to catch the attention of the right set of audience in order for you to earn a good ROI (Return on Investment). Given the current generation is more tech savvy you will have to make use of that aspect and earn your audience. This does not mean that you ignore the traditional marketing techniques. Consider partnering with a direct marketing Jacksonville Florida agency, that can combine the advantages of print & direct marketing with digital techniques to bring you results. The process of marketing, getting profitable revenues, increasing the student base is all a looped process. And SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) plays a very crucial role in this aspect. Here are some commonly used marketing techniques that you can tap into. Also, keep in mind that there is always room for your own Midas touch. Do play around with these below types and see what suits your business the best.

  1. Social media marketing: Facebook, twitter, Instagram
  2. Multimedia marketing: Google ads, pay per click
  3. Content marketing: Email marketing, newsletters, blogging
  4. Influencer marketing
  5. SEO technique etc

Hope you now have a good idea on what all includes in the process of building your own online school. In this article we have just covered the superficial and basic elements. In case you have any doubts or need help or assistance in any of the steps do contact us and we will help you in whatever manner possible.

Best of luck!