Spark Education: Service Innovation and Exploration in Edutech

Chen Lin, Liman Zhao, Jeongwen Chiang

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case illustrates the founding philosophy and continuous improvement of Spark Education Limited ("Spark Education") and analyzes challenges in the online education industry. Since its inception, Spark Education has been committed to reshaping foundational learning and promoting education equality. Powered by technology and innovation, Spark Education delivered online small classes and AI courses. Based on the operating model of "courses + teaching + service," rounds of innovation and exploration have been conducted. After three years of development, Spark Education has grown into China's largest small-class online platform in mathematics thinking education. However, this young startup's pursuit for further excellence became a big question after the Chinese government introduced the "Double Reduction" policy in July 2021. Affected by this policy, many capital-fueled online and offline education companies, including Spark Education, have been hit hard. The "Double Reduction" policy wrecked Spark Education's IPO plans (the company had submitted its application in the US two months earlier) and imposed significant uncertainty on its future. These market players are in dire need of a way out of the crisis. Looking ahead, Spark Education needs to re-examine its business model and core strengths or build a second growth curve. In August 2021, Spark Education held an executive meetings on its transformation and future business direction. First, Spark Education has to review the value of its online education model, especially the small-class-based adaptive learning model. Second, can Spark Education follow Outschool's model of providing small online classes that were well-received in the US? And if so, what should Spark Education teach? The final question throws it back to the nature of education—What should Spark Education do to provide considerate education services and ensure students enjoy adaptive learning featuring technological innovation? How can children's development, caring for teachers, and applying high technologies be integrated more organically?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2022

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Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • online education
  • service innovation
  • K12
  • service marketing
  • edutech

Case studies discipline

  • Marketing

Case studies industry

  • Educational Services


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