What makes a parent decide to enroll their learner in a class on Outschool? Every family has its own needs and motivations, so getting an answer to that question can be tough. We found that there are a few common factors that parents consider when selecting an educator or class. Read on to find out what parents said they love – and what can be a major turn-off.

The big questions

Most parents will start off by looking at the price and schedule of classes that match their search. These requirements are different for each family, and most educators just won’t be able to fulfill these expectations for every parent who lands on their profile. However, to get some insights into which schedules might work best for certain age groups or subjects, check out these up-to-date Outschool enrollment trends.

Next, parents are looking to see if the topic, class size, class content level, teaching style, and/or educator personality is the right fit for their learner. They told us they want answers to questions like:

  • Will my child like/love this class?
  • Is this class age-appropriate for my learner?
  • Is this class size just right, too big, or too small?
  • Will my child like this educator’s personality or style?
  • What will my child do in this class?
  • How difficult/easy will the material of this class be?

Your class listing is where you can provide the answers that may sway families to hit “enroll.” By writing this info – including keywords related to your topic – in your description, you can also improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to show up in the right search results on Outschool and outside platforms.

Which of the elements listed above parents consider to be the most important varies for different families, but let’s look at two big ones: topic and educator.

Class topic vs. educator – what matters most?

Time and time again, we hear from parents that the educator teaching a class matters just as much – or more – than the class subject when choosing a course. On the one hand, this makes total sense. Parents can tell when their learner is responding with enthusiasm to a certain educator’s teaching style, and both the child and parent want to keep having those great experiences on Outschool. On the other hand, many families sign up for virtual learning experiences because they want to expose their child to specific topics unavailable elsewhere. So which interest wins out?

After digging a little deeper, we found that:

  • Families signing up for their first class on Outschool prioritize the class topic over finding the exact right educator.
  • Families who’ve already taken a class on Outschool may be driven to re-enroll with an educator after a positive experience and be more open to taking classes on different topics.

What does this mean for educators looking to grow their businesses? If you’re trying to attract new learners, you may want to consider amping up the keywords in your class listings to improve your search engine performance and connect with families looking for an online class on a particular topic. If your business goals are to boost re-enrollments, read on to learn more about what traits and habits can spark loyalty from parents.

Personal connections that impress parents

When we asked parents what makes them want to keep signing up for classes with a particular educator (regardless of the class topic), we noticed a few common themes.

Parents can tell when an educator is making a real effort to get to know their child and allow each learner to engage in class. They love it when educators:

  • Remember little details about their child – likes, dislikes, pets, vacations, etc. – and bring them up in class (many educators use Outschool’s private learner notes to remember key personal details)
  • Balance the voices of different learners in the class and show strong classroom management skills
  • Show a genuine interest in what their child has to say by validating their thoughts and feelings
  • Ensure every child feels welcome, respected, and comfortable with inclusive lesson plans

A few parents shared that if their child expressed they felt the teacher wasn’t interested in what they had to say, they would consider that a negative class experience. A majority of parents with learners enrolled in classes on Outschool said that they believe a class is successful when learners enjoy themselves and stay engaged. So, taking the time to connect with your learners and really personalize your instruction can go a long way toward making families happy enough to re-enroll!

Communication is key

In addition to taking the time to engage with each learner on a personal level, parents told us that they also highly value excellent communication in and out of the classroom. They appreciate it when educators:

  • Respond to all questions during class
  • Reply to messages from parents or learners outside of class promptly
  • Prioritize great communication with enrolled families

Special skills can make you stand out

Kids with unique learning needs (such as gifted abilities, ADD or ADHD, and dyslexia or dysgraphia) make up a growing number of learners on Outschool. Parents of these learners told us that knowing an educator has experience working with their type of learner is very important to them when deciding which classes to enroll in. If you have the appropriate teaching expertise and want to intentionally invite learners with unique needs into your classroom, make sure to prominently display that experience in your class listings and/or teaching profile.

If you don’t have specific training or a background in unique learning needs, there are still steps every educator can take to accommodate these learners in class. Explore this free professional development course to learn how.

What don’t parents love?

No educator sets out to disappoint a parent or learner, but sometimes a class just isn’t the right fit. Here are a few common issues that parents noted led to a less-than-fantastic experience for their learner:

Poor classroom management

This can look like letting just a few learners dominate the discussion, getting too far off-topic, or being unable to keep learners focused and engaged. To become a behavior management pro, check out this free Outschool course for educators.

Technology issues

Parents expect teachers to know how to use the technology they bring to class, and they don’t like to see their learner waiting around while an educator tries to figure out how to use a tech tool or program. Test everything you intend to use in class ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared to teach live learners!

Strict policies that ignore learners’ needs

For example, requiring a specific type of participation that some learners aren’t comfortable with. If a learner has unique needs and strongly prefers to communicate through writing, they would not have a great experience in a class where the educator requires every learner to frequently answer questions verbally on camera. Even requiring that cameras be on for the entire class (after your required learner identity check) can be stressful for some learners.

Not enough interaction with learners

Parents sign up for classes with live meetings because they want their learner to have a real face-to-face interaction with their teachers. If you’re just a talking head on the screen, they feel like they’re missing out on a crucial part of the learning experience.

At Outschool, we stand for learners, and we hope these reflections from parents can help you build a business that makes families feel like you’re putting them first. To improve your skills at classroom management, family communication, or creating an inclusive environment, check out some of these free resources on the Educator Library: