Will Real-World Focus Help Private-Tutoring Startups Take Off?
In the past few years, the remaking of education has received a lot of attention. While massive open online courses attempt to bring education to a wider audience, big data is being used to personalize educational paths and analyze trends. Now, education is being addressed at a micro level as well—specifically, that of individual tutoring.
In 2012, Forbes noted that the global private tutoring market would surpass $102.8 billion by the year 2018. According to the article, reasons for this growth pertain to “the failure of standard education systems to cater to the unique needs of students, combined with growing parental desire to secure the best possible education for their children in a highly competitive global economy.”
Now, certain startups are addressing the failures of education systems through the development of tutoring systems that combine technology with alternative learning mechanisms. PandoDaily recently reported on the development of InstaEDU, a service which offers instant tutoring to students via an online portal. Tutors videochat their way through a session, which costs between $24 and $45 an hour; it’s similar to Lisa Kudrow’s web therapy show, though hopefully with more positive results.
Meanwhile, GigaOm notes that Tutorspree raised $2.8 million from investors Lerer Ventures and Sequoia Capital in order to provide a “marketplace of pre-screened tutors searchable by location and subject area experience.” Tutorspree allows students to pay and make appointments online.
Yet, startups preparing to enter the private-tutoring market should proceed with caution. PandoDaily indicates that many tutoring startups have failed. It’s a tough business to break into, especially in light of Google’s recent SEO algorithm changes.
What may separate InstaEDU and other successful tutoring startups from their failed compatriots is a focus on real-life application. How? InstaEDU just introduced a screen-sharing feature. Screen-sharing has become a more integral part of tech and business jobs, as remote and international work arrangements are now commonplace. Those tutoring startups that project ways to pragmatically integrate workforce preparation into their learning platforms may prove to have a better chance of survival.
Liz Elfman is a writer, editor, and content strategist who tweets @lizelfman.