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Interactive platform aims at transforming online learning

By People Daily
Wednesday, March 31st, 2021
Transforming online learning.
In summary

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Quality of education varies tremendously, depending on student location and family income, even with a common curriculum.

Most government schools suffer from a high ratio of students to teachers, weak teaching quality, and poor teacher attendance.

Private schools are mushrooming, but are often a little better than their state counterparts.

Though quality learning is important to prepare students to succeed in future jobs, only a small percentage of students are getting it. Learning crisis is unfolding not only in Kenya but across the world.

This is why Steve Musila and his two friends joined hands to launch Darasa (Kiswahili for classroom),  a web-based platform to provide widespread access to good quality teachers, thus ensuring quality education is achieved.

“The main aim of this platform is to make quality education affordable and accessible in all parts of the country.

We believe that a level playing field for all students will enable them to learn better,” says Steve.

Launched early this year, the platform offers affordable highly adaptive, engaging, and effective learning programmes for secondary school students. It covers Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.

Key features include interactive and engaging learning modules, visually rich content to enable conceptual clarity and lifelong retention, and personalised programmes designed for every student, enabled by power of data science

“We want to reinvent how students learn, through this platform. That is why we are using a unique approach.

We strive to make learning enjoyable so that students will learn not just for the sake of exams, but for life,” adds Steve.

The concepts are taught by some of the best teachers in Kenya and every lesson goes through a creative production to ensure visual detail and creative delivery.

The programme also takes students on a personalised learning journey, based on their unique style and pace.

It comes with adaptive practice, revision, and intensive tests to ensure students have a complete conceptual understanding.

“Using knowledge graphs, the programme adapts and creates personalised learning journeys for students.

It provides comprehensive coverage of different concepts with animated videos and questions.

Based on the student’s progress, personal learning profiles are created, which help analyse strengths and areas of improvement,” adds Musila.

Versatile packages

The platform makes use of original content based on the curriculum, watch-and-learn videos, rich animations, and interactive simulations that, as opposed to rote memorisation, make learning contextual and visual, not just theoretical.

“We hope we will be able to bridge the learning gap and help students not only to pass the tests, but also develop a deeper level of understanding of complex math and science subjects,” he adds.

To ensure subjects are simplified, teachers take complex subjects, simplify them, and explain with clarity.

They teach using everyday examples and live videos to help students internalise the information more easily.

Every topic is broken down into different sub-topics. Each sub-topic takes between 10 to 18 minutes, allowing extensive coverage.

The material is brought to life by the media team, which adds special effects, such as two or three-dimensional objects that move animation and gamification.

“This format allows students to learn at their own pace and anytime they wish to.

Blending content, media, and technology has made the tool effective in keeping students engaged and they are coming back for more,” he reveals.

Before launching the platform, the team already had an extensive video library, featuring different teachers.

They took over 10 months to shoot and edit the content to ensure they had enough content once they hit the road running.

“This platform brings together the best teachers, technology, content, and media for creating a seamless, world-class learning experience for every student.

Currently, we have six teachers on board and plans are underway to increase the number.”

For sustainability, the team has three payment packages. For a monthly package, you will part with Sh999, semi-annually Sh5,000 plus one month free and annually Sh10,000 plus two months.

Any package you choose the student can access content from Form One to Form Four.