CHANGING HOW WE LEARN
Edulution (established in 2015) is a digital learning company that runs after-school numeracy and literacy programs in Zambia and more recently in Namibia, designed to support the public-school system. We are a social enterprise dedicated to the mission of "changing how the developing world learns."
At the heart of Edulution is the drive to turn learners from passive classroom occupants into confident, inspired participants driving their own learning journey. We fully understand the daunting challenges teachers face: large groups, varying levels of learners ability and attainment and limited time and resources. Edulution is a solution designed to support and serve both learning and teaching outcomes.
Using our 'technosapien' learning platform, coaches at our 'Mobile Learning Centres' deliver numeracy, literacy and ICT skills to thousands of vulnerable Zambian and Namibian children. Our coaches facilitate learning and peer-to-peer support in an engaging environment enabled by leading edge technology.
Edulution delivers its numeracy and literacy content via tablets. During a session, learners log in to their account on a tablet. Coaches have a live dashboard of information on a laptop that monitors and tracks each learner’s progress. Coaches identify strengths and weaknesses and direct learners to specific goals.
This unique combination of innovative technology and skilled coaches is having a measurable impact. Our ‘alpha’ graduates performed 25% better than their peers in the Grade 7 National examination.
According to Brookings research, 75% of children from families earning less than $2 day in Zambia and no doubt in other Sub Saharan African countries such as Namibia know so little about maths they may as well not have gone to school. Literacy does not fare much better and the situation is worse for rural children and for girls.
It is almost impossible for these children to ‘catch up’ on missed schooling in over-crowded classes of 58 or more. As a result, they fall behind and ultimately drop out - their confidence, self-esteem and economic prospects are irreparably damaged.
The Edulution program helps identify and correct gaps in the children’s grasp of foundational concepts. Our learners are nurtured from being dependent to being self-directed, further enhancing effectiveness and empowerment.
The link between numeracy and literacy levels and economic outcomes is well documented - we aim to create confident learners who are able to participate in their economy.
Armed with their Mobile Learning Centre (a backpack of tablets, a wi-fi router, charging stations and a laptop loaded with great content), our coaches facilitate effective learning just about anywhere, anytime. Their earnings are based on actual learner activity and progress. Our training process focuses on nurturing self-belief to unleash purpose-led, innovative and accountable coaches.
The coaches are supported by our hub of experts who provide training, accreditation, tech support, data analytics, monitoring & evaluation, reporting and career management. As coaches gain accreditation and a proven track record, they earn more money, manage and train new coaches and centres.
Our technology is smart and robust. We can operate in just about any environment. Many of our centres are in hot, dusty and remote rural locations off the grid, many hours from our central hub. Our hardware has to be tough and we need to be able to fix it when it goes wrong.
Our communication platform is able to disseminate information seamlessly and effectively between the centres, our hub and sponsors. With occasional internet access all learner activity is sent to the hub for monitoring and data analysis from anywhere around the world. This data is the basis for the coaches’ earnings as well as the comprehensive reporting and feedback to coaches, program managers, teachers and sponsors. Our intelligent data analytics plays a key role in ensuring effectiveness.
Our numeracy program uses Khan Academy Lite and other tablet apps. Learners engage with videos, practice exercises and play games to strengthen mental agility, learn foundational ICT and numeracy skills and build maths confidence. For our literacy program, IXL provides the core content supported by assorted apps. Learners work through a series of structured lessons that build up proficiency in a fun and interactive way, allowing them to master topics at their own pace.
Our numeracy courses are benchmarked against SACMEQ and the national curriculum.
Our literacy courses are benchmarked against Cambridge language examinations and the national curriculum.
Smart technology, engaging content and entrepreneurial coaches are important but support from the schools and communities we serve is vital.
Edulution’s success is predicated on the ability to develop and nurture good relationships within the communities that it serves. Wherever possible, coaches are deployed at centres in or close to the community in which they grew up.
We engage with the Ministry of Education, Government Officials, Chiefs, village elders, headmasters, teachers and parents before committing to a community. Once operational, we ensure all involved are kept informed of our progress as well as our challenges - which the local community often help us solve.
A key pillar of our model is the ability to track and monitor the learner’s progress. This enables the coach to direct the learner to specific goals, quickly identify weaknesses and strengths, facilitate effective ‘peer to peer’ learning and allows for monitoring, analytics and reporting to drive effectiveness.
We regularly test our learners to monitor improvement. Currently, we are measuring an average rate of improvement of 93% (between the first and last test) on our numeracy courses.
A typical learner starts with a baseline test score of 35% and after 12 to 15 months on the program is expected to master our foundational numeracy course scoring 85% or more. Mastery is a key concept for us!
Grade 7 Edulution learners taking national exams in Zambia are outperforming their peers in the national exams by 25%.
REACH AND SUPPORT
We employ 100 coaches (previously unemployed youth) to serve close to 11,000 active learners a month across 37 urban townships and rural remote areas across Zambia and another 20 coaches to serve 1,600 active learners a month across 6 centres in an urban township in Windhoek, Namibia called Katutura. Learners spend 10 - 14 hours per month actively engaged in extra-curricular learning.
The centres are hosted in a variety of communal spaces including government and community schools, church halls and some faith based schools. More than 50% of centres have no access to power and are supported by solar equipment installed and managed by Edulution.
EDULUTION AS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a return but it’s what they do with their returns that sets them apart – reinvesting them to create positive social change.
Edulution provides an innovative learning platform and creates employment. This allows us to tackle social problems, provide training and entrepreneurial opportunities, supporting impoverished communities.
Like any start-up, social enterprises require initial funding. Edulution values the support it continues to receive from the Funders, Sponsors and Donors who believe in the vision of a sustainable social enterprise changing the way the developing world learns.