Malaysia’s Prime Minister had announced the prolonged Movement Controlled Order (MCO) for another 14 days until 14 April. At the same time, Singapore has announced additional measures to curb COVID-19 that is to ban all large gatherings and suspending all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes. Given that having face-to-face classes is the livelihood for most of us who run learning centres, we definitely feel a great negative impact to our business.
Hence, a support session participated by 160+ learning centre operators was organised via Zoom and moderated by Dr Darren Gouk; founder of AOneSchools – learning centre software providers in Southeast Asia. You may find our full discussion here.
One of the major discussion topics is definitely focused on Online Teaching & e-Learning.
All centre operators agreed that there is a need to shift from offline to online teaching and learning. This is following the current market trend where schools are utilising online platforms to make up for daily lessons during this lockdown period. Some online sources also encourage parents and teachers to use online platforms to ensure their children don’t miss out on their studies and school work.
Having said this, it is important to note that all learning centre operators must urgently take action to switch their offline content to online.There are already many existing online platforms that provides content for students to learn from. As a result, parents may freeze or withdraw their children from your centre and substitute the classes with an online provider. Therefore, we should pivot fast and switch to online as soon as possible. Focus on those parents who are ready to engage in online learning and maximise our effort there.
From the discussion, several notable platforms that can facilitate e-learning were mentioned – Google Classroom, Zoom, Skype, AOneSchools Online Classroom. While content providers mentioned were iLearnAce, Udemy, SmartJen and 学而思. Please note that not all brands mentioned are free of charge to use while some might only incur a fee for a more premium package. AOneSchools is not in any way affiliated to the brands above besides our own AOneSchools Online Classroom.
Online learning can be used beyond the typical classroom arrangement. Several music centre owners have conducted various classes through Zoom. For example, a Piano lesson provider uploads pre-recorded videos to Youtube for music instrument teaching. Students are required to watch these videos before their online class for a more engaging class. Parents are loving this initiative as they get to see first-hand what their children have been learning all this time. You can view how does our partner Taekwondo lesson provider – Azzumaar Learning Centre, conduct taekwondo lesson for their student online.
The adoption rate (parents who agreed to online learning) is about 60% to 85% depending on the type of lessons that is provided. However, experience sharing from several centre operators reveal that common friction faced are parents are not as keen to allow their younger children to use a laptop or tablet to learn and they do not believe that e-learning will as effective as offline lessons.
To tackle these issues, you need to address the initial aim of parents sending their children for lessons in the first place – that is to learn and improve on a certain subject or skill. If their children’s learning curve is suddenly disrupted, they might not be able to catch up in the future. Highlight to them the importance of continuing their education even in such difficult time. Besides that, you may suggest parents to sit with their younger children and assist them in the first few online classes and see whether they are able to cope with it. A typical big classroom setting can also be split into smaller groups with shorter sessions.
All parties must recognise that this is now an ad-hoc response towards an emergency outbreak. Both parents and teachers alike have to deal with an entirely different schedule and cope with the adjustment during this period. This is the time where all centres start to come with a plan of unorthodox teaching.
Once centre operators are aware and ready to take their lessons online, there are a few things to note of:
- A proper standard operating procedure (SOP) must be prepared for both parents / students and teachers.
- This includes a guideline for parents / students to follow on how to join (log in) the platform that you are using, how they can download the material that you have prepared and how to troubleshoot unforeseen technical issues. Knowing your client’s demographic will help you to gauge better the extend of guideline that you need to prepare.
- Teachers must be well trained to manage an online classroom
- Teachers must have adequate IT competency to conduct an online lesson. This includes knowing how to troubleshoot basic problems such as lack of audio or video. Teachers must also be well versed enough to manage the classroom. This is different from handling a physical face-to-face class as different challenges will occur. For example, teachers must address a student’s misbehaviour with the correct etiquette and proper action for it to be effective.
- Keeping students engaged throughout the session.
- It is crucial for teachers to use a wide variety of tools to ensure that students are constantly engaged throughout the entire session such as creating quizzes, watching Youtube videos and etc. These are then carried out in a timely manner, minimising buffer time. One tuition centre owner-operator suggested that an online class should still encompass all three elements of learning (Visual, Audio, Kinaesthetic). To do so, a video call would engage students via visual and audio while having them to raise their hands or fingers to answer a question will trigger the kinaesthetic element.
From our side, AOneSchools has launched our Online Classroom Tool (powered by Heyhi). Within this tool, teachers and instructors can fully maximise the whiteboard function, coupled with unlimited duration of audio + videos, together with the worksheet attachment feature.
As well, you can also manage your learning centre operation works from home, for instance:
- Issue e-receipts for payments (paperless)
- Send announcements to parents and students
- Class scheduling and make-up class arrangement
- Take attendance etc.
Parents and students can make payment in their mobile apps. Automate the lesson fee collection & safe guard your cash flow!
In addition, you can get Government subsidy up to 50% of subscription fees (capped at RM 5000/company) on AOneSchools.
Finally, continue to offer e-Learning to your students. While you might experience some resistance from parents, having some students is clearly better than having no students at all. In the long run if this continues, parents will not have the luxury of choosing not to join online classes as this will be the only option for education.
The education industry will continue to survive as the market is always there. It is just how agile we can be to change our business model and adapt to current time.