Revolutionising Education in Africa

Revolutionising Education

Revolutionising Education in Africa

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

– Lao Tzu

Revolutionising Education

On the 1st of July, the uLesson team will be unveiling some really exciting product and features. Ahead of that launch, I’ve spent some time quietly reflecting on our journey thus far – on the series of actions and events (planned and unplanned) that got us to this point. This blogpost is the product of these reflections. 

When uLesson began operations in early 2019, our product goal was simple – revolutionising education in Africa. We wanted to create and deliver the most engaging asynchronous learning experience that Nigeria and Africa had ever seen. Lesson plans delivered via short video formats with animation and illustration embedded into the experience, and the ability for users to be taken through a carefully curated learning journey. 

It was not lost on us then – and still isn’t – that the idea of delivering educational content in a fully digital context would be upending long-held beliefs in our part of the world about the places where learning takes place, and also that users may feel that consuming their personal data for this experience may be too high a price to pay. And consequently, the task we had cut out for us was to deliver against the product goal, while ensuring that we lowered the barrier to adoption by minimising the data cost burden on users. 

In March 2020 when the uLesson App launched, we knew we had done what we set out to do when the positive reviews started coming in, with almost daily appeals from users for us to expand our subject offerings and expand our grade/class coverage (we had initially launched with only 4 subjects targeting 3 class/grade groups). We also saw how the market positively reacted to our offline distribution, notably the ability to consume content on app via a dongle – a small piece of computer hardware which connected users’ phones and allowed them to watch uLesson video lessons with marginal data costs. 

But, of course, this was only the beginning for uLesson. We had never intended to rest on our laurels. The product goal at launch may have been simple but the ambitions and vision of the company were grand. We are on a mission to revolutionise education – both in terms of outcomes and delivery – and doing this meant that the product would have to evolve. How, when, and to what would entail a more complex set of decisions, data points, events, which were not entirely apparent to us then. 

Then enter the Black Swan. COVID-19. The force and speed, with which the pandemic turned the education industry on its head has left very few people questioning the place of digital in delivering of education. Edtech companies – and uLesson is not exception – have been major beneficiaries of these winds of change.

For us however, what COVID-19 did did not so much alter our ambitions but accelerated the speed at which we marched towards those ambitions. Specifically, as COVID-19 forced users to turn to edtech companies to provide much-needed out of classroom support, we were able to run a series of experiments on features and products, gather data, iterate, and relaunch. 

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

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