Brazilian education franchises innovate by migrating to digital and motivating instructors and students
Because of the pandemic, the core business of all education franchise brands changed dramatically, and innovation and agility became key words. The biggest challenge for Brazilian franchise chains was to develop a new electronic learning system, as well as to train instructors, teachers and even parents to act in this new reality in which the classroom is now the living room.
Motivation of teachers, parents and students was one of the main focuses of chains like Maple Bear, a bilingual school; Faculdade Inspirar, a health-focused tertiary education institution; SuperGeeks, the programming and robotics school for children and teenagers; and School of Rock, a music education institution, all of them members of Franchising Brasil — a sector project for the internationalization of Brazilian franchise brands carried out by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
Maple Bear, a bilingual school which uses a Canadian teaching method, currently has 140 units in Brazil and 4 in Mexico. The chain quickly adopted procedures for the isolation, suspension of classes and cleaning of its facilities. According to Arno Krug, CEO of the brand, the educational team had to ensure the engagement of parents from the 25 thousand families whose children study at the school.
With such purpose in mind, the academic team worked hard to develop supporting materials and orientations, and shared pedagogical practices and other contents by means of videos and webinars. “That’s how the first challenges were overcome and then transformed into something that is part of the daily routine, thus reassuring parents and building their confidence so that they could go through this period of suspended classes”, says Arno.
At SuperGeeks adaptation was fast because the programming school already had several online modules. The biggest challenge was the transition of students from in-person classes to the digital system. According to Marco Giroto, creator of the franchise, the most complex part was to help those students who were not prepared to have distance education. “Not every student was prepared, with appropriate internet and computer. But many parents made efforts so that their children could participate in such classes”, he says.
School of Rock, a music school with 270 franchise units worldwide, 41 of them in Brazil, is well prepared. The Brazilian partners are currently expanding to Europe: Italy, Portugal and Spain will be receiving new franchise units soon. Even before the beginning of the pandemic, the School of Rock business has been always rested on three pillars: socialization, integration and experience on the stage. “It was a shot to the heart”, says Paulo Portela, general director of School of Rock Brasil, about the routine disruption.
According to Paulo, the franchise brand substituted rehearsals and gigs for an educational system that stimulates students to compose and record videos. “We teach them how to produce and record themselves. Then the instructor edits the audio and the video and watches the edited video with all the students. That’s the way we found to keep everybody motivated”, he explains. He also says that the chain is optimistic and that new franchise units were sold during the quarantine period. “When we get back to the new normality we’ll have a much more solid portfolio, and everything we developed during this period will be kept”, he completes.
Faculdade Inspirar is a health-focused educational institution that offers graduation, post-graduation, extension and MBA courses, and it acted quickly to give support to its professors and students. It created a student service channel using WhatsApp and a Telegram group composed of 700 members destined to clarify doubts and answer questions from healthcare professionals who are fighting on the frontline of COVID-19 by giving them information, orientation and research data.
Faculdade Inspirar also developed some training sessions and support to franchisees. According to Marina Cotovicz, communications coordinator of the franchise brand, the institution developed training on the use of tools for virtual interaction and on how to work from home, as well as on the adaptation of the programs for courses during the class suspension period, also providing customized services for each franchise unit regarding financial analysis and crisis management.
Upon the migration of classes to the virtual environment, new products were developed. SuperGeeks, for example, is planning to expand its activities regarding online courses and live online classes, and it has created a new type of module already: “We have launched the 3D environment where we can teach in total immersion. Soon we’ll make available such system to any interested school”.
To School of Rock, the crisis was an opportunity to innovate and add a series of digital products to its portfolio.
Master Classes including talks with artists like Andreas Kisser, from Sepultura; Big Classes with teachers from the chain; online group classes for children’s musicalization; and live sessions for parents covering many different themes, including health. School of Rock managed to develop several online activities in a very short time: one week after customizing Zoom for the provision of its services, students started learning online from over 400 instructors who were duly trained to work in this new reality.
About Franchising Brasil
Franchising Brazil is a joint project of the Brazilian Franchising Association (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which aims to support the internationalization strategy of Brazilian franchise networks and their international commercial promotion. The initiative was designed to promote this recognized business model in the main international markets.