CEO Series

Students Are Too Used To Learning From Books, This M'sian App Offers A More Hands-On Approach

  • BeED is an education technology company that specialises in experiential learning, which is learning through the process of real-world experience and reflection.
  • Students can participate in learning experiences that can be purchased through their online store. These experiences include learning about geography, physics, and culture by going to actual places relevant to the topics covered.
  • They welcome external educators to create programmes on their platform under the guidance of the BeED team.

Learning seems pretty simple nowadays. Students now only need to key in a few queries on Google and are immediately presented with almost everything they need to know.

However, not everything can be done online.

Nothing Beats Real Experience

Officially launched in May 2017, BeED (which stands for Beyond Education) aims to provide students from all levels the chance to participate in real-life learning activities.

Basically, the goal is to allow them to learn as they visit real locations in the world. These could include visiting historical sites such as Wat Arun in Bangkok, iconic landmarks such as the Petronas Twin Towers, and important educational institutions such as the National Museum in Singapore.

The platform was founded by Michael Chian—an seasoned educator with 11 years of experience, including being the principal of an international school—and Jimmy Koay, who has over 20 years of corporate experience dealing with MNCs.

“There has been an increase in demand from schools for experiential learning,” the founders said.

“Most learning management systems are catered specifically to classroom use. In contrast, we’re here to bridge the content learned in the classroom itself to the real world outside.”

According to Michael, the idea to begin BeED arose from his observations of the field trips that his school sends its students on twice a year.

“This started a realisation that school excursions weren’t needs that were created only by schools,” he said. “There are many people who want to see the world and have learning experiences.”

“They’re also always looking for added information that could help them learn and grow not only the fields of histories and humanities, but also the multi-disciplinary subjects that are populating the world.”

Currently, the BeED platform lets interested students purchase structured learning experiences (LE) that relate to a variety of educational topics.

Students then have the freedom to travel to the location associated with that particular LE and go through the session at their own pace, with BeED teaching them about the subjects through structured lessons and Q&A modules.

Choose from a variety of learning experiences on BeED’s online store

For example, lower secondary students interested in learning about geography can purchase an LE from the BeED store that will let them learn about coastal formations in Tanah Lot. The students can then travel to Tanah Lot and go through the experience using the BeED app on their smartphones.

Image Credit: BeED

These experiences can last anywhere over an hour, with prices starting at around RM17 or SGD6 per experience.

The BeED app also helps students organise their trips, with the website offering a travel booking services for individuals as well as large groups. An itinerary planner and journal are also included in the app.

Teaching Opportunities

Through the platform, educators around the world can also remotely use BeED to design and produce their own LEs.

“Anyone with academic knowledge and the love of education can become a BeED educator,” the founders said.

To become one, an individual would be required to go through a short training process where they’ll create their first LE under guidance from the BeED team, most of whom are experts in their own fields.

“Once their LEs have been vetted and approved, they will then be able to start creating and marketing more on the BeED platform.”

This presents an opportunity for teachers and academics to earn a side income by applying their expertise to the real world.

“Rest assured, these LEs will continuously be vetted to ensure that they adhere to a level of excellence,” they added.

“The more learning experiences an educator writes, the greater their passive income could be, as he or she would be marketing not only to schools, but to parents from all around the world as well.”

Validation From Abroad

While the BeED platform is still relatively new, the founders are quite happy with the reponses to their idea.

“We’ve acquired many strong leads from our recent participation in the EduTech conference in Singapore,” they said. “After becoming the only Asian company to be accepted into xEdu, a Finnish educational technology accelerator, we’ve had increasing interest from schools in Asia and Finland itself.”

“Currently, traction has been very promising and we only hope we will be able to cope with all the interest.”

The BeED platform now has partnerships with a number of schools from around the Southeast Asia region as well as some from China, and is also working together on co-creation with some educational institutions in Finland.

“As we’ve only been operational for about a year, we can only gauge that this year’s profits will double, if not triple, judging by the number of new accounts that have been signing on.”

Founders Michael Chian (left) and Jimmy Koay (right) / Image Credit: BeED

Speaking about what BeED hopes to achieve, the founders were quite vocal about their plans to change how education is done.

“We intend to change the perception of learning and to expand its availability to even impoverished segments of society.”

“We aim to get endorsements from major accredited bodies around the world, and we also aim to seek out the best practices to keep our platform adaptable to the multitude of cultures and pedagogical practices globally.” they said.

On their way to achieving this goal, the BeED team are working hard to lay down the groundwork that will eventually help them get there.

“The challenge has always been to keep ourselves at the forefront of technology,” the founders said. “We’re constantly trying to improve the user experience on our platform as well as better understand the educational landscapes in other countries.”

  • To learn more about BeED and their learning experiences, check out their website or Facebook page. You can also download the BeED app on iOS or Android.

Feature Image Credit: BeED

 

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