Online classes are steadily gaining popularity. One can remotely and conveniently take any class that would boost their skills in a variety of areas. But finding a good instructor might be a problem – it takes a lot of studying of reviews or relying on the word of mouth. Alexander Kuzmin, founder of the Talentsy platform, explains how a single website for online training facilitates the search, and what advantages this startup has.
Online learning is a popular trend
Alexander Kuzmin is not new to online projects, having been engaged in online marketing and web analytics for 10 years before opening his own platform, which aggregates more than a hundred educational courses for women. This is how he noticed that the popularity of online training is growing rapidly. This trend is also confirmed by research. According to experts, online education turnover grows at 15-20% a year, and by 2021, the number of people studying online is predicted to reach 2.6% of Russia’s educational market. For comparison, in 2016, this figure was only 1.1%.
Alexander realized that online training is a very promising niche. He also noticed that, compared with numerous offers of business and technology education on the internet, there was a shortage of classes related to creativity and hobbies. By that time, Kuzmin had extensive experience in educational projects, which he helped attract clients. He also had helped develop online classes in internet marketing, so he had a good idea of how the distance learning system works and what high-quality classes should be like.
He decided to build a platform for initiators of educational programs to promote their products. The project aggregated a variety of online classes on one website. All the offers had one thing in common though – they focused on hobbies and creativity. So the instructors got a platform for the presentation of their products, and the visitors, a large selection of interesting and relevant training programs.
In July 2017, Alexander and his team created Talentsy, a platform where users can find an activity that will strike a chord with them and unlock their talents, hence the name. Women are the main target audience and the most popular topics include fashion, beauty, handicrafts and other creative activities. In addition to selling courses, the company’s income comes from sponsoring workshops and developing turn-key online schools.
Talentsy is based in Moscow and has 57 employees. According to the company statistics, over 10K people complete their courses over one year while the total number of students is over 100K people per month. Developers are constantly looking for new partners, removing some courses and adding new ones. Currently, the website offers more than 100 courses on a great variety of subjects, from beauty industry to personal development. The creators also want to attract students from other countries and build a community of like-minded people who can share their experience.
Unlock talents and find harmony
Speaking about choosing the niche, Alexander pointed out two aspects. The first aspect concerns business and marketing. When he started, there were not so many full-fledged online courses that would teach everything from basics to exclusive knowledge and professional life hacks. The creators decided that the concept of accumulating study materials on fashion, creativity, hobbies and beauty in one place has a great potential. Female users could choose several areas of interest. For example, after learning how to knit, they would go on to study scrapbooking or floristry; or they could complement their fashion styling knowledge with accessory-making or makeup skills.
The second goal was more abstract and high-minded. Alexander believes that every person should have creativity in their life to feel harmony. It is very important to help people to find an activity to their liking. By doing something they like, people find inner balance, unlock their talents and abilities. Alexander wanted to create a platform where anybody would be able to realize their potential and make their life and world around them more beautiful.
Users can provide information about themselves such as marital status, income level and interests so that the website could pinpoint suitable activities out of dozens of courses.
Professionals help other professionals
According to the platform creators, their project is unique in its own way. They hand-pick course authors and are committed to quality content. In order to make sure students achieve the promised result and enjoy the learning process, all instructors are professionals in their respective fields.
The Talentsy team does not simply provide course authors a platform for publishing but is a full-fledged co-creator of commercial supply and educational content. Scriptwriters and teaching experts help the authors to present their courses in the most attractive and comprehensible manner. Course programs are developed for students who want to learn a skill from scratch. Before buying a course, website users can review the detailed lesson plan.
The team also has a film crew with a director. Their task is to make quality educational videos. Alexander is proud to note that the lessons on their website are closer to films than to YouTube videos. The goal is the same: to make a lesson simple, useful and illustrative so that the customer who purchased the course would be able to learn the new skill fast and in an efficient way. Since most of the programs are not only about learning new information, but also about practicing skills, the visual aspect is an important part of online learning.
Turning hobby into a career
Educational courses offer something more than information about various hobbies and skills. Upon the payment, the customer receives information materials. For instance, the denim fabric painting course goes with a box with fabrics, brushes and paints. Students do not have to bother with purchasing materials for practice and spend extra money. They also receive a list of useful textbooks.
The website also offers free content such as promotional videos, behind the scene videos, plus photos with the course authors and their students. Website visitors can also join free master classes.
The Talentsy courses not just offer students to learn a new hobby. The developers thought of the possibility to monetize the new skills. According to Alexander, his project is “a talent foundry.” There are homework assignments and tests, as well as a ranking system. Expert graduates receive certificates and an opportunity to receive orders at the internal job fair with the participation of the platform’s partners such as HR agencies and companies that are interested in certain services or handmade items.
By Christina Firsova