Though the education industry has been slow to adapt to digitalization, with each passing day and increasing number of internet-users, it’s only a matter of time for the education industry to join the mission of mass reform.
With hundreds of companies trying to contribute to this mission, there are some who are taking a lot of pain to better understand each learner and transform the education delivery. One such edtech startup - Claned from Finland (awarded Best E-Learning Company 2018 by EdTechReview earlier this year) is changing the one-size-fits-all approach in learning with its personalized learning platform. With the power of artificial intelligence, the platform shows each user’s study performance and learning orientation to help individuals and organizations discover effective and personalized way of learning.
In a recent interview with their Founder – Vesa Perälä, we explored how they have been able to grow in multiple countries and what plans do they have specifically for India and the rest of the world.
How’s the world responding to an online learning and AI platform like Claned?
The market is developing rapidly now and responding very positively to our AI-driven learning solution. Although the market is still dominated by legacy Learning Management Systems, the leading organizations including both education institutions and corporations are looking for solutions that are capable of delivering advanced learning analytics providing insight into how the learning happens and how it can be continuously improved.
Another key global trend is clearly the personalized learning. I believe 7 billion individuals need personalized service, and education must be able to match the progress of all other industries in that front. In fact, it has been a hot topic already for the last 10-15 years. Modern, AI-powered solutions, such as Claned, can finally provide a truly personalized learning experience for any learner. The response to Claned from teachers and individual learners alike has been fantastic as the personal relevancy of learning, study motivation and ultimately learning outcomes have substantially improved.
We have worked hard to understand the needs which is why we have got positive response from institutions and corporate across the globe. We are currently supporting and growing through the next generation learning environment in 25+ countries.
Personalizing, delivering individual needs is increasingly becoming popular in all these countries. The experience of working is different in different countries but the team is focused on delivering individual learning needs which is almost the same across the globe.
“We need to redefine education as the process of facilitating learning and forming a strong bridging from schooling to worklife. People learn in different ways but the traditional education system is a one-size-fits-all model. This means we need to personalize each user’s learning experience to suit their abilities, interests and preferences,” says Perälä.
How different is the Indian edtech market with your experience of operating here with partners?
The Indian market is following the global trends to large extend. As any market, it has certain local characteristics but working with Indian partners is very similar to working with partners elsewhere. We are moving forward in India particularly strongly in higher education and corporate training segments. One such company in our global partnership network is LyncBiz bringing personalized learning to Indian market. Their expertise and reach has been invaluable for providing our clients local as well as national level support.
For a country like India, it is impossible to cater to the needs of hundreds of millions of learners without digitizing education. I believe when we speak of challenges to education today, globally, it involves three key issues, Availability (Access), Quality and Fit. When these three issues are resolved we open ourselves to a world, a future, where the right education in the right format is available universally. This holds true for learners in a country like India as well.
Understanding the custom needs in various markets on what else can and should be done, what are some projects and plans Team Claned is working on for this year?
Globally, we are focusing on deepening our strategic partnership with organizations such as Microsoft, United Nations and Santander. The last one operates 1401 universities in 23 countries with close to 20 million students. At the moment, we have customers in 28 countries and expect to add quite a few new ones by the end of the year. India continues to be a very lucrative market for Claned and we expect to sign several new customers during this year. In the product front, we will launch “the next level of personalized learning” later this year.
There's another reason why 2018 is expected to be even more fruitful - Even though most of our customers today are organizations whose content is closed to the public; this year, we’ll launch cooperations with multiple partners. This is very exciting because the more content that’s fed into Claned and the more people that interact with it, the more information the system can gather about learning patterns which will ultimately benefit the users.
Even for India just like other parts of the world, we have focused on building solutions that provide education institutions and enterprises unique insight into what skillsets and competencies users have and what they are lacking. The insight helps organizations to continuously optimize and improve their learning and business processes and activities.
Also this year we will be launching a ground-breaking reading game Graphogame in India to help kids learn to read while playing games.
“Learn to read is the most fundamental skill to make sure students can learn further”, says Vesa.
GraphoGame is the only evidence based literacy game in the world and has been developed in close cooperation with neuropsychology and language pathology researchers from 20 leading universities such as Cambridge, Yale, Zürich, Lund and Beijing Normal University over the last 10 years. The mobile and desktop game is available in 14 languages covering over 100 countries.
What role does tech play for tutors, trainers, mentors etc?
Tech will provide much improved learning tools and methods for tutors, trainers and mentors, but also new business opportunities. For tutors and trainers, tech plays an important role in personalizing for their students, scaling up their existing business & reaching more and more learners globally. With advanced and personalized educational technology solution, they can serve their customers better by providing tailored service on individual level. In brief, digitalization of learning provides huge scaling up opportunities yet allowing the service to improve on a personalized level.
How can tech enhance a language learning experience?
As any other subject, learning a language is a highly personal experience. AI based solutions can tailor e.g. the learning speed and ensure that optimal results are achieved.
How do you see higher ed and corporate learning evolve in 2018?
I think a very small portion of higher ed and corporate learning has been digitized which leaves a lot of room for innovation in these spaces.
Trendsetting organizations have already jumped on the bandwagon and showing the way to the rest. The early adopters in the market are already benefiting from the advanced learning data and are even recruiting data scientists to ensure they get all the available insights out of it. Overall, we expect the market to evolve steadily in 2018 but rapid development is likely to start in 2019-2020.
“In this journey, we are always looking at integration partners, content provider partners to work with us to deliver excellent digital learning experience”, says Vesa.
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