Is it the Uberification of education, a Yukon economic development opportunity or a cool opportunity to make a few bucks helping a keen Chinese youngster learn English? VIPKID is all three.
The Beijing-based company offers US$14-22 per hour for Americans and Canadians with bachelor degrees and some teaching experience to teach English to Chinese children aged 4-12 years via one-on-one video conferences. Once interviewed and hired by VIPKID, teachers are connected by the website to prospective students in China.
The video conference lessons take place on VIPKID’s platform, which includes Skype-style video boxes showing the faces of the participants as well as the VIPKID web content to be taught.
From the point of view of Yukon economic development, platforms like this are interesting. It is in effect an export business, but the product is intangible and nearly 100 per cent value-added. This is helpful, since Yukon exporters of physical goods have traditionally struggled because of long and costly supply chains.
VIPKID is not a unique model. Yukoners can offer other services online via so-called “gig economy” platforms such as Upwork. But VIPKID is one of the leaders in expanding the model to education.