3 Types of Successful eLearning Business Models by@ashely-john

3 Types of Successful eLearning Business Models

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Ashely John


As people are increasingly looking for convenient and flexible options to learn from the comfort of their homes, eLearning has become a viable path toward acquiring knowledge and education. For subject experts and edupreneurs, the rise in eLearning presents a huge opportunity to establish and grow their businesses—not just to make money but to create a community of loyal students as well.

With eLearning booming, this is the right time for you to build your eLearning business, and to be successful, you have to adopt the right business model.

What is an eLearning business model?

A business model for your elearning business is a framework that encompasses your business plan, monetization strategies, and everything you need to envision the long-term value of your business. Successful eLearning businesses leverage different business models to generate million-dollar revenue.

Let’s look into 3 different types of eLearning business models.

Pay-per class/course model

This business model is the most straightforward business model. Tutors decide a price, and students pay to enroll in the class or buy the online course. Pay-per class business model is perfect for students seeking a specific skill or learning a specific subject. Being the right alternative to physical classroom-based learning, PPC model can be great for a new business looking to build its learner base.


● Allows you to maximize revenue with the quantity and diversity of online courses on your eLearning platform.

● Upselling becomes easy as you can bundle courses of the same niche together.

● Learners are not overwhelmed by the amount of content they have to consume. They can buy courses on an individual basis and just pay for what they need.

● You can charge a high price for single courses based on the value it offers. Making money is easy as prices are on the higher side.


● Needs continuous creation of new content to stabilize your income.

● It is a challenging task to find the right selling price.

Subscription-based model

The subscription-based business model is similar to the Netflix style model, where all course materials on the platform are made available to all students who have paid the subscription fee. Based on your business requirements and goals, you can create 2–3 tiers of subscription or just stick to a single tier.

The business model presents an extensive library of online courses, pre-recorded videos, live classes, and other learning resources.

The subscription model helps in building long-term relationships between the eLearning business and learners. Tutors can cover broad subjects attracting students who are looking to learn multiple skills all in a single package.


● Brings a steady source of revenue with monthly subscription renewals.

● Easy to implement and track the progress.

● You just have to create a single plan for the eLearning offerings.

● Affordable subscription fees attract learners quickly.


● High churn rate as the chance of subscribers leaving the platform is higher.

● Needs more quality content than the previous model as you have to offer great value to retain subscribers.

● To make a decent amount of revenue, you must have a large subscriber base.

Ad-based business model

Not all eLearning websites implement this business model, especially as a primary business model. However, you can find some relevant places for this model to embed on your online tutoring site. You can also integrate ads on videos and other course materials.


● The implementation of this business model is simple.

● Free course materials are enticing to many learners.


● Ads interrupt the eLearning experience and might be distracting to many.

● To make a good amount of money, you need to have a lot of learners using your eLearning platform.

Combined business model

As the name suggests, the combined model is the integration of one or two models discussed above. For example, you can combine pay-per-course along with subscriptions and integrate ads in certain areas. This model is perfect for eLearning businesses that cater to a learner base with diverse interests.

In this business model, as a key offering, you can use the subscription model, and to have versatile add-ons, you can leverage the pay-per-course model or ad-based model, or both.

How to Choose the Best eLearning Business Model?

Now that you have clearly understood the popular eLearning business models, it becomes easy to find the right one for your business. Business models are not one-size-fits-all; the best eLearning business is the one that suits your target audience, satisfies your business requirements, and helps you to achieve your end goals.

But a subscription model should probably be the overall end goal for your eLearning business as it is sustainable and brings recurring revenue.

Here are some tips for choosing the best business model for your eLearning business

Set your business needs, expectations and goals

To choose the right business model that suits your eLearning offerings, you must have a clear idea about your expectations, the needs of your eLearning business, and what are you trying to achieve. To find this, conduct a survey among your target audience, and important people in your organization and do a thorough analysis.

Consider your revenue goals

The key to making money varies with different eLearning business models. This means you have to consider your revenue goals when choosing a business model to power your eLearning services.

Elaborate on the scope of your eLearning offerings

When trying to find the best business model, make sure you cover the following points.

● The scope of the eLearning content and its requirements

● The content style and competition in the industry

● The demographic and type of your target audience


eLearning is the future of education, and it will continue to expand exponentially across the globe. With many eLearning businesses mushrooming every year and the fierce competition, it is more important than ever to choose a sustainable business model for your eLearning website.

Once you select a sustainable business model according to your unique requirements and goals, no matter what you want to teach, you can make a good amount of revenue and grow your eLearning business.

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