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Using AI to transform traditional approaches to online learning

The combination of a vital need for IT experts among businesses and a digital skills gap is making lifelong learning increasingly critical. Beyond professional development, learning new skills offers additional rewards from building peer connections to boosting your creativity. That’s why in 2020 Krishna Deepak Nallamilli and I launched to reimagine how people approach learning, especially in developing markets. Our team is building the artificial intelligence needed to generate individual learning paths through a wide range of quality digital learning content.

Google Cloud and its Startup Program have been instrumental in connecting our team with the tools, people, processes, and best practices to grow our business. 

Existing learning platforms lack engagement

Outside of traditional education settings, massive open online learning courses (MOOCs)—often modeled after university courses—can provide a flexible and affordable way to upskill or reskill. But the vast majority of people who participate in MOOC programs fail to complete courses. Based on our research, the challenge with existing learning platforms is a lack of engagement, primarily caused by limited direction on which skills to learn, whether AI, fintech, blockchain, or other in-demand disciplines.   

We’ve also received feedback that many corporate learning management systems–developed as online training systems to upskill employees–tend to be poorly designed and time-consuming to use. 

Overall, a significant challenge with most existing learning platforms is that they’re generic. For example, suppose you’re interested in learning about AI. In that case, you need AI-related coursework that applies to your industry and the job you want because AI in medicine is vastly different from AI in financial services. Today’s online learning options typically take a one-size-fits-all approach and fail to capture the nuances of what learners really need to get ahead. 

Building a future-proof learning platform 

The commitment to highly personalized, accessible learning inspired, a platform that we believe is the future of education. Depending on your goals, current skills, location, and other factors, our AI-based platform will identify which coursework (and where to find those classes) to build the skills you need. The more personalized, relevant learning recommendations even take into account people’s preferences for podcasts, MOOCs, books, articles, videos, courses, publications, and more.  

In a mix of cooperation and competition we call “coopetition,” will regularly recommend courses from other established online learning systems if, based on our automated assessment, it’s the best option for a learner. There’s also the option to access free content only. 

Google cultural alignment fosters trust

Our platform started with one developer exploring NLP models and Google APIs. As we’ve grown our team and launched our beta to 110,000 users in developing markets, we discovered there is a lot of interest in our platform, and we believe we can make a significant impact. In feedback forums, we also learned that we need to focus our efforts on the mobile experience to improve engagement since 99% of the beta testers use mobile devices. 

Beyond our team’s high level of trust in Google Cloud solutions, our team also appreciates the cultural alignment with Google. We value Google’s developer-centric approach and rely on tools likeDataflow for batch data processing andCloud TPU to reliably run machine learning models with AI services on Google Cloud. We also build all of our deployments onGoogle Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which makes it easy to manage all our containerized workloads 

On the front end, Google App Engine makes it easy to deploy apps and experiment, and it integrates seamlessly with Firebase for authentication and more. BigQuery is our serverless data warehouse that efficiently scales to support the millions of articles, videos, and other learning resources we need to analyze to provide the targeted coursework recommendations our learners require.

As we grow our business having a network of trusted advisors is also extremely valuable. By working closely with DoIT International, the 2020 Google Cloud Global Reseller Partner of the Year, our team has access to their cloud, Kubernetes, and machine learning expertise. DoIT has already helped us quickly resolve IT issues and create analytics dashboards that give us insights to continually enhance our services. 

Building for a growing industry

The dynamic edtech market is growing rapidly and estimatedto become an $11B industry by 2025. We’re proud to be part of the next wave of personalized education that has the potential to empower people in developing markets and beyond to grow their skills with coursework tailored to their exact needs and how they like to learn. This year, we will deliver our platform to at least 400,000 more people. We’re excited to see how they use it and where it takes them. 

If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our Startup Program application page here to get more information about our program, and sign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.

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