Yes YOU can Make A Living Teaching English via Skype!

Published: 09th July 2010
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Since Skype burst onto the web scene in the early 2000s, people have recognised its validity as a genuine tool for learning face to face with a teacher online. Not only languages of course, but anything you can think of, from learning guitar to basket weaving.

Its advantages were quite obvious; no travel, learning from the comfort of your own home and greater privacy. Its disadvantages were equally obvious; lack of social interaction, connection problems and the unsettling concept of paying online.

The few 'online webcam schools' that cropped up in the first half of the noughties had to market the novelty of learning live at the computer heavily to an uninformed audience - bigging up the convenience and future-chic of it all.

One of those schools, which is still in business, is 'Talk To Canada'. I have noticed that they seem to have made an effective transition from marketing the medium to marketing their service.

This was a natural process. As we enter the 2010s, the novelty of learning live online with a teacher via webcam has subsided somewhat, leaving Skype and similar technologies as a level playing field for those who wish to tackle the task of effective marketing in order to find willing students.

I have noticed an increase in requests from learners for lessons via Skype. Most are willing to pay something, less are willing to pay the standard private English lesson rates in their country.

But there is a feasible paying market, and I think it is set to grow as the first generation to truly grow up with the Internet comes of age.

Younger people are starting to accept online learning, evident by the increase in online degree courses from major universities. Paying online is no longer such a thorny issue now that we have Paypal and similar systems.

There is still an intrinsic reason why a student would want to learn English via Skype; inability to travel, lack of native speakers in their area, or a demanding work schedule . Therefore, it has to be viewed as an effective alternative to regular lessons, not a replacement.

The hottest markets? Live online learning is quite popular in Japan and even more so in South Korea, where they have one of the best broadband networks in the world. In Europe, companies in France have been using online education providers to train their employees since the late 90s.

The worst markets? The developing world, where people are still awaiting good broadband and find it more difficult to pay online.

I would say that any teacher could be supplementing their income with some online teaching. There is also scope for building up an entire business out of it. If you wish to do the latter, you will have to do your research and a great deal of ground work.

Click here if you wish to learn more about how to go about setting yourself up as a successful online teacher. It is a link to a useful ebook that has some real insider knowledge that helped me get my first students.

Apart from that ebook, there appears to be so little information on this topic on the web that if you are successful building up your own online business, why not write your own book telling others how you did it or start a blog? I am sure there would be an extra buck or two in that!

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