Bhattacharyya speaks at EdTech conference
(from an eLearningInside article about dot Learn)
In a country where Internet connection is not something easily accessible to the public, how do EdTech companies reach the public? Dot Learn, an EdTech company in Nigeria, is servicing other companies in the developing world by reducing the data of their videos through its compression algorithm. This decrease in size is critical for developing countries in which the majority of the population use its mobile phones in either 2G or 3G connection to access the Internet.
Sam Bhattacharyya, CEO and Co-Founder of Dot Learn, noticed how different “the access to Internet” is in a developing country when he was serving in the Peace Corps in rural Mexico. There were only be few libraries that offered public WiFi, and the price of data was too high. Even now, an hour of video would cost around $2 to $3USD in third world countries, such as Kenya or Nigeria. According to Bhattacharyya, connectivity will still be an issue for the next 10 to 15 years.
Due to the costs associated with streaming or downloading, some companies in Indonesia and South Africa are taking online courses offline by mailing an SD card or a USB flash drive with the online courses on it. A student could order a high school package for math or university-level economics and find a CD or a USB stick in his or her mail.
Even though there are problems regarding the data infrastructure, this does not mean that e-learning is not prevalent in these countries. A poll conducted by Bhattacharyya revealed that most African programmers that responded to his survey were self-taught. “Because of the unavailability of jobs in certain African countries, people are resorting to other skill acquisitions as a way to empower themselves”, said Bhattacharyya. This is leading to the tech-boom phase in Africa initiated by startups.
A great example of this tech-boom is the eLearning website DoviLearn, a MOOC platform based in Nigeria. It offers courses that might be found on other websites such as Coursera or Udacity (“How to Make 10K USD Monthly Through Amazon Sales,” “Google AdWords Training”), but they are specifically designed for a Nigerian and West African framework. One can also obtain a Certificate of Training for a small fee of around $9USD, similar with other eLearning providers’ model. Since its creation, DoviLearn has gained around 25,000 users and is expected to gain more as the country develops.