Friday, 12 April 2013

A review of Khan Academy

Khan Academy is not MOOC platform. With several millions of monthly users, it certainly nails the first 3 letters of the acronym. It doesn’t however provide courses as such.

It is nevertheless worth having a detailed look at Khan Academy. If the birth of the MOOCs can be traced back to the seminal Stanford AI Class of late 2011, the professors behind the AI Class admitted to having been heavily influenced by Salman Khan’s TED talk earlier that year.

A hedge fund analyst with multiple degrees from MIT and Harvard, Salman Khan tutored his cousins in maths and quickly started doing so via youtube videos for a better efficiency.

Despite the low production-value of the videos, his cousins told him they actually enjoyed being able to rewind and repeat at will. It was soon obvious that they were not the only ones watching either...

As of April 2013, and after receiving grants and award from the likes of Google and Microsoft, Khan Academy is one of the World’s leading non-profit organisation in the education field and its Youtube channel totals a quarter of a Billion viewers and 900,000 subscribers.

Khan Academy initially focused on primary and secondary education but started to cover other topics as well (GMAT practice, computer science and art history and topical economic issues have been gradually added).

Whilst the initial ‘markers on a blackboard’ video format has remained largely unchanged, detailed statistics are made available for students (also available for teachers in a flipped classroom setting) to monitor progress.

Khan Academy is deservedly seen as a great tool for children and educators in primary and secondary education.
Despite the lack of structured courses, with Salman Khan’s outstanding tutorials on Quantitative Easing or the Chinese currency and US debt and other topical issues, Khan Academy has a lot to offer to other demographics as well.

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