Divya Haritwal

Product Growth
Strategy
Retention
June 13, 2024

Divya Haritwal

June 13, 2024
Product Growth
Strategy
Retention

Boosting Retention, Referrals and Renewals in EdTech: The Community Way

In an article, MoEngage reported 27% retention for the edtech industry. This is interesting because around 60-70% of profits come from existing customers compared to 5-20% from first-time buyers.

With the increase in virtual and hybrid learning models, communities are not just an add-on; they are essential for boosting purchases, retention, and renewals in the edtech sector. Let's dive into the "why" and "how" of building these communities to supercharge your edtech business.

The Power of Community in EdTech

Community-driven engagement is a game-changer for edtech companies. It’s well-known that the edtech industry faces a significant challenge with retention rates. According to a now archived article by TechCrunch, many edtech platforms experience a steep drop-off after the initial sign-up phase, with retention rates often falling below 10%. This alarming number highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to keep users engaged.

One of the most effective ways to prevent this is fostering a strong, active community within your edtech product. A well-integrated community can drastically improve engagement, making learning more interactive and enjoyable.

Why Build Community in EdTech?

By integrating peer-to-peer interactions through cohort groups, doubt discussion chats, resource feeders, etc, the experience becomes more than just passive consumption of content and instead creates a sense of belonging and continuous interaction that keeps users coming back.

Let’s look at the benefits of community from a business PoV as well:

Increased Course Purchases

Communities create a buzz around new courses, encouraging more users to purchase and enroll. When learners see their peers signing up, they're more likely to join in. For instance, a well-curated discussion forum or chat group can serve as a space where users discuss upcoming courses, share their experiences, and offer recommendations. This social proof is powerful in driving new purchases.

Communities can also serve as a channel to boost new business through referral benefitting all 3 sides of the transaction.

Program Completion

Social learning environments foster motivation and accountability. Learners are more likely to complete programs when they feel part of a supportive network. A community that celebrates milestones, offers peer support and provides a platform for learners to ask questions and share their progress can significantly enhance completion rates. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, learners in community-oriented environments are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher program completion rates.

Renewals

A strong community can significantly improve renewal rates. When learners are part of a thriving community, they see the value in staying subscribed to access ongoing discussions, support, and new content. Renewal decisions are often influenced by the perceived ongoing value of the subscription. A vibrant community that continuously engages users provides this perceived value, making renewals more likely.

App Opens and Engagement

Communities drive daily app opens and interactions. Regular notifications about community activities, discussions, and peer progress keep users coming back. For example, platforms like Duolingo send notifications about friend activities, encouraging users to maintain their learning streaks and engage with the app daily.

Better Learning Outcomes

Collaborative learning often leads to deeper understanding and retention of material. When students can discuss and debate concepts, they grasp the material more thoroughly. Peer discussions and collaborative projects in a community setting lead to better learning outcomes compared to solitary study.

Customer Satisfaction

A vibrant community adds immense value to the user experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth referrals. When learners feel supported and connected, they are more likely to have a positive experience and recommend the platform to others.

It also reduces the need for CX outreach or a request for time of a teaching assistant, since another community member often answers small issues or questions.

EdTech Community Use Cases Across Different Segments

While the primary idea behind ed-tech is classrooms without geographical limitations, the segment itself is vast. Let’s look at the different subsets of ed-tech and how they can utlize a community to boost their business outcomes.

K-12 Education

Platforms for younger learners can utilize communities for peer discussions, homework help, and group projects. For instance, a community feed where students share their projects or ask for help with assignments can enhance learning and engagement.

K-12 can also benefit from having a community for parents specifically for elementary and primary students where students as well as parents can benefit from having more connected learning experiences as the young learners figure out their academic and outside interests and skills.

Tools like ClassDojo have successfully implemented community features to keep students, teachers, and parents engaged and connected.

Higher Education (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)

Higher education platforms can create study groups, discussion forums, and Q&A sessions with professors. This fosters a collaborative learning environment that complements traditional coursework.

Platforms like Piazza allow students to ask questions and engage in discussions, enhancing their understanding and retention of the material.

Skill-Based Learning (e.g., Photography, Product Management, etc.)

Skill-specific platforms can benefit immensely from user-generated content and peer reviews. A community where learners share their work, give and receive feedback, and collaborate on projects can keep users engaged and motivated.

For example, platforms like Skillshare have community forums where users can share their projects and receive feedback from peers.

EdTech Marketplaces (e.g., Udemy, Teachable)

These platforms can leverage communities for course reviews, study groups, and peer mentoring. A community feed where learners discuss course content and share insights can enhance the learning experience and drive engagement.

Coursera has implemented community features that allow learners to join discussion forums related to their courses, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Examples of Successful Community-Driven EdTech Ventures

Almost every ed-tech that I have ever experienced leans towards having some form of community features. Some of these have community features baked into their core offerings while others rely on 3rd party platforms to host their communities separately. Let’s dive in and look at some of the examples:

Duolingo

The brand is a hallmark of how to build a behemoth on the back of the community. This language-learning platform has successfully integrated community features such as discussion forums, leaderboards, and user-generated content.

These features not only make learning fun but also create a sense of competition and camaraderie among users, driving higher engagement and retention rates. Duolingo's forums allow users to discuss language topics, ask questions, and share learning tips, creating a supportive and engaging community.

Khan Academy

Another edtech giant, which has integrated discussion threads and community features into its platform. Students can ask questions and get answers from peers and teachers, enhancing their understanding of the material and keeping them engaged.

Uolo

Uolo is another excellent example of a community-driven edtech platform. Uolo connects schools, teachers, students, and parents in a single platform, fostering a collaborative learning environment. The community features allow teachers to share updates, assignments, and feedback with students and parents, creating a comprehensive support system that enhances student engagement and learning.

Airblack

Airblack is a platform that focuses on live courses for skill development, particularly in areas like makeup and culinary arts. The platform’s community features include live interactions, group discussions, and peer feedback, which keep learners engaged and motivated. The sense of community helps learners stay committed to their courses and enhances the overall learning experience.

Classplus

Classplus provides a mobile-first platform for educators to manage their classes and engage with students. The platform’s community features enable teachers to create groups, share content, and interact with students, fostering a sense of community and continuous engagement. This not only helps in retaining students but also in ensuring they complete their courses.

How to Build a Community: Example Use Cases

Now that we have established reasons as well as successful examples, let’s see how you can build a community for your ed-tech product. We’ll cover some examples of approaches for building an edtech community so that you can further decide better what kind of platform to choose, the strategy to have, what kind of use cases to focus on, and so on. Let’s dive in:

Cohort-Based Communities

Purpose: To create a sense of belonging and foster peer support among learners who are progressing through a course together.

Example Formats:

  1. Bootcamps and Intensive Programs: Platforms like Lambda School use cohort-based models where students start and finish programs together, providing mutual support and motivation.
  2. Skill Development Courses: For instance, Airblack organizes cohort-based sessions for makeup and culinary arts, allowing learners to interact, collaborate, and share progress within their cohort.

Benefits

- Enhances motivation through peer accountability.

- Facilitates networking and collaboration.

- Increases program completion rates by fostering a support system.

Live Sessions

Purpose: To provide real-time interaction, immediate feedback, and dynamic learning experiences.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Live Tutoring and Q&A Sessions: Platforms like Chegg Tutors offer live sessions where students can get immediate help and feedback on their questions.
  2. Interactive Workshops: Airblack conducts live interactive workshops, allowing learners to engage directly with instructors and peers.

Benefits:

- Offers immediate problem-solving and clarification of doubts.

- Enhances engagement through real-time interaction.

- Allows for personalized learning experiences.

Discussion Forums

Purpose: To facilitate asynchronous communication, allowing learners to discuss topics, share resources, and seek help at their own pace.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Course-Specific Forums: Coursera and edX have discussion forums where learners can discuss course material, share insights, and ask questions.
  2. Subject-Based Communities: Khan Academy's discussion threads allow students to ask questions and engage in conversations related to specific subjects.

Benefits:

- Provides a platform for continuous learning and interaction.

- Enables learners to access a wealth of shared knowledge and resources.

- Encourages collaboration and peer learning.

Peer Mentorship Programs

Purpose: To connect learners with mentors for guidance, support, and knowledge sharing.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Alumni Mentorship Programs: Universities often connect current students with alumni mentors for career advice and support.
  2. Skill-Based Mentorship: Platforms like Codecademy offer mentorship programs where advanced learners guide beginners through coding challenges.

Benefits:

- Provides personalized guidance and support.

- Enhances learning through real-world insights and advice.

- Builds lasting relationships within the learning community.

Conclusion

Building a thriving community is not just a nice-to-have for edtech companies; it’s a necessity. By fostering a sense of belonging and continuous interaction, you can significantly boost purchases, retention, and renewals.

Whether you’re targeting K-12 students, college learners, or professionals honing new skills, a well-integrated community can transform your edtech platform into a dynamic and engaging learning environment. So, start building your community today and watch your edtech venture flourish.

Incorporating a community into your edtech platform is a strategic move that can lead to better learning outcomes, higher customer satisfaction, and sustained growth. By following the strategies outlined above, you can create a vibrant community that not only enhances the learning experience but also drives the success of your business.

About LikeMinds

LikeMinds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

Supercharge your retention with in-app social features

Deploy customised features on top of chat and feed in 15 minutes using LikeMinds SDK.

Contact us to schedule a demo!
Image showing Resource Library, which is a inApp feed usecase.

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Boosting Retention, Referrals and Renewals in EdTech: The Community Way

Divya Haritwal
/
June 13, 2024
/

In an article, MoEngage reported 27% retention for the edtech industry. This is interesting because around 60-70% of profits come from existing customers compared to 5-20% from first-time buyers.

With the increase in virtual and hybrid learning models, communities are not just an add-on; they are essential for boosting purchases, retention, and renewals in the edtech sector. Let's dive into the "why" and "how" of building these communities to supercharge your edtech business.

The Power of Community in EdTech

Community-driven engagement is a game-changer for edtech companies. It’s well-known that the edtech industry faces a significant challenge with retention rates. According to a now archived article by TechCrunch, many edtech platforms experience a steep drop-off after the initial sign-up phase, with retention rates often falling below 10%. This alarming number highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to keep users engaged.

One of the most effective ways to prevent this is fostering a strong, active community within your edtech product. A well-integrated community can drastically improve engagement, making learning more interactive and enjoyable.

Why Build Community in EdTech?

By integrating peer-to-peer interactions through cohort groups, doubt discussion chats, resource feeders, etc, the experience becomes more than just passive consumption of content and instead creates a sense of belonging and continuous interaction that keeps users coming back.

Let’s look at the benefits of community from a business PoV as well:

Increased Course Purchases

Communities create a buzz around new courses, encouraging more users to purchase and enroll. When learners see their peers signing up, they're more likely to join in. For instance, a well-curated discussion forum or chat group can serve as a space where users discuss upcoming courses, share their experiences, and offer recommendations. This social proof is powerful in driving new purchases.

Communities can also serve as a channel to boost new business through referral benefitting all 3 sides of the transaction.

Program Completion

Social learning environments foster motivation and accountability. Learners are more likely to complete programs when they feel part of a supportive network. A community that celebrates milestones, offers peer support and provides a platform for learners to ask questions and share their progress can significantly enhance completion rates. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, learners in community-oriented environments are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher program completion rates.

Renewals

A strong community can significantly improve renewal rates. When learners are part of a thriving community, they see the value in staying subscribed to access ongoing discussions, support, and new content. Renewal decisions are often influenced by the perceived ongoing value of the subscription. A vibrant community that continuously engages users provides this perceived value, making renewals more likely.

App Opens and Engagement

Communities drive daily app opens and interactions. Regular notifications about community activities, discussions, and peer progress keep users coming back. For example, platforms like Duolingo send notifications about friend activities, encouraging users to maintain their learning streaks and engage with the app daily.

Better Learning Outcomes

Collaborative learning often leads to deeper understanding and retention of material. When students can discuss and debate concepts, they grasp the material more thoroughly. Peer discussions and collaborative projects in a community setting lead to better learning outcomes compared to solitary study.

Customer Satisfaction

A vibrant community adds immense value to the user experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth referrals. When learners feel supported and connected, they are more likely to have a positive experience and recommend the platform to others.

It also reduces the need for CX outreach or a request for time of a teaching assistant, since another community member often answers small issues or questions.

EdTech Community Use Cases Across Different Segments

While the primary idea behind ed-tech is classrooms without geographical limitations, the segment itself is vast. Let’s look at the different subsets of ed-tech and how they can utlize a community to boost their business outcomes.

K-12 Education

Platforms for younger learners can utilize communities for peer discussions, homework help, and group projects. For instance, a community feed where students share their projects or ask for help with assignments can enhance learning and engagement.

K-12 can also benefit from having a community for parents specifically for elementary and primary students where students as well as parents can benefit from having more connected learning experiences as the young learners figure out their academic and outside interests and skills.

Tools like ClassDojo have successfully implemented community features to keep students, teachers, and parents engaged and connected.

Higher Education (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)

Higher education platforms can create study groups, discussion forums, and Q&A sessions with professors. This fosters a collaborative learning environment that complements traditional coursework.

Platforms like Piazza allow students to ask questions and engage in discussions, enhancing their understanding and retention of the material.

Skill-Based Learning (e.g., Photography, Product Management, etc.)

Skill-specific platforms can benefit immensely from user-generated content and peer reviews. A community where learners share their work, give and receive feedback, and collaborate on projects can keep users engaged and motivated.

For example, platforms like Skillshare have community forums where users can share their projects and receive feedback from peers.

EdTech Marketplaces (e.g., Udemy, Teachable)

These platforms can leverage communities for course reviews, study groups, and peer mentoring. A community feed where learners discuss course content and share insights can enhance the learning experience and drive engagement.

Coursera has implemented community features that allow learners to join discussion forums related to their courses, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Examples of Successful Community-Driven EdTech Ventures

Almost every ed-tech that I have ever experienced leans towards having some form of community features. Some of these have community features baked into their core offerings while others rely on 3rd party platforms to host their communities separately. Let’s dive in and look at some of the examples:

Duolingo

The brand is a hallmark of how to build a behemoth on the back of the community. This language-learning platform has successfully integrated community features such as discussion forums, leaderboards, and user-generated content.

These features not only make learning fun but also create a sense of competition and camaraderie among users, driving higher engagement and retention rates. Duolingo's forums allow users to discuss language topics, ask questions, and share learning tips, creating a supportive and engaging community.

Khan Academy

Another edtech giant, which has integrated discussion threads and community features into its platform. Students can ask questions and get answers from peers and teachers, enhancing their understanding of the material and keeping them engaged.

Uolo

Uolo is another excellent example of a community-driven edtech platform. Uolo connects schools, teachers, students, and parents in a single platform, fostering a collaborative learning environment. The community features allow teachers to share updates, assignments, and feedback with students and parents, creating a comprehensive support system that enhances student engagement and learning.

Airblack

Airblack is a platform that focuses on live courses for skill development, particularly in areas like makeup and culinary arts. The platform’s community features include live interactions, group discussions, and peer feedback, which keep learners engaged and motivated. The sense of community helps learners stay committed to their courses and enhances the overall learning experience.

Classplus

Classplus provides a mobile-first platform for educators to manage their classes and engage with students. The platform’s community features enable teachers to create groups, share content, and interact with students, fostering a sense of community and continuous engagement. This not only helps in retaining students but also in ensuring they complete their courses.

How to Build a Community: Example Use Cases

Now that we have established reasons as well as successful examples, let’s see how you can build a community for your ed-tech product. We’ll cover some examples of approaches for building an edtech community so that you can further decide better what kind of platform to choose, the strategy to have, what kind of use cases to focus on, and so on. Let’s dive in:

Cohort-Based Communities

Purpose: To create a sense of belonging and foster peer support among learners who are progressing through a course together.

Example Formats:

  1. Bootcamps and Intensive Programs: Platforms like Lambda School use cohort-based models where students start and finish programs together, providing mutual support and motivation.
  2. Skill Development Courses: For instance, Airblack organizes cohort-based sessions for makeup and culinary arts, allowing learners to interact, collaborate, and share progress within their cohort.

Benefits

- Enhances motivation through peer accountability.

- Facilitates networking and collaboration.

- Increases program completion rates by fostering a support system.

Live Sessions

Purpose: To provide real-time interaction, immediate feedback, and dynamic learning experiences.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Live Tutoring and Q&A Sessions: Platforms like Chegg Tutors offer live sessions where students can get immediate help and feedback on their questions.
  2. Interactive Workshops: Airblack conducts live interactive workshops, allowing learners to engage directly with instructors and peers.

Benefits:

- Offers immediate problem-solving and clarification of doubts.

- Enhances engagement through real-time interaction.

- Allows for personalized learning experiences.

Discussion Forums

Purpose: To facilitate asynchronous communication, allowing learners to discuss topics, share resources, and seek help at their own pace.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Course-Specific Forums: Coursera and edX have discussion forums where learners can discuss course material, share insights, and ask questions.
  2. Subject-Based Communities: Khan Academy's discussion threads allow students to ask questions and engage in conversations related to specific subjects.

Benefits:

- Provides a platform for continuous learning and interaction.

- Enables learners to access a wealth of shared knowledge and resources.

- Encourages collaboration and peer learning.

Peer Mentorship Programs

Purpose: To connect learners with mentors for guidance, support, and knowledge sharing.

Example Use Cases:

  1. Alumni Mentorship Programs: Universities often connect current students with alumni mentors for career advice and support.
  2. Skill-Based Mentorship: Platforms like Codecademy offer mentorship programs where advanced learners guide beginners through coding challenges.

Benefits:

- Provides personalized guidance and support.

- Enhances learning through real-world insights and advice.

- Builds lasting relationships within the learning community.

Conclusion

Building a thriving community is not just a nice-to-have for edtech companies; it’s a necessity. By fostering a sense of belonging and continuous interaction, you can significantly boost purchases, retention, and renewals.

Whether you’re targeting K-12 students, college learners, or professionals honing new skills, a well-integrated community can transform your edtech platform into a dynamic and engaging learning environment. So, start building your community today and watch your edtech venture flourish.

Incorporating a community into your edtech platform is a strategic move that can lead to better learning outcomes, higher customer satisfaction, and sustained growth. By following the strategies outlined above, you can create a vibrant community that not only enhances the learning experience but also drives the success of your business.

About LikeMinds

LikeMinds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

Supercharge your retention with in-app social features

Deploy customised features on top of chat and feed in 15 minutes using LikeMinds SDK.

Let's start!