Now you can subscribe to education like a magazine or cable. BenchPrep’s new subscription model aims to provide all the courses you can learn for $30 per month.
Imagine if students had course materials for every class that interested them just a few clicks away. How much more would they want to learn or be able to learn, for that matter? The up-and-coming open education startup BenchPrep is banking on the answer to that question. With more and more learning platforms and open education resources online, BenchPrep is attempting to market a consolidation of these materials for educators and students through their company. It’s more than a wrapper they are adding to their website—the interactivity, among other features, allows those using BenchPrep to fundamentally improve the learning experience of the user.
Building a New Model
BenchPrep has been around for a few years now and has faced some challenges in finding and building an adaptive API-based learning hub for interactive courses that links to all the actual content. The content will be valued by both teachers and students based on how often it is used, adding variety to everyone’s personal teaching and learning style and turning BenchPrep into an “Education as a Service” provider to better service their customer base. In other words, where BenchPrep was charging around $100 per course in the past, they will now be instituting a $30 per month subscription model that allows users unlimited access to all materials on the site via computer, phone, tablet or any other device that can access the internet.
Why Can This Work?
Not only does this new pricing strategy work for more student and teacher budgets, but it also allows more customers to explore all the educational opportunities that BenchPrep has to offer. According to the BenchPrep CEO Ashish Rangnekar, the old pricing system kept students from exploring new topics, which was very much like signing them up for each course per semester in the classic school system. However, with the subscription model users can now branch out and explore unrelated topics that they never knew would interest them.
The tough part of this new pricing scheme for BenchPrep will be convincing college students it is worth the monthly fee. Most college kids have trouble paying bills for anything and are used to getting all their books and course materials purchased at the beginning of the year, not on a regular basis every month. But college students are also used to changing on a regular basis, like from an actual reference book to reading on a tablet or iPad, so the jump shouldn’t be too jarring for each new class of incoming freshman.
On the Brink of Becoming Big
If this new subscription model is as successful as those venture capital firms who invested 6 million in BenchPrep in July of this year believe, there are exciting possibilities in the education startups future. Beyond all the students who are going to all the universities around the world that may be using BenchPrep for their basic course materials, the company could one day adapt into a sort of multi-platform online university. They would offer college preparatory or entry level college courses, so that the actual schools could focus on higher-level learning. This means BenchPrep would not only be an open education platform, but a school itself.