By Otavio Dias, CEO of Repense
At a time when social distancing and quarantine are part of our daily reality, many people have taken advantage of their time at home to specialize and develop skills. For these reasons, the infoproduct that grew the most with the pandemic was digital courses.
It does not matter the area of activity (Economics, Finance, Education, Marketing, Human Development, Business. It also does not matter the profile of the professor (businessmen, executives, academics, philosophers, playwrights, directors, journalists and even actors and celebrities). Boosted due to the pandemic, online courses are here to stay.
Both for the convenience of carrying them out from anywhere, as well as for the convenience of watching them at any time and, as important, for the boom in the use of video conferencing platforms (Zoom, Teams, Meet, among others) that, due to the circumstances, inserted themselves in people's lives (individuals and legal entities), breaking possible barriers, fears or prejudices with online interaction - opening space for the consecration of E-Learning.
The truth is that distance learning courses – in particular free and extension courses – were already in constant development even before the pandemic, which only anticipated and accelerated its consolidation. It is already a consensus – even in schools and universities – that there is no possibility for the teaching format to return to exactly the same as before.
With the society being more digital than ever and totally familiar with video communication, the possibility of creating courses for any and all topics was opened: Generalist, segmented, behavioral or absolutely technical.
One of the biggest references in online courses in the world is MasterClass. With the promise of bringing people closer to their greatest idols through learning, the Californian startup offers live and pre-recorded classes with celebrities about their professions.
With a monthly subscription, you can learn tennis with Serena Williams, cooking with Wolfgang Puck, rhymes and composition with Usher or Fashion and Management with the iconic Anna Wintour. In June 2020, the startup MasterClass raised $100 million in a series investment round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company.
And the numbers are superb in Brazil too. According to INEP (National Institute for Educational Studies and Research "Anísio Teixeira"), about 1.7 million Brazilians enrolled in online courses in 2020.
So far, the biggest trending topics here are Food, Healthy Life, Pets, Business and Career, but this is just the beginning, after all, a multitude of skills (including hobbies), can be easily transformed into digital classes. Just find a spokesperson with charisma and credibility, produce quality content and find an attractive and minimally interactive format, making the online experience pleasant, engaging and as humanized as possible.
Anyone who knows how to take advantage of this wave and offer quality content will have an advantage over their competitors, creating a new scalable revenue for their business and, also, a new relationship strategy with their consumers.
Faber Castell, for example, has been using online courses to position itself as an innovative, entrepreneurial and pioneering brand in the education segment. With more than 930,000 members in the community and 25 courses, the brand offers lessons ranging from Design Thinking, through Lettering to Manga. Some combos and discounts are also offered and please both adults and children. As a result, they generate content that stimulates students' creativity while reinforcing the brand's idea of encouraging people to express their ideas.
Recognized last year for the 17th consecutive year as the #1 brand in the entertainment industry by Fortune's annual ranking of the “most admired brands in the world”, Disney certainly would not fail to join this movement as well. In Brazil, in partnership with the American non-profit organization Khan Academy, the brand launched a free course for Brazilians in the areas of technology, mathematics, science and arts. Focusing on teenagers aged 11 to 18, the course called Imagineering in a Box already has 32 classes taught by Disney designers, also known as "imagineers".
Like Faber Castell and Disney, brands from any and all segments can easily allocate authority and know-how in courses that strengthen the link with their consumers and still contribute positively to society.
A financial institution may, for example, run a financial education course for the C class. A technology company may offer programming courses for young people from the periphery. A cosmetics brand can offer training courses for professional makeup artists.
The sky is the limit. It is enough to have empathy and sensitivity to identify the main needs of the people who relate to your company, establishing the bridge with what it holds of relevant, deep and genuine knowledge.