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Why should English Language Schools take Online Learning seriously?

BASIT

English Language Schools across the globe are a valuable resource for families, students, and professionals alike. Whether they support ex-pats, young students or any other type of learner, the target audiences are those who need to speak English out of economic necessity. This market and these learners cover a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds as well as having specific needs in terms of time zones, other professions and family obligations outside of their English learning.

The recent 2015-2016 Report from Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) showed the organisation had well over 11,000 members and 115 affiliates in 160 countries, along with demonstrable year-on-year growth in total net assets and liabilities. This not only showcases the fast-growing, lucrative ESL market but also highlights the success of tapping into the international community through online courses and programs. The vast numbers of global citizens who need to learn English present ample demand for providers.

Consider the online English market in China. Here, the economic context of the country drives millions to take English lessons to open up access to the international environment for personal and business use. A report entitled ‘The 2017-2022 China Digital English Language Learning Market’ shows a market revenue forecast of $1.4 billion by the year 2022. More importantly, the basic factors contributing to this growth are simple to replicate for any business in any economy:

  • online tutoring
  • e-learning apps
  • emphasis on English in primary and secondary education

The supply analysis in the report also details the most successful offering from providers; collaboration-based learning (live online tutoring) with a growth rate of 16.2%. This essentially provides a guide for businesses and ESL schools who are looking to increase their online learning offerings with solid data on how to effectively reach and educate students of all backgrounds.

In real terms, the costs associated with app development and course management could be a surprise. With estimates of around 150 hours of work and $10,000 per hour of e-learning, it would be easy to write this teaching method off, however, the scope for access to and use of the teaching resources in that hour of contact time are boundless. Depending on the style of teaching, course model and desired outcomes, app learning could also be integrated into course design as a much cheaper peripheral enhancement tool.

Studies have shown for years that students are generally highly in favour of e-learning supplements in classroom environments; in the e-learning market, the app supplement fits into an online course in the same way. With the existing analysis of these methods and their effectiveness as well as genuine student feedback, there is more than enough guiding information available for business development.

Most importantly, organizations must remember that the target audience for learning English covers the whole globe. Whether tapping into a specific culture and offering tailored courses for target countries or creating wide-reaching courses for global students, the online English market creates countless opportunities. Businesses of all sizes should be taking advantage of the innovative and accessible options to recruit more widely and achieve fantastic engagement and satisfaction before the market shifts entirely.

Sources:

http://www.tesol.org/docs/default-source/annual-reports/2016_tesol_annualreport.pdf?sfvrsn=0
https://www.bizjournals.com/prnewswire/press_releases/2017/09/11/MN84913
https://raccoongang.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-create-online-course/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214006797
https://medium.com/accelerated/the-global-english-language-job-market-is-changing-what-this-means-for-esl-teachers-92c8d87cf8eb

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