Meet Studypool – The Internet’s Answer to Microtutoring

Across the world, tutors have been reserved for the children of the wealthy; a special brand of knowledge imparters for a special brand of citizens. As for the masses? Well, they were expected to learn at school. Nobody ever considered that they too, might need a little help on the side. It wasn’t until recently that this ethos was challenged. And this wind of change gave rise to the inspiration behind Studypool, an internet-based microtutoring marketplace connecting tutors and students. It was a never-seen-before concept, birthing an international network of knowledge-seekers and knowledge-givers. And it operated on a per-question basis. Who would have thought? The platform allowed students to seek answers to specific questions, truncating the conventional tutoring experience and costs by miles.


Studypool has successfully disrupted the eLearning space, focusing on textual exchanges between tutors and students. If you’re a budding ed tech business owner and are inspired by the Studypool model, consider adding video exchanges to your microtutoring marketplace. Video is faster and easier than text and creates a more personalised learning experience. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. With an economical turnkey framework like Pinlearn, you can seek superior technology at a reasonable rate. Plus, you can benefit as the first mover in the video microtutoring realm if you do go down the video route.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the Studypool case study.

What Is Studypool?

Studypool Logo

Studypool is a microtutoring marketplace that simplifies the traditional tutoring process. Instead of compelling students to spend hours and dollars on hour-long tuitions, it allows them to raise specific questions. Essentially, microtutoring is conventional tutoring in a more granular, palatable form. Studypool is open to students around the clock and encourages students to peg expected price points to questions. This means that students can handpick tutors and request for a question to be answered at a certain price. And they need not pay until they are completely satisfied with the solution given. Students can also establish timelines within which they’d like a question addressed. As of fall 2016, Studypool reports a base of more than 1 million students and 40,000 tutors. The idea behind Studypool came to its founders, Richard Werbe and Jimmy Zhong, in their dorm room. Surrounded by friends who were perpetually stressed by coursework and who couldn’t fork out time and money for a full-time tutor, they decided to create a solution themselves. Eventually, their brainstorming sessions led to the genesis of Studypool.

Let’s Take an Example

Here’s an example to put the mechanics of Studypool into perspective. Let’s say you are a college student who isn’t particularly fond of mathematics. It’s obvious that you need help, but instead of opting for a private tutor who will eat away at your time and money through exhaustive hour-long tuitions, you could log onto Studypool instead. On Studypool, you can post your doubts and assign each one to a preferred tutor. Along with your question, you can post the price you expect to pay for the answer. If your tutor approves of the question and the price point, your question will be answered. But it doesn’t end there. Once you have receive a solution, you are given time to go through it and seek iterations. Only once you’re 100% satisfied, are you asked to pay.

What Technology Powers Studypool?

Studypool is composed of a rich stack of technologies. With nginx for a web server, Cloudflare Hosting as a hosting provider and PHP as a framework, it boasts a superlative array of underlying frameworks. In setting up a technology to support your microtutoring platform, you could either opt to build one from scratch or decide to buy a readymade one from the market. Regardless of which medium you choose, you can plug Pinlearn into your core platform seamlessly to create a microtutoring marketplace that straddles text and video.

What Is Studypool’s Monetisation Model?

Studypool is a microtutoring marketplace that allows tutors to bid for questions they have been assigned to. The pricing graph is relative, with easier questions priced at lower price points down to $1. More difficult questions can work up to about $5. Studypool keeps 20% of the fee off every question asked on the platform, with the remainder going to the tutor who addressed it.

How Can I Build My Own Studypool?

There are several ingredients that you’ll need to build your own Studypool. For starters, there’s technology, which we’ve already discussed earlier in this article. Since we’ve told you how much extra video can add to your core service, remember to add a video layer to your core stack. Pinlearn is a great option. Apart from technology, your network of tutors must be robust. Onboard quality tutors by approaching those in your area and then leverage their network through a referral scheme. The advantage with microtutoring is that you can capitalise on region-specific content. After all, school curricula are different across geographies. As far as monetisation goes, pick a generic margin to begin with. Once you begin to see traction, you can introduce differential margins for certain questions.

Microtutoring is a novel, naissent segment waiting to be tapped. If you’re considering a career in education technology, there’s no better way to get started.

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