As I mentioned in my earlier post today about WiZiQ, italki also has some nice new features for its teachers underneath the Christmas tree.
italki has been very busily working on their marketplace recently but the features they launched today are more affecting the overall usability and the booking process on the platform.
In my interview with Kevin Chen, Co-Founder of italki I pointed out that for me the platform is more and more moving towards the “Amazon of language lessons” regarding the focus the company put on the marketplace feature in the past months. The core features, community and language exchange, are slowly disappearing from the center stage.
On the Help Pages italki is pulling all information together from how to find a teacher or language partner on the platform to how to get the most out of italki. I think you can compare it to something like Zendesk which more and more companies are adding to their websites.
In the new schedule teachers mark the times they are generally available. Personally I would like to see a weekly schedule as I am teaching across several platforms and therefore my availability changes from week to week. A nice feature is the vacation planer and I guess one could use it also to block single days.
It would also be great to have Google / Apple Calendar export / import feature though.
Students are only able to book times the teacher is actually available (makes sense) and lessons can only be booked 24h before the chosen time at latest.
Third and long awaited feature: packages. Packages are working very well on Myngle and are highly requested by teachers and students alike. As language learning is a longer process and builds up on a good relationship between the teacher and the student packages are an ideal offer.
Students don’t have a problem to “bind” themselves to a teacher they are happy with and for teachers it is great to have the security in planning. Teachers are also able to offer discounts easily to loyal students this way.
Teachers on italki can now set packages of 10 to 50 lessons. Students who purchase a package can schedule as many lessons as they like in one go, they can even opt in for the same time and day repeating every week. Great for consistency in the learning process and great for the planning of the teacher.
From the blog post I cannot tell if the teacher will get the money (ITCs) directly into his/her account or if italki will pay out the given lessons to the teacher like on Myngle. But I am sure someone at italki will answer this question for us.
Again, some really nice presents for teachers underneath the Christmas tree. In this case it will help italki to stay on track with its different competitors at least in this section of their business model. I am pretty sure that we will see some major changes to the marketplace in early 2010.