The outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively affected many aspects of life. Flight cancellations; travel bans and quarantines; restaurant closures; restrictions on indoor events; supply chain issues; stock market unpredictability; failing businesses, and uncertainty about the future. COVID-19 has also resulted in the closure of schools all across the world with 1.2 billion children currently out of the classroom globally. As a result, ministries of education have encouraged educational institutions to use online and distance education to ensure children continue to learn. Adults in continuing education have also been affected by the abrupt closure of education services and the private online training market has been taking advantage of this unique opportunity.
1. What’s new with E-learning?
There are numerous online learning (or e-learning) platforms in the market such as Coursera, Lynda, Skillshare, and Udacity that serve millions of people. Each one offers a different learning experience with a diverse range of learning content. For example, while Skillshare is mostly for creatives with courses on animation or photography, Coursera is predominantly academic. The recent periods of confinement have shown the high demand for an increasingly extensive array of knowledge and skills. From digital skills to personal financial management skills and even parenting skills. Adult education is now a fundamental component of modern societies. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global e-learning investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019. Now, however, the overall market for online education is projected to reach a staggering $375 billion by 2026.
E-Learning is one of the fastest-growing industries
Since the start of the pandemic, some online platforms have seen an increase in consumer enrollments (+425%), new instructors creating courses (+55%), and usage from businesses and governments (+80%). Enviable statistics for sure, however, as any first-year business student can tell you, too rapid an expansion doesn’t come without risks. The pressure to meet sky-rocketing demand can affect decision making. Poor decisions can lead to mistakes, and mistakes can lead to lost revenue and opportunities. So, how are many of the big-name online learning platforms avoiding these mistakes? Read on to discover how the outsourcing industry has been a vital partner to the e-learning sector as it positions itself to be a major disruptor in the coming years.
2. Outsourcing and E-Learning: Perfect Partners
The number of people signing up for online learning has surged as many look for ways to be productive while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As workers and companies move away from commuting and in-person events and training with a shift to remote work, we are witnessing an increased reliance on online learning. Some platforms report a significant upswing in enrollments in courses related to Telecommuting (+21,598%) and Virtual Teams (+1,523%), as well as Decision Making (+277%), Self Discipline (+237%), and Stress Management (+235%). You’ll be hard-pressed to find a business leader who does not have a desire to see their business grow. However, just because growth is desirable that doesn’t mean it comes without dangers and sudden growth of the scale mentioned above can easily result in mistakes. Mistakes such as; hiring poorly trained or unsuitable staff; losing experienced staff due to high workload; receiving negative feedback from consumers as the quality of customer service suffers, or losing focus on their core activities as they take on more and more tasks. Dropping the ball in any of these areas can quickly turn an opportunity into a threat. Below are just some of the ways outsourcing has allowed the e-learning industry to meet the demands of this rapid growth without putting the associated pressures on their own shoulders.
Outsourcing and E-Learning: Perfect Partners
2.1 Easy Scalability
Outsourcing makes it easy for businesses to scale up when they need additional people. Where it would normally take weeks, or even months, to attract, interview, hire, and then train a normal job candidate, a reputable outsourcing partner can take just a few days. With an already existing pool of experienced and well-trained personnel, it’s simply a matter of moving agents from one campaign to the other when needed.
2.2 Keep Costs in Line
Maintaining an in-house team to complete specific tasks can be a drain on a business’s expenses. Outsourcing eliminates the need to provide expensive office space, desks, computers, and phone lines for extra staff. This has made the necessary scaling up to meet the surge in demand a quick and simple process for the e-learning industry.
2.3 Maintain Efficiency
When it comes to successfully exploiting growth opportunities, efficiency is key. After all, time is money. It has been imperative for e-learning businesses to be able to produce a lot in the shortest amount of time while still maintaining the highest quality for their customers. Outsourcing has allowed online learning platforms to maintain their efficiency or, in some cases, to become even more efficient during this recent growth period. This has been achieved by outsourcing work that can’t be accomplished in-house within a reasonable timeframe to those who are specialized in the field and have the right tools to do it well and do it quickly.
2.4 Focus on Core Activities
Core activities are generally defined as strategic tasks that improve customer value and drive profits. The core activities of any online learning platform should focus on ensuring pedagogical and technological quality. The standard of the courses and the ease with which learners can navigate the platform will dictate the success of the business. When your business starts to grow, however, other tasks, such as accounting and human resources, can distract you from your core goals. By outsourcing certain ‘back-office’ aspects of their business, many e-learning companies have allowed their core management and decision-making teams to maintain their focus on their most important goals, objectives, and tasks.
2.5 Expand the ‘Product Range’ – Outsourcing Instructor Recruitment
As more potential customers become aware of the industry, the company that can offer a wider variety of quality products will inevitably see more interest than most. In the case of e-learning, ‘product’ means courses, and courses require instructors. In fact, all e-learning platforms have faced the problem of convincing quality instructors to upload courses to their platform from the very beginning. To find potential instructors, you need to work from a large pool of leads. One major e-learning platform outsourced their lead generation process to the Philippines, where data miners use particular search terms to enable them to sift through thousands of websites that mentioned learning or teaching certain topics that the platform wanted a course on. When the data miners found a relevant site, they’d make a note of the website author’s email address. This would amount to a list of 100’s of leads and potential instructors being produced each day. Then, instead of using a mass email service, the data miners would email each address, one by one. After trying a variety of different emails, they soon found one which was resulting in the most responses and switched to that. Before long, there were hundreds of new instructors signed up to the platform.
2.6 Plan for the future of E-Learning
How will AR (Augmented Reality) or VR (Virtual Reality) technologies affect e-learning? It’s hard to predict how new technology will be applied or how widespread it will be adopted. Some innovations will become wildly popular, others will fall flat. Pioneering technology always comes with risks. One thing is certain, however, as we apply new technology, we’re going to see it used in ways we never expected. Technology disrupts all sectors and this is no less true about the e-learning market.
Developing any major technological advances to a point where they are not only functional but user-friendly takes a lot of data, testing, and adjustment. Outsourcing data entry and analytics has been hugely beneficial to e-learning companies for these reasons. To ensure users (or, in this case, learners) are adjusting to any new technology companies must analyze their data. Outsourcing partners can develop systems that track this data and then present it in an easily readable and actionable manner. An e-learning platform can gain invaluable insight from data that tells them when a learner logs onto the system, how much time is spent on different pages on the system, as well as the overall progress of a learner over time. Even click patterns can be used to detect boredom. All of this data can be used to help model a better overall experience for the learner and to also provide information that can ensure the right courses are available to those that want them.
2.7 Enhanced Customer Service Through Outsourcing
The explosive growth of learners signing up to and logging onto e-learning platforms has led to a substantial increase in the number of inquiries that could easily exceed the capacity of an in-house customer support team. As competition in the sector heats up, it is clear that the user experience of a platform’s learners will determine the prosperity of the company. Many big-name e-learning companies have established support teams through their outsourcing partners that handle and manage customer tickets and inquiries.
Consequently, many online learning platforms have seen considerable improvement in their customer response times, the review processes of their customer support agents, and overall customer satisfaction. Not to mention their ability to now scale up or down their customer support teams as needed. In addition, customer support agents are able to troubleshoot problems and report bugs that may occur across platforms.
Through their alliance with outsourcing companies, such as Pure Moderation, e-learning companies have both increased their ability to control and direct high volumes of customer inquiries and streamlined their internal processes, allowing them to focus on providing their members with an enhanced online learning experience.
3. Pure Moderation: An experienced e-learning outsourcing partner
As a global BPO vendor specializing in a range of services, PureModeration’s priority is to provide affordable solutions that are custom-tailored to the individual needs of our partners. Every business is unique and has specialized needs. We offer bespoke services to suit any industry and size of the organization and offer the ability to quickly scale up or down as needed to suit changes in business needs and goals.
With a large pool of highly-competent agents with a perfect blend of skill, expertise, and experience, our clients can get an edge over the competition with our flexible and reliable data handling services.
Working with us allows your business to operate efficiently, cost-effectively, and with insight into the ever-increasing amount of data your business produces.
Streamlining your operations is crucial when trying to achieve future growth and vital functions such as data management must, therefore, be handed over to the professionals.
To learn more about outsourcing your projects and the value that it can bring your business, chat with us on our website, or contact Pure Moderation for a free consultation and trial.