And the Future of Online Teaching
“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson”
If you have landed here, we’d like to thank you for your time. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did putting it together.
Now like all stories, lets’s step back.
The History Of Learning
The journey of education and learning dates back to prehistoric times. Perhaps the earliest notion of a school was developed in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom under the direction of it’s oldest Pharaoh (King). For the first time then, adults began training the young in the knowledge deemed essential to survive in society along with the advancement of culture and tradition.
In pre-literate societies, this was achieved in a large part through imitation and oral dissemination. Thus, stories from one generation carried such knowledge and values to another in the quest for universal literacy.
However, unlike more commonly available resources, education was by far restricted to the elite. For example, in Mesopotamia, only royal offspring and sons of the rich and professionals such as scribes, physicians and temple administrators were schooled. Most were taught trade or were apprenticed to learn a trade. Young girls were confined to their homes as mothers learnt housekeeping.
The first schools in Ancient Rome arose by the middle of the 4th century BC.
School of Aristotle, Before Christ
In the Islamic civilisation that spread all the way between China and Spain during the time between the 7th and 9th centuries, schooling began from a mosque in Medina, largely around religious and spiritual texts.
In ancient India, education was mainly imparted through the Vedic and Buddhist education system — it’s goal at length to develop a person’s character, master the art of self-control, social awareness and to carry forward and conserve the ancient Indian culture.
In China, accounting to legendary accounts, the first instance of learning was established in 23 BC. Years later during the Xia dynasty, the Chinese government built schools to educate aristocrats about rituals, literature and archery.
For a long time, cultures advanced but mindsets didn’t. Knowledge moved from one community to the other, devoid of any method to the madness.
The concept of a university finally emerged during the 12th century, where the main purpose was to teach the Latin language. This led to the term ‘grammar school’, following which the curriculum broadened to include vernacular languages as well as technical, artistic, scientific and practical subjects.
The First Instance Of Academic Freedom
The first true university in the West was founded at Bologna late in the 11th century, becoming a widely respected school of canon and civil law.
Subsequently universities in what we now call modern-day Europe were free to govern themselves, where students and masters together elected their own curricula and methods of teaching. As the price of independence, universities had to finance themselves, as a result of which teachers charged their students fees.
Thus arrived the concept of paid, modern-day learning.
The University We Know
The earliest American institutions of higher learning were the four-year colleges of Harvard (1636), William and Mary (1693), Yale (1701), Princeton (1746) and King’s College (1754), now known as Columbia University.
As the frontier of the United States moved westward, hundreds of new colleges were founded, thereby giving rise to hundreds more across the world, some piggybacking on similar models while some pioneering entirely new ones and assuming aggregate control of their respective teaching fraternities.
The power of access and knowledge dissemination thus moved irreversibly from the creator to the university.
However, with this transfer of power and with the pursuit to structure the best resources on one hand while attracting the world’s best talent to its programs on the other, these universities were remarkably slow in the adoption of technology and innovation.
As a result, learning at universities gravitated towards a reward-basedapproach, or in other words — a job centric path to a conventionally defined corporate career, giving rise to monumental tuition and travel expenses, and undue dependence on pre-determined on-campus placements as opposed to independent, entrepreneurial, desire-based learning.
Era Of The Internet
Prior to the world of digital, instructors were reliant on in-person classes, coaching sessions, and retreats to earn from their students–a painfully challenging, expensive and unscalable approach that often caused them to seek different types of work altogether, or simply a day job outside of their core focus area.
With the advent of the internet, video-based educators and creators flocked to marketplaces such as YouTube or Vimeo to distribute their lessons for free, which garnered viewership in large portions albeit at the cost of control, transparency and lacklustre monetisation.
An unevenly distributed mine of content on YouTube and other marketplace platforms owing to its bundled nature soaked the consumer in an information deluge. Not only did this deteriorate the process of discovery but also created a large dent in the economics of creators’ businesses.
So What’s the Solution?
Mindful of the creator and consumer problem, we are in the process of building a first-of-its-kind platform — called CentreStage, to address the aforementioned challenges.
We aim to create for you — the true creators and tutors, an independent, own-it-all service to earn from your lessons while doing what you do best – simply create.
When launched, CentreStage will allow creators and teachers to earn by directly reaching consumers that value their lessons, in the form of a paid-video lesson.
Simply put, our platform will offer –
- A 100% free & customised webpage with your name on it to conduct as many video lessons you like. Think of this as your very own website – your home – independent from any other academic platform or contract
- A simple yet best-in-class tool to have your lessons scheduled at your convenience, or office hours
- A best-in-class tool to conduct Live on-one-one lessons or one-to-manylessons instantly, and record them too
- A 100% free and seamless payments integration solution to start earning from any or all of your video lessons, fully controlled by you
- A pricing tool that provides complete control on what you charge your subscribers for all your lessons. We will never interfere in how you price them
- Platform tools to instantly share your lesson links on existing social media pages
- A 100% free mailing list to push your Recorded Live lessons to your customers’ emails
- An opportunity for you to develop and fully manage a direct relationship with your customers without any platform or algorithm governing it
So what’s the catch? Well, none. Really.
At the core of it, CentreStage will earn only if you charge your customers for your lessons — only when they pay you.
- Our platform will take a small portion of the lesson fees or subscription revenue you charge your customers. No other hidden charges. When you make money, we make money.
- As a creator or teacher, you will be able to bring over your existing audience from various social media websites — by simply sharing your Video or Live session links.
- You will be able to instantly interact and communicate with your subscribers via our platform DMs or do a Q&A during Live sessions
- To ensure full customer attention and value, we will never run ads on your platform. We believe quality learning should rightfully command its due price
To the most important question…
Why Go Paid and Unbundled?
We believe personalised, curated and paid-for lessons and Live sessions mean less entertainment and distraction, and more value-based learning. Paid-for lessons allow for a direct-relationship between the creator and consumer, thereby enabling informed choices for subsequent creation.
More importantly because with such a model, subscribers now have the ability to choose a creator-led offering that is economical, more convenient, way more technical and more aligned to their choices.
Why Teach Live?
While recorded lessons are a good pre-cursor for skill development, we strongly believe in the power of personal touch. No form of education is complete without a Live lesson — where subscribers can hone their acquired knowledge far better while directly interacting with instructors.
More importantly, if you are someone who can create more value in the moment rather than build curated videos, we are on the same page.
So Who Will Ultimately Create on CentreStage?
If you think you are a top teacher or creator in any subject and want to turn your passion into a profitable, sustainable and independent business, come join our early access program here. We will be in touch with you.
Be it a dancer, coder, fitness enthusiast, chess-master, public speaker, finance guru, physics professor, math wizard, chef, spiritual coach, healer, painter, singer, musician, wellness coach– or anyone else –
if you have a teacher in you, we’ve got it going.
At the outset, paid lessons will help creators sustain the dramatic innovation instead of ad-supported, low-discoverable, free videos on marketplaces, or for that matter video lessons whose monetisation is governed by aggregator platforms with low to zero pass-through transparency.
We are at a critically interesting point in time — a striking moment of unbundling — where the old game will be out, and the world of opportunity will open —
— a world where every creator is an independent entrepreneur and a business in itself. In this moment, the platform will go backstage as you take control.
How We See The Future Of Learning
Up until now, the world has been schooled – not educated. Our systems have elicited more generalists and learners with peripheral knowledge, with lesser and lesser access to creators as marketplaces have ballooned into non-ROI focused views and likes.
As times change and creators successfully unbundle their works from marketplaces, a drastic knowledge shift will occur. Video-based learning will become a norm and not an alternative, with preference given to skills rather than credentials on a resume.
In addition to history, math and civics, a new chapter will be written where parents will want their children to adopt a customised learning path that embraces freedom at the same time.
Designing a video game or analysing stock markets will become a common phenomenon in the very early stages of a child’s professional journey.
Whereas completely absent in traditional curricula, soft skills such as networking, purpose seeking, empathy, executive communication, teamwork and core leadership will finally find adequate spotlight through creators who could never run an offline class or be discovered on other platforms.
And then, beyond the thousands who are newly unemployed owing to the Covid 19 scenario, there are thousands of us who are working from home, concerned about our jobs, and exploring ways to diversify earnings. This is our chance to share our knowledge, to create a lasting impact and change how the world learns. Together.
At CentreStage, we do not rest any claim on whether this approach will find success for every type of creator or teacher, but there is a tremendous chance that someone focused on holistic health will find as many paid subscribers, if not more, as a seasoned coder or finance charter holder. Why? Because the world wants to learn more. The world wants to learn beyond the conventional. The world wants to go beyond school.
All in all, what we define as Gen Z will most likely skip traditional college and traditional courses altogether.
It is already beginning to. No more high tuition fees, daily offline classrooms or stringent time-commitments. No more text books.
Learning will therefore transition from a time-oriented, outcome focused measure to a lifelong, infinite game at the mercy of a direct and personalised creator-learner relationship.
This is how it was always supposed to be.
So Then, Our Mission
So what do we truly stand for at the end of this, then?
We a have resolute, single-minded mission of empowering creators across every teachable skillset — by democratising what they need to run independent video creation businesses and create their own mini media empires.
Irrespective of the addressable market, if you have an undying passion to teach — even if you are a single person creating for a niche audience, we’d love to speak here.
After all, at the core of our belief lies the fact that a 100 serious, paying subscribers are better than a million fledgling viewers.
A subscription based lesson delivered personally to your customers’ mailboxes might not enjoy the breadth of YouTube, but will certainly provide your subscribers a much greater and deeper avenue to understand and subsequently master something— be it a yoga class, a swim stroke, a stats lecture, a coding assignment, a photography lesson, a dog-training guide, or simply a summary of the week’s Covid-19 news.
When it blossoms, this unbundled subscription based model will change the way people learn online, thereby changing the way how the next generation of scientists, thinkers, executives, artists and political analysts shape up society, much like the new hospitality industry was shaped by AirBnb, or the new ride-hailing industry by Uber, Ola and Lyft, or the new journalism industry by Substack.
When fully ripe, the aggregate value created by you — the creators, will hopefully surpass that of many marketplaces your lessons rest on at the mercy of advertising or half-baked views.
When it happens, it is not the platform but the Creator – who will take CentreStage.
If you are a passionate instructor who wants to start a sustainable business today, we’d love to start a conversation with you here