14 min read

Platform Update: Self-Paced Learning Insights for Success
Introducing a new class option and guidance for Self-Paced Learning.
Self-Paced Learning

Last updated: April 8th, 2024

Outschool is rolling out a new Self-Paced class option that offers a truly asynchronous learning experience. This dynamic approach offers a host of benefits for both educators and learners alike. Let’s dive in and explore how you can set up your Self-Paced class for success!

Increased Supply and On-Demand Access

With the introduction of Self-Paced classes, we’re opening the doors to increased availability and on-demand access. We hope that families will love and appreciate the true flexibility of immediate class access, ensuring they can seamlessly fit learning into their busy schedules. One of the most exciting aspects of Self-Paced classes is the freedom it gives learners to progress at their own pace. Whether they need to revisit previous concepts, delve deeper into a topic, or take a break when life gets busy, our Self-Paced classes empower learners to take control of their education journey. 

Our enhanced Self-Paced class offering makes Outschool even more accessible, particularly for families who receive ESA (education savings account) funding in regions like Florida with specific funding restrictions. By broadening our class formats, we can better serve diverse learners and tap into new markets.

Creating a True Self-Paced Learning Experience 

We’ve heard families’ feedback loud and clear. Families have been confused with our previous Flex class offering. Knowing this is a concern we’re aligning with parent expectations for a fully Self-Paced asynchronous learning experience. Outschool user research indicated that the top two feature requests were the ability to start immediately and progress at your own pace.

We’re also removing mentions of live meetings from all asynchronous surfaces, ensuring clarity and transparency for families. 

Streamlined Solutions 

Integrating Self-Paced classes with our live classes streamlines the marketplace, making it easier for families to discover and select the best class that meets the needs of their learners.

For educators, the auto-post nature of these classes means less administrative work and more time to focus on what you love – teaching! Now, you can scale your offerings more effectively, reaching a wider audience without the constraints of scheduling live sessions.

Educators can leverage the scalability of asynchronous classes while providing valuable one-on-one feedback and engaging content for maximum learning.

Upgrade Plan

The Outschool team has created a plan to facilitate your upgrade from Flex classes to Self-Paced classes. Additionally, we will ensure that reviews, statistics, and other essential data transfer smoothly to your new Self-Paced classes. 

Follow these steps to upgrade your class: 

  • Read and accept the new Terms and Conditions regarding Self-Paced Subscriptions & the refund policy regarding weekly payments.
  • Create a syllabus from the Edit tab.
  • Add lesson details from the Syllabus tab.
  • Create at least one post per lesson on the Posts tab.

Ensure Lesson Completion and Polishing: Before upgrading your listing, ensure that every lesson in your class is complete, polished, and ready for learners. As some may skip ahead or complete the class rapidly, all content must be prepared to maintain a high-quality learning experience. Publishing a class with plans for future content additions may lead to dissatisfaction among learners and negative reviews.

Continue Selling Legacy Flex Classes: While preparing your lessons to upgrade, you can continue selling your existing Flex classes. It’s important to note that for these legacy Flex sections, you’ll need to schedule posts manually.

Manage Legacy Sections in Progress: If you have ongoing legacy Flex sections while upgrading your listings, don’t worry. These sections will continue as legacy Flex classes. Instead of upgrading automatically, you’ll need to manually schedule posts for these sections.

If You Decide Not to Upgrade: Starting April 8th, 2024, you won’t be able to create new Flex sections. However, existing legacy Flex sections with enrollments will continue to run normally. Once you have upgraded to Self-Paced, your lessons will automatically post for new enrollments. If you have enrollments in your legacy Flex class before April 8th, just remember to upload each lesson individually. Your Self-Paced class is only bookable for families if the “accepting new enrollments” toggle is enabled and you have at least one post within every Lesson.

Keep in mind that since Self-Paced is now live for educators, you will no longer be able to create or publish new Flex classes; you will be able to create Self-Paced classes during the interim period when the new format is live for educators and live for families to start purchasing a Self-Paced class, but note that you will not be able to publish your class until April 8th.

Level up Your Class Content 

Now is the best time to start leveling up your class content for your Self-Paced classes. Some of you may be new to creating content, so we have a few suggestions to help you make awesome, engaging & creative content! 

We suggest focusing on classroom content in two key areas: creation and enhancement.

  • First, read our educator library blog on how to Design a Professional Classroom
  • Then, think about creation. Equip yourself with essential tools like a smartphone, external webcam, or handheld camera for crisp visuals. Ensure good lighting and consider investing in a ring light. Even add an external microphone for clear audio. Here is a great blog on 7 tech upgrades to enhance online teaching. 
  • The ideal video length is between 15-20 minutes long. If longer, we suggest that you break it up into part 1, part 2, etc, depending on the lesson for Self-Paced learning. Remember to keep videos short and concise for maximum engagement and effectiveness. Consider saying things like “next lesson” rather than “next week” for example, in your recordings or communication with families. 
  • Lastly, think about content enhancement. Enhance your content with editing tools like Loom, Canva, and Zoom. Explore resources from experienced creators like Aurelius Tjin, Gillian Perkins, and Amanda Horvath for valuable insights. Check out our blog on how to Record a course video in 5 simple steps


Q: What if I don’t want to upgrade my Flex class to a new Self-Paced class? 

A: If you choose not to upgrade a class, it will remain available as a legacy Flex class even after Self-Paced is live if you have enrollments in a section (all existing Flex classes without enrollments will be unlisted). However, you won’t enjoy the advantages that Self-Paced offers and will still need to manually create sections and upload/schedule posts, just like before. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Flex classes will no longer be actively marketed to families, meaning that they won’t be promoted or highlighted within our platform to attract new learners.

Q: Do I need to resubmit my current Flex classes for approval again?

A: No. You will not need to submit your class for approval again. Just follow the steps above in this blog to upgrade your current Flex class to a Self-Paced class.  

Q: When can I submit Self-Paced classes for approval? 

A: You can now submit Self-Paced classes for approval! This includes previously archived classes. Note that for Self-Paced classes, you must include a Syllabus. When creating new Self-Paced classes, select Group class, click on Format, and choose Self-Paced Classroom. Previously approved Legacy Flex classes that have been upgraded do not have to be re-submitted for approval.

Q: Does a learner have access to my class content forever?

A: No. Families can access their content for at least 12 months from their start date. Please note that you are only expected to provide feedback and answer questions during the duration of the class.

Q: How do I create A Self-Paced class? 

A: Click on the classes tab, then click on Add a class, add your title, click on Group class, click on Format, and select Self-Paced classroom

Q: How do I allow learners to enroll in my Self-Paced class?
A: To allow families to enroll in your Self-Paced classes, please make sure that you have a published Syllabus in the “Syllabus” tab, have at least one “Lesson Post” per lesson of your Self-Paced class in the “Posts” tab, and toggle on “New Enrollment” from the “Class Summary” tab. If you have already added and completed your Syllabus and added at least one Post per Lesson Post, we will automatically enable the “accepting new enrollments toggle for you. If you are not ready to accept new enrollments, simply toggle it to off.

Q: If a learner has access to the material for 12 months, how long do educators need to stay in contact with the learner? (For example, they buy the class, start taking it but do not complete the class until the end of the 12 months.)

A: However long your class is! If you have a 10-week class, the learner should expect you to respond to them for 10 weeks. We suggest clarifying your response times and duration in your class listing.

Q: I use third-party tools like Nearpod in my class. Can I only provide the link in my lesson, or do I still have to provide a video? 

A: You will still need a video to go with the lesson, but it can be an orientation to, not the whole instruction.

Q: I run an organization on Outschool. How do I assign a teacher to a section?

A: You do not select a teacher in advance. As learners enroll, auto-created sections are assigned to the organization admin’s teacher account by default. You can then re-assign each section to any teacher in your organization. 

Q: What is the new maximum class size?

A: All Self-Paced asynchronous classes have a maximum class size of 1. Each learner has their section, like in the 1-on-1 class. You cannot have two learners in the same Self-Paced class. If a family enrolls two learners at once, they will have two separate sections, one for each learner. 

Q: If all Self-Paced classrooms are for one learner, can I increase the age range of my class?

A: No, we still allow a maximum of 5 years in your age range. Although a class may appeal to learners outside the age range, our research shows that many parents are turned off from classes with a wider age range, feeling less confident that it will be the right level for their learners. Instead, we recommend using the flexible age range option. 

If you have a one-off request from a learner far outside the age range and would like to accommodate this, you can always use a private link. If this happens regularly, you can post a similar class with a different age range and slightly adapted content.

Q: How do refunds work?

A: If families enroll upfront and select “Start Today,” they cannot get a refund on their purchase. Enrollments that “Start later” or weekly enrollments are subject to the Standard Refund policy

Q: If we post a Flex class now for the summer, will that class stay in the old Flex format or move to the new Self-Paced format?

A: If a section has an enrollment before our new format launch date, it will stay in the old Flex format. On the other hand, if a section does not have an enrollment before the new format launch date, it will be auto-deleted. For this reason, we recommend not bothering to post sections into the summer right now.

Your learners will continue to access the class through a legacy Flex classroom rather than in Self-Paced. Additionally, it’s important to note that these legacy Flex classes won’t be featured in any marketing promoting Self-Paced classes, as they do not adhere to the Self-Paced model. Please be aware that you won’t be able to create new classes using the legacy Flex format moving forward.

Q: Do I still need to create sections?

A: No. Once you are live and accepting enrollments, you will need to complete your Syllabus and lesson Posts. When a family buys your class, a new section is created specifically for them. Each learner has their own section.

Q: What if I cannot post all my Lessons in advance because my material changes per learner based on their progress or requests?

A: You can make this in your Self-Paced class! We recommend using Lesson 1 to upload a polished video introducing yourself and very, very clearly explaining what the learner needs to do to get their next lesson from you and what sort of turnaround time they should expect from you. Then, enter placeholder text into your posts. When somebody buys your class upfront, they will see all your placeholder text, but should know exactly what to submit in order for you to upload their custom lessons. Once they do, you can add a post (or edit the placeholder) directly in that classroom just for that learner.

Q: Are educators responsible if a learner falls behind in class? 

A: Educators are not responsible or accountable for learners falling behind. You still want to be mindful of the learner experience. Check out these helpful tips on the educator library blog: Creating a welcoming online classroom: 4 ways to make a learner feel welcomed

Q: What if I need to take a break or I get too many learners to manage?

A: You can turn off new enrollments at any time. Once the enrollments are off, your class will be un-bookable to new students until you turn it back on.

Q: What happens if a learner moves through the content very slowly? Am I still expected to respond to them or grade their work a year from now?

A: No. Self-Paced classes still have an end date. We call this your “recommended pacing” which is equal to the number of weeks it takes for a weekly-paying learner to receive all their posts. For instance, if the class duration is eight weeks, regardless of upfront payment, the class concludes eight weeks later. After the class ends, families need to understand that ongoing availability may vary. 

While you can continue communication beyond this date and provide a formal ‘courtesy extension,’ it remains at your discretion. Remember, Self-Paced classes prioritize on-demand learning, not on-demand teacher availability. Establishing and adhering to routine feedback times, such as Mondays and Thursdays, is a recommended best practice you can implement.

Q: What happens if a family registers, downloads all the pre-loaded content, and then requests a refund? (How do we prevent families from getting “free” content?)

A: All Self-Paced classes use a limited refund policy. There are no refunds once families have viewed content. 

Q: It looks like the “Flex” header is gone from the Outschool homepage. How will families find my classes as a “Self-Paced” offering?

A: Families can find your Self-Paced classes under our categories: popular, full courses, enrichment & clubs, and one-time activities. Plus, we’re working on improving our platform to make it even easier for families to find your self-paced classes.

Q: How do we ensure that families are not using the Self-Paced classes/materials for more than one family OR not sharing it outside of their family?

A: We cannot guarantee that this won’t happen. Families had access to your content in Flex classes too. We are currently making improvements to better prevent downloads of your videos as well. 

Q: Can I post throughout the week or just once? What if I usually do multiple posts throughout the week?

A: You can have multiple lessons, each with multiple posts, count as “one week”. However, they will auto-post all on the same day. If you want to post on different days throughout the week, you would need to manually do that in each section.

Q: Can I customize my content for an individual learner? 

A: Yes. You can edit or add new posts to individual learners. 

Q: When can a family leave a review on a Self-Paced class?

A: A family can now leave a review within 12 months of purchase. 

Our new Self-Paced learning look represents an exciting step forward for Outschool, offering increased flexibility, accessibility, and scalability for educators and families. If you have any feedback you’d like to share, please feel free to email us at support+featurefeedback@outschool.com. Your input on new features as they’re introduced is greatly valued and appreciated!

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