COVID-19 Drives More People to Online Learning

Woman working on a laptop

If you’re like many of my friends and colleagues, you’ve been heading online for things you used to do in person to stay busy during this “pandemic season.” Yoga and Pilates, music lessons, art classes; the list of options seems to keep growing. With the upsurge in demand for online learning, I started wondering how those of us who might have a skill to teach can tap the opportunity to earn a little extra income.

I discovered one way to become a virtual instructor: It’s called Podia, an online platform where people can sell courses and creative projects online.

According to Spencer Fry, Podia’s founder and CEO, the platform itself isn’t new; it’s just added ways people can use it since the COVID-19 crisis hit.

“Before this year, creators on Podia were all selling prerecorded, prewritten or predesigned content,” Fry explains. “After the coronavirus crisis began, we started getting more and more requests from people who wanted to sell ‘live’ experiences, both to mirror the work they used to do offline — for example, personal trainers and yoga instructors — and to facilitate more ‘in-person’ connections at a time when circumstances make that impossible.”

So how does it work?

Say you’re a yoga instructor who wants to start teaching online until your studio gets the green light to open back up at full capacity. You can sign up at, then use the company’s website builder to create a site where your students can buy access to a live event you host.

“For a prerecorded class, they can just upload the video directly to Podia and we’ll host it for them. For a live class, they can use our YouTube Live or Zoom integrations to sell access to a scheduled class in the future,” Fry explains.

The accounting is taken care of too. Podia takes payments via your PayPal or Stripe account and manages students’ access to the class. “After the class ends, users can use Podia to email students, invite them to additional classes, create a referral program,” Fry adds.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of people turning to online instruction has been on the upswing since the shut-down began.

Fry says Podia’s growth skyrocketed from 5% month-over-month to 20%.

“Over these past few months, we’ve seen users on our platform take something very difficult and unnerving — the pandemic — and work hard to make sure that some good comes out of it,” Fry reports. “We’ve seen people dive in and start the businesses they’ve just been talking about for years. We’ve seen others take the businesses they already have to new levels. Most importantly, we’ve seen users find new ways to support themselves in very troubled times. We’re inspired by them all and we’re motivated by the fact that we can be some small part of their success.”

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)