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Sylvan Learning Continues to Lead the Educational Franchise Segment through a Four-Pronged Approach to Learning and Business: Technology, Mission Driven, Community-Focused Giving Back, and Support

Sylvan Learning’s personalized technological approach continues to evolve children’s learning while also positioning the brand as the leader in digitech education.

By Taylor Karg1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 1:13PM 02/11/20

For 40 years, Sylvan Learning has been the leading provider of personalized learning for students in grades K-12. Now, the over 750 points of presence supplemental and enrichment learning franchise is setting the pace for the category by focusing on tomorrow’s evolution—digitech education, a mission-driven philosophy, charity and multi-layered franchisee support system

Educational technology

Sylvan Learning has tirelessly worked to redefine the supplemental and enrichment education category, evolving its curriculum and modeling based on the current education landscape. One way the brand has done so is through its investment in the most up-to-date technology. Sylvan developed SylvanSync, a proprietary technology platform that delivers personal lessons to students via an iPad being taught by a Sylvan certified teacher. SylvanSync enables the  teachers to create personalized programs for each student instead of a one-size fits all type of curriculum, as they make their way through the program. 

“Through our ‘digitech’ platforms we are able to identify the specific skill gaps each child may have at any period of time throughout their academic career at Sylvan,” said Georgia Chasen, Vice President of Franchise Development. “We then create personalized programs to help that child succeed in that specific area.”

Kai Lee Awaya, Center Director and franchisee at Sylvan Learning, Mililani, Hawaii, echoes similar sentiments on the feasibility of the digital technology platforms. 

“Our ability to personalize programs for each student really is what makes us unique,” she said. “We’re able to catch them up or challenge them depending on where they are in the program; what may take other learning centers or tutors months, Sylvan can do in a few sessions.”

Sylvan, as a whole, has seen numerous benefits from both franchisees and students as a result of the creation and implementation of these digital, educational programs. 

“For franchisees, the programs have allowed us to gather more information on how students progress through them,” Awaya said. “In addition, we are able to make updates to these programs really with the push of a button and any changes can be made essentially overnight. This has allowed for cost- and time-savings, and also a more streamlined process in running the business for each franchisee.” 

In addition to franchisees, according to Chasen, the technology has benefited the students because children nowadays prefer digital engagement, even in their learning opportunities. 

“When we first rolled out SylvanSync, we did a test; we watched students who were using traditional pen and paper and the students who were using the iPad programs,” she said. “The iPad students were really engaged and wanted to learn more. Overall, students just get a more exciting and memorable experience through our digital platforms.”

Mission-driven brand identity

Another way Sylvan Learning positions itself as a unique brand in the personal education category is through its mission-driven philosophy.

“We are all focused on a cause and that cause is providing academic success in local communities; this is done through our network of franchisees and in their connections to the people of the local community,” Chasen said. 

Because it’s important to Sylvan’s mission-driven philosophy to establish connections with its students and the community, it also participates in disaster relief. 

Through Sylvan Cares, the company works to help Sylvan franchisees that have been impacted by any tragedies or natural disasters around the country. Members of the corporate team and participating franchisees have stepped up to help those affected by hurricanes, floods, or personal crisis, to get back on their feet, noted Chasen. 

Lesley Mitchell, a multi-unit franchisee in Canada is heavily involved with the local Rotary and Chamber of Commerce and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the communities her locations serve. 

“Through the original Sylvan partnership, we continue to support and promote the Light The Night Event held annually,” said Mitchell. “We offer 50 hour scholarships to students returning to school after treatment from blood cancers. We’ve helped more than 12 students that have benefited from the scholarship program.”

A focus on local communities 

Sylvan Cares also participates in local charity events. 

For example, Sylvan’s corporate team participated in an event for ShareBaby, in Baltimore, earlier this year. ShareBaby is an organization that provides diapers, clothing and gear to the community of Baltimore, to help children to have the best possible chance at success. 

“Participating in events like this allows Sylvan to get out there in the community and make a difference in these children’s lives,” said Chasen. “We sent 26 team members to the event and it was definitely a memorable day.”

Not only does the corporate office do this, individual centers have their community charities that they support around the globe. 

Cary Swensen, a franchisee in Salinas, California regularly holds charity events and fundraisers. Last year, the team held a Coding for a Cause event to raise $160 for the Salinas Animal Shelter. Swenson also coordinated the Peacock Acres toy drive, in which Sylvan’s families donated more than $250 plus around 60 toys for kids ages 10 to 18. Many of the students bought gifts from the student store with tokens they had earned to help make the holidays brighter for area foster kids.

Incredible support system 

Sylvan Learning’s multi-layered approach to supporting its franchisees is also one of its key differentiators—for both customers and for franchise owners. 

According to Chasen, Sylvan approaches support in a very comprehensive manner, in the sense that it has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources into creating its state-of-the-art systems. 

For example, franchisee turned Chief Franchise Operations Officer, Susan Valverde, brings a lot to the table from the corporate support side. Because she initially was a franchisee, Valverde, in her new role, is able to bring her unique insight of center-level operations to her role in guiding the brand’s approach to franchisee support. 

Franchisees receive multi-layered support through a variety of departments including training, education, operations and the contact center. This distinctive approach allows for a cohesive environment across the entire Sylvan system. 

Through the support model, corporate employees are always available to answer questions and are willing to take the necessary steps in order to help each franchisee, according to Awaya. 

“The Sylvan system as a whole wants anyone and everyone to be successful,” Awaya said. “If they provide the necessary support for each franchisee to be successful—and we are—then that means the students who have entered the system are successful. Most of the franchisees I’ve met joined Sylvan because they love children and want to make a difference. It truly is a great feeling to see a child leave your center with their head held high and ready to take on challenges.”

Sylvan Learning’s dedication to providing children with engaging learning experiences through technology; blended with its mission-driven philosophy of focusing on not only the academic success of its local communities but the overall well-being of them; and its approach to supporting franchisees are only a few of the reasons on how it has become a leader in the category. With 40 years of business and counting, Sylvan has established it follows a proven and successful business model; and one with a great brand name that customers can trust, nonetheless. 

The startup costs for a Sylvan Learning franchise range from $68,680 to $159,085. The franchise fee is $24,000. To learn more about franchising with Sylvan Learning, visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.