Increasing internet penetration and ownership of smartphones along with the growing demand for personalized learning has led to an increase in emphasis on the digitization of educational services.
The increase in number of open universities, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and evolution of online platforms have expanded the global online education market in a huge way. Technology has enabled people limitless ability to exchange knowledge. Now, people can learn and take courses from any institute or university of the world. It is much easier than ever for anybody to learn new skills, improve language proficiency, or to advance their education and qualifications free of the restrictions of space and time.
Online education has made it possible to learn or teach at the most convenient time and place. It has also given rise to various forms of teaching and learning, including self-paced lessons and courses, live learning, one-to-one tutoring, one-to-many session, etc. Online education has brought so much flexibility for both the teachers as well as the learners.
In this article, we explore how live learning and tutoring is picking up across the world and is becoming the new normal; as most schools, colleges, universities, coaching institutes, and students across the world have now moved to online. However, before that, it is worth taking a look at the global private tutoring market.
Global Private Tutoring Market
A recent report by Research and Markets, the world’s leading source for international market research reports and market data, has suggested the global market for private tutoring estimated at US$173.4 billion in the year 2020 is projected to reach US$279.3 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7% over the period 2020-27. According to the report, the US accounts for over 27% (estimated at US$46.9 billion) share in the global market in 2020. It said that China is forecast to reach an estimated market size of US$61.4 billion, growing at a CAGR of 10.7% through 2027. Japan and Canada are said to be among other noteworthy markets, each forecast to grow at 3.8% and 6.3% respectively over the 2020-27 period. Within Europe, the report said that Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 4.5% CAGR, while rest of European market will reach US$61.4 billion by the year 2027.
According to a report by Zion Market Research, increasing competition among the students for getting admissions into renowned colleges, and the growing number of students enrolling in private tutoring due to cut-throat competition in competitive exams are two major factors anticipated to drive private tutoring market globally in the future. Interestingly, the same report pointed out that on the basis of type, online tutoring is expected to witness highest CAGR over the forecast period, 2018-2026.
What drives the growth of live online tutoring?
Live tutoring has taken online education to the next level with its ability to increase student educator interaction and engagement in the class. Rapid technological advances over the past few years have made live online teaching not only possible but also the preferred method of learning for more and more students across the world. This is because online tutoring offers better benefits compared to traditional tutoring in terms of convenience, affordability, efficiency, and flexibility. Live online tutoring is a blend of face-to-face tutoring and online learning. Students can receive a personalized learning experience based on their needs and preferences. They can choose the most convenient time and learn from the comfort of their homes, and can access to large diversity of resources, learning materials, experts, and much more.
Another big reason that gives significant rise to the growth of online tutoring market is the lack of good and qualified tutor and the demand for the same. Looking at the number of learners, there is indeed a big gap between the demand of quality tutors and the supply of the same. Though many good ones may exist out there in the market, but it is hard to find them or can’t access due to physical distance. All these factors have given rise to the growth of online tutoring in last few years or so and are likely to fuel more demand for it across the globe in the future.
Some of the leading platforms that offer live tutoring services
Thanks to more advanced technologies that we have today, more and more companies that provide private tutoring services have switched to online. Several edtech companies have also come up with various online learning and tutoring services ranging from academic, test prep, language learning, digital skills, to upskilling courses, etc. Enhancing the offline classroom experience, they offer students online lessons, allow them to clear their doubts, and learn anything in real time from experts. Some of the leading companies/startups that provide live tutoring services include:
A leading student-first connected learning platform based in Santa Clara, California, besides many other services, Chegg provides 24/7 tutoring services in a wide array of subjects and topics. It allows students to figure out what kind of help they need, matches them with tutors who specialize in the subject areas, and makes them learn in a live lesson space including a virtual whiteboard, or chat via text, audio or video. The company charges according to the mode of interaction a student opt for.
Vedantu is a pioneer in live interactive online tutoring. Currently focuses on students from grade 6 to 12, the platform offers individual and group classes in a LIVE real-time, virtual learning environment. Its proprietary live online tutoring product WAVE measures student learning outcomes over 70 parameters. The technology enables student to interact one-on-one or one-to-many, ask and clear doubts, get instant feedback in real-time virtual learning environment. Students can get tutoring from a tutor of their choice at a time of their preference.
Gradeup Structured Live & Courses help learners score better with online coaching for Banking, SSC, TET/CTET, GATE, JEE, Defence & NEET exams in 2020.
Toppr Live also offers online live classes platform for IIT JEE Main, JEE Advanced and NEET Aspirants.
St. Louis-based Varsity Tutors is a live-learning platform that seamlessly connects learners and experts in any subject, anywhere, and anytime. Students can find the right tutor for their needs, from kindergarten to grad school, test prep, professional certifications, languages, and more. Varsity Tutors has last year launched the nation’s first ever free live, online SAT and ACT test prep classes called Test Prep 4 All to increase access for all students in the US. The company’s innovative live learning platform allows students and their tutors to enjoy a personalized one-on-one experience, anywhere, anytime.
Zuoyebang, launched in 2014 as a program incubated under Chinese search engine giant Baidu’s Q&A site Baidu Zhidao, is a K-12 online tutoring firm. It allows students to upload their homework questions and search for answers on its platform. The platform uses artificial intelligence to identify the question and its answers. Zuoyebang also offers one-on-one Q&A sessions and live-streaming courses.
This Mumbai-based online tutoring platform is revolutionizing traditional tutorials by offering live tutoring and personalized online coaching sessions. Currently, the startup caters to students from classes 5 to 8, offering year-long coaching classes in Math and Science from both ICSE and CBSE boards through an integrated online platform. It provides state-of-the-art online classroom with virtual experiments, interactive sessions, engaging content, guided unlimited practice, immersive games and quizzes with real-time results.
Verbling, a live video tutoring platform based in San Francisco, offers individuals to learn over 50 languages via video chat. Recently acquired by London-based AI-powered language learning platform Busuu, Verbling has more than 10,000 pre-vetted live teachers from across six continents, providing interactive one-on-one lessons across all time zones globally. It aims to empower people all over the world to become fluent in a foreign language.
A Gurugram-based online live tutoring startup for children of new age parents, Swiflearn aims to transform current offline tuition into a completely online avatar. It provides live, face-to-face online tuitions for classes 5 to 10 (both CBSE and ICSE), with full syllabus mapping and coverage, planned calendar for school and exam needs, and unlimited tests for practice. The company has recently raised seed funding to scale its platform from Stellaris Venture Partners and Venture Highway.
Skooli is a dynamic online tutoring space offering personalized solution that is designed to meet the needs of students in a digital age. It helps students learn difficult math concepts and get better grades by connecting them with professional teachers in a digital classroom. Skooli’s online math tutors are always available, so students can get instant help for their specific questions when they need it.
In addition to the above, unicorns like Yuanfudao (K-12 education) and VIPKid (English Learning) have accelerated the online video tutoring in China with smaller players like Tenopy emerging in Singapore.
The shift to online learning has led to increase in demand for live learning from learners across the world. Perhaps the popularity of the model and the increase in demand from learners has led more and more companies to come up with the service. This was witnessed in this COVID-19 lockdown. With physical classroom closed to contain the spread of the virus, and as learning of students have been greatly affected, several edtech companies from across the world come to the rescue by offering their platforms, many offering live tutoring services, to students and institutions to let the education continue uninterrupted.
In India, edtech firms which otherwise don’t provide live tutoring services have also launched live classes to cater to students needs during these difficult times. Live learning firms such as Vedantu, Lido Learning, VIDU, Impartus, Toppr, etc. all came forward and offered their platforms free of cost to Indian students and institutions during the lockdown period. BYJU’S, which witnessed a 200% increase in students using its learning app, also launched free live classes recently expanding its service to students. Several other platforms have also come forward to offer their services and witnessed massive increase in usage.
In China, tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei have stepped forward to offer free online classes during the pandemic. In response to Chinese national education bureau's direction, TAL Education has launched extensive free live-streaming classes for all grades and launched its online education app to move all its offline classes to online live classes. VIPKID also stepped up to offer 1.5 million free online courses to children aged from 4 to 12.
Live learning has gained momentum during this pandemic. Apart from using platforms or services offered by various edtech companies, teachers and institutions across the globe are also extensively using other video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Classrooms, Microsoft Teams, etc. to deliver lectures and continue the momentum of learning. Several companies are also offering technology support to colleges and universities to help continue teaching and learning. For instance, upGrad Live is offering free services to all educational institutions to conduct their classes online during the lockdown period.
Fund flows in edtech firms that provide live learning
With most learners and institutions shifting to online teaching and learning, several edtech companies from across the world are now offering live learning and tutoring services with cutting-edge technologies and solutions to its users. Many of them have caught the interest of opportunity-seeking investors and secured massive funds to further develop or enhance their products and services and accelerate their businesses.
Some of the live tutoring startups that secured funding in recent times include Vedantu (Bengaluru), Lido Learning (Mumbai), Zuoyebang (Beijing), Swiflearn (Gurugram), Uable. Few other online learning platforms such as GoStudent (Austria), EdHusk (Jaipur, India), MyTutor (London, UK), Scoodle (London,UK), Doyobi (Singapore), Lambda School (US), Palfish (China), Codecademy (US) etc. have also raised millions of funding from various investors from across the globe.
India also saw the largest edtech M&A deal during the pandemic where the Indian edtech giant BYJU’S acquired Mumbai-based online coding startup WhiteHat Jr in a $300 million all-cash transaction.
Other noticeable Indian edtech startups leveraging the live learning model are PlanetSpark, Uable, Mastree, JustTutors, enguru, Leverage Edu, Utter, Masai School, Pesto Tech, Plezmo, ProGrad Junior, Board Infinity, StayQrious, Qin1, ConduiraOnline whereas few like Classplus, VIDU.Tech, Teachmint, BitClass, Classpro, Proctur, WinUall are enabling educators and tutors to go online and explore the world of live teaching and tutoring.
Massive flow in of funding and live learning startups popping everyday clearly indicate the growth and expansion of the live online learning and tutoring markets globally.
The huge marketing spends by edtech giants and the pandemic have worked as a catalyst in increased tech adoption, positive change in consumer behavior and has taken the edtech sector and especially live learning forward by 2-3 years in a time machine.