Providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.
A free world-class education for anyone anywhere. It sounds utopian. Sal Khan is determined to make it a reality. The Khan Academy provides an extensive and growing library of around 4,500 short educational videos, stored on YouTube, principally covering maths and science but also history and civics. The Academy has delivered an estimated 260m 10-minute video-lessons to about 1.25m subscribers.
Khan’s courses are self-paced but also structured: with metrics, feedback, reward, assessment systems and “badges” to encourage users onto more advanced material. The badges range from the Meteorites, which are the easiest to earn, to the very rare Black Holes, which are extremely difficult.
Each time someone learns on Khan Academy, the site remembers what they have done. Those stats are available to the learners but also to their coaches and teachers, providing all of them with vital feedback to guide and encourage their learning. It also shows which courses are the most compelling.
The Khan Academy is spreading around the world, partly thanks to the likes of mobile phone billionaire Carlos Slim, who made a large donation to boost its Spanish language content, and thousands of volunteers who helped make the content available in a wide range of languages from Indonesian to German, Turkish to Xhosa.
The Academy began when Khan started tutoring one of his cousins interactively using Yahoo’s Doodle images. As more cousins asked to take part, Khan moved to making YouTube video tutorials in which a voice narrates a topic as it is also explained with simple drawings and illustrations.
Khan believes his Academy points to a possible future in which learning is both shared and social, low cost and accessible, and yet also intelligently personalised, as software creates assignments and tests suited to the stage which learners have reached and the way they learn.
Image courtesy of Khan Academy
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014