Last updated: 17 July 2015
The sector of online education in Brazil has grown substantially in recent years and presents notable opportunities for national and foreign providers. In this article we will describe the commerce of online education in Brazil.
Brazilian E-learning Sector and Online Courses
The sectors of distance education and e-learning have grown exponentially in Brazil over the last few years and their expansion can be linked to a multitude of factors. For one, a large portion of the population displays interest in enrolling in higher education and extension courses, which are mostly concentrated in large city centers and in most cases cannot cater to the population’s demand of education offerings.
Overall, the Brazilian population maintains a strong culture of education, particularly in the case of higher education and also other types of courses, as a means to achieve financial security and better job positions. This culture has led to the development of a large market for education in the country, and with the increase in numbers of broadband connections and penetration of smart devices, this sector has been able to transition its business model from the offering of live classes to the offering of full, market-compliant online courses.
Although a significant part of the Brazilian population is still unable to connect to the internet with fast and reliable broadband services, the market potential for online education in the country is undeniable, and the current landscape for this sector offers room for the emergence of new players. Companies interested in entering this market should take note of some particularities of Brazilian consumers purchases of online education and how e-learning is currently being offered by the main courseware marketplace in the country.
Online Education Segments
The market for online education in Brazil is split into major sectors represented by universities and other higher education institutions, courseware marketplaces that combine the offering of various types of specialized courses and language teaching schools which implement innovative ways to broadcast classes through the internet.
Higher Education Courses
Current statistics indicate that 25% of enrollments at Brazilian universities are for distance learning courses, a rate that should increase to 40% in the next few years. A substantial share of private university chains in Brazil have adapted to this market trend and began offering multiple graduation and post-graduation courses online. These are commonly offered through video streaming of classes and require the student’s presence at determinate facilities to take part in exams and be granted degrees.
There are also cases of numerous independent professionals who seek e-learning as a path to improve the quality of services they provide. This has been one of the main audiences for the growing segment of specialized courses that offer training for multiple types of subjects, from video editing to cooking. The level of quality for these courses is varied, with some offering printed certificates that comply to market standards and others serving more as leisure activities.
One particular sector to take note of in Brazil is language learning, which has been expanding substantially in online environments and has been fueled by a large portion of consumers interested in learning English, Spanish and other languages used in growing markets.
The current most popular providers of language e-learning in Brazil make use of formats that range from traditional video-streamed classes to gamification-focused, price effective courses and services that offer 24/7 availability for video chat with private teachers. Research from 2013 discovered that around 3 million Brazilians were enrolled in online language courses, and this market segment has displayed signs of substantial growth since then.
Payment for Online courses
The current offerings of online education in Brazil fit into multiple business models, from courseware marketplaces that offer free courses and only charge for optional printed certificates to language teaching services that are charged through recurring payments. The costs and payment options provided by online education services reflect on the conditions of its target public in Brazil.
For example, the option to split payment for courses across multiple installments can be a crucial feature to reach certain segments of Brazilian consumers who are not able to pay large sums at a determinate time. Similarly, the option to pay using Boletos Bancários and other payment methods can broaden the reach of online education services, as a considerable part of the country’s population do not hold credit cards commonly used in online transactions.
Players in the market for online education in Brazil should take note of these characteristics in order to be better equipped to attend to the expectations of the country’s consumers in terms of payment options provided.