People interact with the web everyday to learn new things and access knowledge. The never ending disjointed options mean that probability of you missing the good stuff is very high. Most of the times, you don’t even know that the good stuff exists. People also learn socially all the time. LurnQ was conceived to simplify the online learning experience by making it social and personalized.
LurnQ, launched in October 2012 and based out of Mumbai, India, has received a very good response so far from across the globe with over 30,000 unique monthly users. LurnQ provides the user a vast pool of courses by curating learning courses from the net and presenting the same in a clutter free system. With the addition of the social learning experience via feeds/notification, LurnQ makes the learning experience more fun and enticing. LurnQ is a complete community learning platform.
Tarun Mitra, the C.E.O. and co-founder of LurnQ, brings with him a vast exposure and experience in the education business. He was the Vice President – International at Aptech and under his leadership Aptech achieved market leadership status in several countries in the Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East region. The founding team also includes Ramesh Nidadavolu (IIT- Bombay) and Devvrat Arya (IIT- Bombay), engineers with extensive exposure in Internet sector. The team later expanded with Rajshekhar Ratrey (IIT- Bombay) and Vikas Verma (IIT- Bombay). The current LurnQ team consists of about 20 people inclusive of the technology team, non-technology team and interns.
Tarun Mitra talks to LifeBeyondNumbers(LBN) to provide a better insight on LurnQ and its road map ahead.
LBN: Why was there a need of a platform like LurnQ, when there are already other such platforms? What is its USP?
Tarun: The internet has been a key driver of growth in various industries in the past few years. The field of education has seen similar changes. There has been a demographic shift in the knowledge consumption pattern which favors the internet as a preferred medium to acquire knowledge. This makes personalization of content the key ingredient in a successful learning management solution. We’re well aware of how Google and Wikipedia have transformed education to an on demand service – we learn when we need it. There have been developments with a trans-formative potential for education. MIT and Harvard brought in the open courseware initiatives whereas Khan Academy ushered in an era of MTV model of education. We are witnessing another revolution taking place, popularly known as MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). All this is great for the learners; however there is a challenge in terms of these never ending options that a learner is exposed to.
We developed LurnQ to address this issue. LurnQ connects learners with relevant learning content, expert teachers and a social community in a unified manner. The biggest advantage of LurnQ comes from the emerging open learning ecosystem. A user can consume a variety of content from diverse sources on a single platform with more relevance and personalization. Our vision is to develop LurnQ as the core learning utility that learners use ubiquitously to learn as individuals and in groups.
We do not have any direct competitors and LurnQ’s USP is its social and familiar interface that has zero learning curve and it instantly connects you with millions of open learning resources eliminating the need to visit hundreds of resources separately. Second unique feature is the Learn Feed that gives you real time updates on your learning interests.
LBN: What is the current revenue model of LurnQ?
Tarun: The current version of LurnQ with its key social and open learning aspect will always remain free to users. To monetize, we are building an online course market place which will allow anyone with the expertise to build online courses and sell to our users. Similarly, private tutors or coaching centers can use LurnQ to offer their services in an online format.
LBN: What are the scale-up plans for LurnQ? Are you looking at more rounds of funding apart from the initial funding of SeedFund?
Tarun: We target to reach over 100 million worldwide users in the next five years and become the most preferred online learning and teaching tool. The team is continuously building on bettering its product and we aspire to develop LurnQ as the core learning utility that learners use every day ubiquitously on all devices to learn and manage their learning. We want to create an unified and personalized learning experience for our users in an increasingly overwhelming digital learning environment.
To fund this plan, we are currently in advanced discussions with a few leading venture capital firms.
LBN: What is the targeted user base for LurnQ?
Tarun: LurnQ offers a platform for learning and teaching that is free for everyone. It caters to a diverse online audience and is relevant to everyone in general. The key segment that we address now is of life long learners.
LBN: What are the recent updates on LurnQ?
Tarun: LurnQ will soon be launching a new feature which will enable anyone to teach and take a course online. Over the past few years, online education has grown in the form of Massive Open Online Courses(MOOC). With the advent of multiple online course platforms, it has become difficult to keep up with multiple courses and connecting with peers of similar learning interests. Also, for someone who wants to teach online courses, there is no platform for creating and building followership of learners as such. We thought of solving this problem by bringing a whole new experience to taking online courses. This will create a course marketplace which allows you to teach a free or paid course on any topic of your choice and/or expertise. For learners, you can pay for an entire course or only a particular section of the course.
The following infographic gives an insight on what LurnQ is all about.
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