2020 saw the sharpest rise in digital transformation across the globe. The pandemic accelerated the introduction of online education workflows in an unprecedented fashion. The effects of the crisis-induced change in teaching and learning are permanent.
“When the worldwide lockdowns started, every school was scrambling to see how they can deliver value and ensure learning continuity during this terrible time. The crisis exposed the technology access gap between the poor and rich in many societies”, stated Edzai Zvobwo, the Founder and CEO of MathsGee a peer to peer learning platform for learners to help each other through subject-specific questions and answers.
Online learner support platforms like MathsGee, Brainly and Byjus among others saw experienced exponential growth as learners and teachers were scrambling for scalable solutions to help them weather the “learn from home” phenomenon.
The common feature among platforms that gained the most users during this period is the availability of free content. This inclusive approach to business enabled learners from all walks of life to have access to quality educational resources at no cost.
This trend is evidence that there is a need for new and innovative business models that serve all learners regardless of their economic situation.
One prevalent business model that has enabled inclusivity is the ads-based model whereby learners can consume all the content but are exposed to advertising from third parties.
Another model that has grown is the freemium model whereby learners have access to basic content or free trials for a given period and then to access more features they have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee.
“The freemium model is half-good because it gives you access but not full access thereby depriving learners of the quality information behind the paywall, this is exclusivity”, said Zvobwo.
MathsGee is committed to providing tools that enhance learner outcomes regardless of extenuating circumstances like poverty thus it has maintained a “full buffet” model. The edtech startup currently uses an ad-based model to get revenue but is in the process of phasing out this method. They now have a “Sponsor/Tip-jar” model that seeks to optimize information sharing among learners and tutors on the platform.
In line with trends in the open-source world, which have seen the emergence of companies such as Patreon, who facilitate for the payment of creators by fans. This is a new model that allows for fans to give back to creators who are freely adding value in their lives. Github, Reddit, Pixabay and many other open-source platform now have a “Sponsor” button.
MathsGee has decided to make peer to peer sponsorships and donations the main revenue model for both the platform and content creators. Every user has a unique link on their profile that allows for other users and visitors to donate to them. The platform gets a 10% commission inclusive of transaction charges from the payment gateways.
This model ensures that no content is hidden from anyone and if a creator is producing quality content, they are guaranteed to be supported by beneficiaries on a willing donor basis.
It is vital that education tool providers continue innovating for the benefit of the learner.
Example Profile and Donate Button: https://mathsgee.com/user/MathsGee