The proliferation of e-learning witnessed massive growth around the world, most especially on the African continent when COVID-19 struck the globe in 2020.
In Africa, there is a growing rise in demand for e-learning products and services through content development, platforms and authoring tools.
The usage of smartphones and related mobile devices has also facilitated the wide expansion of e-learning a development fueled by broadband internet penetration and technology infrastructure.
Even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning has posed numerous advantages in how it has shaped educational institutions in developing and under-developed countries.
Considering that that traditional educational institutions on the African continent may not have the capacity to meet up with students’ demand for effective learning, the emergence of edtech startups pushing the agenda of e-learning appears to be more important than ever.
However, e-learning still appears a challenge as it isn’t cost-effective for the average user.
We had a chat with Isaac Oladipupo, Co-founder and CEO at Afrilearn who explained how the edtech startup is making e-learning affordable to users anywhere.
Relaying his background to the team, Isaac narrated how he was raised in a developing community on the outskirt of Lagos, where he grew up alongside many of his childhood friends.
According to him, his parents sacrificed all they had to raise him with a befitting education, however, his childhood friends weren’t so lucky, as he watched them waste away their formative years.
Not being deterred by these unpleasant circumstances around him, he was fortunate enough to find joy in reading books and this led to a radical transformation for him.
Years after school, Isaac has paid two or more visits to that same community and feels heartbroken that lot of his childhood friends never had the opportunity to add values to their lives, all as a result of lacking access to quality education.
This ugly situation appears to be what most young Africans across the continent are facing today. This led Isaac and his colleague, Gabriel Olatunji-Legend who is also a Co-founder of the edtech startup to abandon their jobs in 2019 after some experiments and startling discoveries online.
The duo literally left everything to solve this dearth of quality education for Africans, once and for all, thus Afrilearn was born.
“We all know that large unskilled population is a dangerous liability for any nation. Unfortunately, as of today, over 263 million young Africans are out of school while. If left unresolved, poor education remains the most fundamental issue that would continue to cripple our development for generations to come.”, Oladipupo added
According to Oladipupo, the benefits of the edtech startup are simply innumerable.
Currently, on Afrilearn, secondary school students get to enjoy curriculum-relevant video lessons, rich and ready class notes, practice tests and live classes for academic success and best results in competitive examinations like the WASSCE, JSSCE, UTME, POST-UTME & more.
Beyond this, Afrilearn is optimized to deliver personalized fun learning experiences which help users discover how they learn best, where to focus, and study at their unique pace anytime, anywhere, across all devices.
Afrilearn also empowers teachers, parents and schools to drastically reduce workload, paper works while saving time and using its world-class learning management system, pre-loaded content and analytic reports which help to detect and optimize students’ learning progress in real-time.
“Our ready-made advanced resources and digital tools make both classroom and remote learning effortlessly engaging. It’s easily the best supplementary education resource from Africa.”
How Afrilearn works
By visiting the platform’s website or downloading the Afrilearn App on Google Play Store. Users can go ahead to create an account by entering their basic details.
Choose the class and subscription plan that’s right for you. Finally, enter payment details and start learning everywhere, across any device.
According to the CEO, the platform is pre-stored with curriculum-relevant and trusted content, created by expert tutors, for all classes.
“Same, if not more than they would get in a physical classroom. Each class is seamlessly classified into, Second and third term covering all topics in line with the government-approved curriculum.”, the CEO added.
How cost-effective is Afrilearn?
Oladipupo explained that Afrilearn offers the best value for money.
“Actually, it’s so cost-effective that most times, we see parents and teachers gasp when they realize they have unlimited access to all video/audio lessons, class notes, practice tests and lives classes, covering all subjects and topics across first to third terms, in their chosen class, for ₦999 only.”, Oladipupo emphasized
“It excites us because this is one of the things we set out to achieve, and we’re only just getting started. For us, it’s really about the impact and people development before profit.”, quipped Oladipupo
How pandemic has changed the face of e-learning in Africa
According to Oladipupo, the pandemic has pointed the world in the direction it should have heeded before the pandemic.
“You see, education forms the most critical part of any human’s life because whatever goes into our minds comes out in our lives, and ultimately determines the quality of our future.
The painful truth is, even if the federal government were genuinely serous about education, they sincerely can’t satisfy the demand for education across the nation.
Also, if we choose to stick with our old brick-and-mortar system of education, it would take us several decades to provide world-class education to our large, teeming population.”
Explaining further, Oladipupo said that the best opportunity for the world to sustainably address this challenge is leveraging technology.
Technology has helped to crash the price, rather than erecting more buildings, people simply use their phones to access quality education from anywhere, at any time.
“The pandemic has simply amplified the urgent need to leverage e-learning to democratize education for Africans at large. Afrilearn was made, with love, to fill this gap. While we appreciate the surge during the pandemic, we’re overjoyed at the continued growth we’re experiencing.”
Challenges and milestones
Oladipupo noted that Afrilearn’s major challenge has been sourcing the right funding for content and marketing as it looks to scale the edtech solution across Nigeria before taking on other West African countries.
However, the edtech platform has recorded some significant milestones. Just in its second year of establishment, Afrilearn has produced over 1500 curriculum-relevant video lessons, more than 3500 class notes.
In addition, the edtech platform has added over 18,165 exam practice content, and gained more than 5000 active users organically and still growing fast.
Afrilearn was awarded the Digital Innovation of the Year 2020 by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce.
I must say it has been intense, challenging yet incredibly fulfilling journey for me, my amazing co-founder, and our phenomenal team.
Future of e-learning in Africa
“We’re currently navigating the biggest communication shift in 500 years. It is so monumental that it is leaving every industry radically disrupted.
Whether we like or not, the internet has become the primary channel through which the youth demography can be educated, and this is our new reality.”
Oladipupo believes that Africa will take the edtech sector by storm as it may welcome more players addressing similar problems in different forms.
“It’s a large market and it’d be exciting to see more innovations in the education technology. The global EdTech market is projected to reach $404B by 2025 and with products like Afrilearn and few others, Africa is positioned to be a key catalyst fueling this growth globally.”. Oladipupo concludes
Featured Image: Afrilearn Team Members
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