Why we are building an educational platform

My co-founder Dorena and I have been working on Humbot for a number of weeks now. We are doing it because we want to achieve two goals: 1) Make learning a habit for more people and 2) increase the public understanding of science.

Humbot is an educational platform that can currently be accessed through our iOS and Android apps. The user receives a continuous feed of articles that explain concepts from natural sciences like Biology, Chemistry and Physics in easy-to-understand, bite-sized texts and images. The articles are written by experts from research and industry.

While I already mentioned what we want to achieve with Humbot, I didn’t say why I think it’s important to achieve these things. I want to get a little bit into why we think it makes sense to invest our time and energy into this venture. There are two main “Whys”. The first one is pretty obvious.

Why 1: Education is the key to all problems humanity is facing

Especially science education. While issues like poverty, hunger, climate change and health are really important, I think the underlying problem to solve is improve the quality, accessibility and cost of science education. If more people worldwide would have a better understanding of science, and a scientific way of thinking, it would be easier to find solutions to the issues mentioned before.

I won’t go into more detail at this point, but if you are interested feel free to look it up — there is more than enough data supporting this. The second “Why” is maybe less well explored.

Why 2: There is huge potential to improve education with technology

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) by companies like Coursera and Udacity and online education platforms such as Khan Academy are already pretty successful in using the Internet and technology to make education better.

But what they are mostly doing is copying and pasting offline to online. They take how stuff is taught offline, and just create an online presence for it with videos. We think that there is a more radical way to use technology to improve education.

It should be possible to move away from the current linear learning path, into a dynamic learning path. A linear learning path is composed of chapters and subchapters that follow and build upon each other. Every student follows the same path. There is little room for individualization.

We want to use technology to grasp what individual users are interested in and how they learn things best, and automatically show content that is relevant for that specific user and explains stuff the way they understand it. This way, it should be possible to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of education compared to how it is done now.

Also, by making Humbot something that fits into the users daily schedule rather than posing an extra effort, we want to increase the frequency of usage and make it into a habit.

This is our current vision and understanding of what we want to achieve. Of course, there is a possibility that this will change and improve over time. If you are curious, check out our apps and talk to us about what you think about the future of education.

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