The Problem

There are 180 million people in Pakistan and half of them cannot read or write. There are far more illiterate people in the rest of the world. Educating people in such large numbers is not possible through the traditional approaches to education. Technology has to be a critical piece of any scalable solution.

However, this is not something new. We have known this for 40 years. Over the past 40 years, the use of technology in education has increased substantially. There have even been some successes. However, the pervasiveness of education we had been hoping for is still elusive. Most folks shy away from educational opportunities, even if they are free and easily accessible.

Here are some possible reasons:

Content Issues:

Mind-numbingly BORweNG!

No relation with real-world problems

Unrealistic assumption that all learners can figure out how to apply the content themselves

Ugly design (dark, drab colors or dated clip-art images)

Learning Management Applications Issues:

Complex (read: Busy) interfaces

Unfriendly navigation

Expensive (price and maintenance)

Sustainability Issues:

Dependence on bandwidth that is not available in major parts of the world

Wrong KPI’s (e.g. measuring enrollment rather than effectiveness)

Zero motivation for learners to spend time and effort

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. However it does help put the challenge in perspective.

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