WA startup looks to fix “broken” online education

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Nate Sturcke SkillSocial
Nate Sturcke from SkillSocial. Image supplied.

Oh joy – you have an impending online training program. Log on, watch some videos, and answer a quiz. Great.

The current model of online learning is broken, so says local startup entrepreneur and trainer Nate Sturcke. And he’s launching something called ‘SkillSocial‘ to fix it.

It’s not just Nate saying this. Studies have shown online courses have a 10% to 20% higher retention rate failure than traditional classroom environments (Herbert, 2006).

In all, 40% to 80% online students drop out of online classes (B. Smith, 2010).

Through his own company, Skills of the Modern Age (SOMA), Nate has faced the challenges of online delivery after delivering workshops and bootcamps to more than 9,000 corporate professionals in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia since 2019.

“I believe the current model of online learning is broken. Often students are expected to sit and watch videos by themselves with little learning reinforcement and very rarely any social interaction,” Nate told Startup News.

Nate Sturcke

SkillSocial’s mission is to make online learning more enjoyable and achieve better learning outcomes by leveraging technology to facilitate social interaction, peer-learning and asynchronous learning.

The online environment helps organisations and educational institutions run rich blended, cohort-based learning experiences that combine online learning, self-directed learning and peer collaboration.

SkillSocial screenshots

Partners

SkillSocial has also announced two partnerships with two alternative models of education in WA, and is set to launch, through them, to local secondary school students in 2022:

All Saints College’s new Studio School is as a first-of-kind model in Australia that offers alternative pathways to mainstream schooling structures and systems. Based in a new off-campus location in Fremantle, The Studio School empowers students to combine their studies with real-world projects in order to achieve their WACE (secondary schooling accreditation).

Studio School uses SkillSocial to offer traditional learning subjects alongside new, individualised pathways for students opting into the program.

The IDEA Academy is an alternative option to mainstream education for young creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs. Targetted at senior secondary-aged students and recent school leavers, IDEA works with global networks to arrange portfolio-based pathways to university, training and employment driven by students’ individual interests.

IDEA is using SkillSocial to develop and deliver student content, encourage self-directed learning and enable peer feedback and collaboration. The IDEA Academy is a recent graduate of Spacecubed’s Plus Eight Tech Accelerator program, and recently closed its first round of funding.

“For us, the future of learning is blended. Online learning gives students the freedom to choose what and how they learn; but they also crave the cultural experience that a face to face cohort provides.”

Rebecca Loftus, IDEA Academy

“Using SkillSocial as our learning platform allows us to deliver this blended experience in a beautifully designed and user-friendly platform.”

“The team at SkillSocial offer a truly customer-centred approach, designing features and customising the user experience in response to our needs”.

What makes SkillSocial different?

Nate’s excited to be getting his new platform out there through these partners. So what makes SkillSocial different?

“Anyone can create video collaboration rooms,” said Nate. “These aren’t just for meetings or workshops, these are living, ongoing rooms that allow users to collaborate on embedded apps like Miro, Google Docs, or Figjam, while they can chat via video and text.

“They are perfect for mentoring sessions, group projects or for hosting facilitated masterclass sessions. Video chat is embedded directly into SkillSocial, meaning users don’t have to send people Zoom links, or even leave the platform.”

There’s also a robust “social learning feed”.

“This [feed] allows facilitators and participants to share and comment on posts, and ask and respond to questions related to specific content items. Facilitators and learners can see at a glance what’s been happening in the cohort and keep the conversation going between facilitated sessions.

“And there’s some gamification: we use fully customisable badging that allows facilitators to reward milestones, contributions and progress.

“In addition, SkillSocial has a powerfully simple content editor that allows facilitators to recreate reusable content modules made up videos, auto-marked quizzes and rich assignments with feedback capability built right in.”

So, there you go, an alternative, new way to improve online education. Go get em, Nate!

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For more: go to Skill.Social