While the internet has fundamentally changed many different parts of our lives, from how we shop, and how we communicate, the education system continues to see massive improvements. We have seen a number of technology companies enter into k-12 space. There are platforms that offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and they continue to gain traction. One platform that looks to disrupt education with a promise of offering many benefits to learners is Outschool. This guide looks at what Outschool is, its pro and cons, what parents get by signing with the platform, as well as our verdict on whether the platform is worth your time and space.
What is Outschool
Outschool is an online marketplace that connects teachers with students all over the world. It is for learners aged between 3-18 years. Both academic – math, reading, science, history among others, as well as non-academic; gaming, dance, craft, cooking, social, crafts among others, can all be found on the platform. Outschool hires residents from US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales to teach children online.
Outschool, founded in 2015, has been described as “Netflix of Learning”. Instead of offering online courses consisting of lectures and quizzes, the platform gives students an immersive learning experience where they work with an expert teacher to learn a new subject. The platform now offers more than 10,000 live classes for young people between the ages of 3 and 18. It offers courses in everything from chemistry, to architecture and combines with a lot of practical.
Let’s have a discussion of what makes Outschool different, as compared to other platforms out there.
A marketplace for learning
Outschool has built a marketplace for learning where teachers with an idea for a course have the ability to teach their course to passionate learners around the world. Teachers can apply for Outschool the submit a lesson plan which will be reviewed by the company to determine whether the course is valuable to the platform.
This means there is a wide range of courses offered at Outschool. There are more than 1000 registered teachers on the platform where each of them has their structures for their courses. Some classes are one-off, while others last for a couple weeks. Some classes can extend for a whole semester and this gives students the ability to go deeper into the platform. Their model seems to be working based on the large number of returning students.
Passion based learning
Students are given the liberty to attend to only those subjects that make the most sense to them. There are a set of facts and skills students must master. Outschool has adopted a passion-based learning environment that is supportive to student’s unique characteristics. The playful classes that are offered at Outschool can help in engaging learners who may otherwise not be interested in what they learn in school.
Outschool is focused on learner-directed education. This means students learn on their own term. If they have a subject which they have a particular interest in, they can use the platform to go deeper into the subject. Outschool acts as a compromise where students can learn about their passion in their free time, while still going through traditional school system. Despite the quick growth of the platform, class sizes remain small of not more than 18 kids participating.
Interaction with teachers
One of the biggest criticisms of MOOCs is lack of human interaction between students and learners. Many ed-tech companies are focused on automation and AI rather than personalizing learning between students. They are also prone to this criticism. The above solutions lack to understand that students often learn best when they have a constant interaction with a teacher or lecturer.
There is something Outschool does different. It takes classes via zoom, a teleconferencing tool and other online technologies. These allows students to engage directly with teachers and share their passion with the rest of the class. Outschool strives to create a social classroom online. Students may be auditing classes remotely, but can still interact through video.
How Much Does Outschool cost?
It is important to note that joining Outschool is free. Most courses do cost $10 to $15 though. Students can sign up for classes at a variety of costs. Most one-time courses go for around $10.00 to $15.00 per student, depending on the length and content.
You can save $10 off your first course with this Outschool by getting a lot of available coupons online.
Students can also sign up for ongoing and semester courses, which are priced comparably to one-time courses. One-on-one classes and tutoring go for between $15.00 and $130.00 per session.
It has to be noted that Outschool is not an accredited program. However, Outschool pods can be used as part of homeschooling instruction plans. Schools and organizations around the world use Outschool, with the platform welcoming families from more than 180 countries.
How to Sign Up for Outschool
To be a tutor at Outschool, you need to meet different requirements. However, the first of these requirements is to sign up. Anyone can sign up with Outschool.
While every educator and class are vetted and approved before accessing the Outschool platform, the process to become an Outschool teacher is straightforward and gets you teaching quickly.
All teachers must meet the job requirements and qualifications which are:
- Complete an Outschool background check
- Be a resident of United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom
- Be at least 18 years old.
- No formal teaching credentials or certificates are required!
How to Become a Tutor with Outschool
- Send general information about yourself, like why you’re interested in teaching with Outschool.
- Submit an intro video for the staff to review.
- Send to a background check (which is renewed annually).
- Upload your first class for approval.
After your application is approved, you will need to make another intro video for your prospective students and their parents to watch.
How to Make Money with Outschool
If you have what it takes to be a tutor, you can make money with Outschool. Outschool boasts that teachers make on average $40 per hour, and median hourly earnings of $60+ per teacher / organization.
Some people have turned this into their full-time job without having to pull full-time hours. Because teachers set their own group size and class price, they can earn a sizable income with Outschool.
Teachers can list classes on Outschool for free and can offer services as much or as little as they want. They list their own prices for classes and have full control over the number of participants.
Outschool takes a 30% service fee from enrollments. You receive payments for classes that are booked, one week after you teach the class, through PayPal.
Pros and Cons of Joining Outschool
It is important to note that Outschool classes are recorded. Classes are recorded for teachers to be able to review and improve their Outschool tutoring. Recording is also important for parents to check on the progress of their child. Other advantages of recording classes include teacher coaching, customer support and compliance purposes.
Joining Outschool, either as a student or tutor, will always be met with some advantages and disadvantages.
On the pro part, you can expect the following;
- Can teach virtually anything (subject to approval)
- No degree or teaching certificate required
- No interview
- Class length determined by the teacher
- Potentially high pay rate if multiple students sign up for the same class
- Extremely high ratings on Glassdoor show teacher satisfaction
Asides the advantages, we can discuss some few cons:
- To become a tutor, one must reside full-time in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England or Wales. This condition locks out many potential tutors from all over the world.
- Outschool retains a 30% commission on earnings. This can be argued to be a fairly high commission.
- There is arguably a saturated marketplace that makes it difficult to attract bookings on common subjects
- The platform allows only child students, no adult classes
Outschool Model of Teaching
Outschool appears to have found a model that works. Instead of offering generic online courses, it wants teachers to create immersive learning experiences where students will be able to interact with teachers and fellow students. The marketplace-based model allows Outschool to offer a wide range of courses to students and this increases the chances of students finding something they like from the platform.
We have to point out that Outschool may provide a level playing field for students from different economic backgrounds. Students with wealthy parents can afford to pay their tutors. However, these solutions are inaccessible to most students, often those who come from lower-income backgrounds. Outschool allows students to pay on average $18 to participate in a course, and this is significantly cheaper than tutoring.
Outschool Student Refund Policies
There are some common policies that apply to Outschool platform. If an Outschool teacher cancels, misses or is late or shortens a class meeting, then the affected learner is entitled to receive a refund from them.
A learner is also entitled to a refund if they do show up to a class meeting. If three consecutive classes are missed without communicating with the teacher, then the learner forfeits the class fee and may be withdrawn.
Since Outschool is a marketplace, they have no fixed schedule or maximum/minimum hours that a teacher must commit to. Outschool tutors are free to set their own class times and the student base is global. This can be done at any time of the day or night.
The company however suggests that afternoon and evening classes may work better than the middle of the day, with optimum being on weekends. Outschool advises the use of standalone and short-form introductory classes to reach new learners, build reputation and attract reviews more quickly. There is also the offer of longer semester-long classes to allow students to engage more deeply in wider topics.
You are likely to find out that broad, common subjects such as English/ESL will be too much saturated. To be successful, you need to research for less competitive niches on the platform and offer a unique angle to teaching the same.
To increase on student uptake, Outschool offers the following tips;
Offer something unique.
Show your passion for your subject and create classes that you might like to do yourself. If you are offering a common topic, then make it unique by bringing your own approach to the class.
Create high quality listings.
The more information that parents have, the more likely they are to enroll. And make it compelling! Pick a title and summary that will catch the interest of parents and learners.
Build a following.
Deliver a great learning experience. Ask your parents to leave reviews and to spread the word about your classes.
Outschool is a legitimate online teacher marketplace, founded in 2015. The Outschool headquarters are in San Francisco, USA, while they teach over 1 million children from pre-Kindergarten to High School level (ages 3-18 years) all around the world.
Outschool teaching is not limited to English/ESL or other languages, and classes can be delivered on any topic you are passionate about and are experienced in. All curricula and lesson materials are thus designed by the teachers.
We can say without a doubt that Outschool is a great platform. You can access it from your mobile device, tablet, or laptop. And all sessions take place on Zoom, which is free to download or use on the Zoom website.
Outschool’s platform is also safe. It complies with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) with regard to children under 13, and extends these protections to all kids using the site.
It seems the ultimate goal of Outschool is to provide a learner directed solution for young people. It can help young people who are disengaged from school exposure subjects they find interesting. The platform also allows students who need help in a subject supplement their traditional education. The platform wants more children to be able to pursue their passion outside traditional classroom where student learning is dictated by standardized curriculum. See if you could benefit from other reliable and good business opportunities that might come your way.