The now-dissipating coronavirus pandemic was quite the hurdle to overcome for schools and businesses otherwise unfamiliar with 100% online operations. But the novel health crisis paved the way for online educational platforms to gain exposure and the respect they deserve. Besides the usual stock of Coursera and edX, visionary entrepreneurs have added their much-needed business acumen into the industry. Languages, in the era where globalization and technology reign, have picked up high demand in all corners of the globe, and English is not the only subject sought after.
Arabic, boasting 422 million speakers in general, is attractive due to its business opportunity and the religious understanding attained by a vast number of Muslims. One entrepreneur who is spreading knowledge of Arabic far and wide across the globe is Muhammad Al Andalusi, a Spanish native fluent in five languages and currently residing in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
Al Andalusi founded the Andalus Institute, a purely online school that ensures students will become fluent in Modern Standard Arabic during the span of only 15 months. The institute came into existence in 2019, right before the world forever changed with the initial onslaught of Covid-19.
While doors closed shut and streets emptied in an unprecedented economic catastrophe, the Andalus Institute went on with business as usual. Coronavirus neither hurt nor helped the school in any major way, a sign of resilience on its part. Al Andalusi’sbusiness model is a lesson for other companies to build up an apparatus that deals with health crises like Covid-19. The Andalus Institute provides a sense of community despite its distance-learning model, led by instructors who genuinely care about each student’s progress.
The Facebook student group allows everyone to collaborate on homework assignments and learn from one another’s mistakes. Individually, each student has a portal containing pre-recorded vocabulary lessons and supplementary class material in a downloadable and printable format. It’s safe to say that online businesses have had the natural advantage during the pandemic, with universities also adapting the same techniques the Andalus Institute utilizes.
The pandemic has rendered the online model widely popular. Al Andalusi’s familiarity with it comes from extensive past experience launching several online enterprises to no avail. This trial-and-error method can be credited with Al Andalusi’s first online school achieving six-figure sales only six months after launching. The business’s success is also hinged upon Al Andalusi’s six-year Arabic language studies while living in Egypt. His full immersion into society there, and subsequent moves to Mauritania and Saudi Arabia, fuel the cultural content accompanying each lesson plan.
Al Andalusi provides an engaging community platform on his Instagram profile, documenting his travels and bits of language advice to more than 28,000 followers. His YouTube channel also serves as a means to encourage students and attract potential customers, with each video gifting the viewer invaluable information on mastering Arabic. The inclusion of social media into the institute’s marketing plan retains the students’ interest and intrigues the passing viewer.
Al Andalusi has no plans to provide a physical location for the institute. After moving to Mauritania in 2019, he fell in love with saving more money in an inexpensive country, whilst enjoying the Muslim environment. The flexibility of working anywhere keeps Al Andalusi focused on catering to his global cohort of students, with nothing to distract him from maintaining a cutting-edge program that guarantees fluency in Arabic within 15 months at most.
No one knows the full extent of the pandemic’s influence on the business world, but a fully online mode of operations is highly favorable at this point in time. Al Andalusi is on the right track in what education will turn out to be in the future: convenient access from anywhere worldwide, a sense of community on social media, and streamlined material that ensures significant progress in a brief amount of time.