Khan Academy–Start Learning Now

logoOn a recent browse through the App store a reference to the  Khan Academy app  reminded of a great TED talk (embedded below) given by the Academy’s founder Sal Khan on how it first started and as with so many great ideas how it pretty much came about by accident. Whilst many readers will already be aware of this vast and free educational video portal , for those not, let me give you a quick overview…

Khan Academy is an online space where you can learn or revise dozens of subjects, from calculus to computer programming, presented logically by subject experts and completely free. It all started in 2003 when Kahn a hedge fund analyst started tutoring his cousins in maths, who lived in different cities and as part of this started posting video tutorials on YouTube so his cousins could watch them at their own pace. Before long these videos started gaining traction with other online users and snowballed into what we can access today.

A central tenet of the Academy’s success is the self-paced nature of this portal and 24/7 availability, users can work through easy to follow content, re-watch videos or pause them, when and where suits them. Aimed primarily at second and third level learners the range of subjects (and videos) continues to grow and what was initially maths focused  it rapidly evolving  into a cross-curricular learning tool for history, science, economics and more. And all this for free, anyone can use Khan Academy and you don’t even have to sign up! Though free membership is advisable as it enables users to track their learning, set goals, access practice exercises and quizzes. Another interesting feature of joining is the availability of volunteer coaches,  who  can watch progress and mentor students one-to-one.

screenshotAs of January 2014, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has over 1,600,000 subscribers and their videos have been viewed over 355 million times. Also the development of Kahn Academy Apps, for Windows, iOS and Android means content is accessible on more and more devices so ideal for learning on the go.

A great debate continues on the merits of the Khan Academy approach (See  Khan Academy: Rise and Backlash) and whether it can revolutionise education as some claim. I certainly don’t have the answer but if you believe content is  king, Khan Academy has its in spades so its certainly worth checking out and making your own call…

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