Online education has boomed.
Many universities are offering online courses as a matter of, erm, course. Some are partnering with online businesses that offer the infrastructure, support and professionalism that will help students learn quickly and easily, as academics are generally no good at emailing, let alone setting up and monitoring effective online courses.
Sam Paddock, CEO of GetSmarter, is forthright about the educational benefits of online learning to students: “Online education opens up high quality education to many more people than has ever been possible in the past.
Key to the provision of high quality online education is a people-driven support model, rather than an impersonal distance learning model. At GetSmarter we provide high-touch support, with a resulting 94% completion rate.”
Now, Sydney-based Yellow Banana are getting on the online education bandwagon, by centralising both traditional education and the e-learning offered by by companies like GetSmarter.
I’ve got a lovely bunch of…
Founder and Managing Director Jess Banaszak wants Yellow Banana “to provide a user-friendly website for all Australians to be able to search, learn and discover opportunities to teach and learn their way.”
This is an aim that is close to Banaszak’s heart, as she explained, “I found it really hard to find something that I could learn whilst I was recovering from a broken spine. The search was really hard and frustrating.”
Yellow Banana could also provide a valuable service to people outside of the reach of traditional education systems but still keen on learning opportunities.
“I think this kind of service is really important in Australia, especially when there are so many country or outback communities who might not have access to learning opportunities, or even know about them. Plus, in the fast-changing world of education it is really hard to keep up with all the new choices popping up all over the place,” Banaszak continued.
So, what will Yellow Banana offer?
Essentially, a centralised resource of teaching and learning opportunities designed to cover every education level from ‘Kiddies’ to Higher Education, but also things outside of the traditional education system.
Think “yoga and juggling to cocktail-making and kid’s swimming lessons”, says Banaszak. Far from being a negative, this eschewal of the Higher Education sphere differentiates Yellow Banana in a positive way from the online learning platforms mentioned before. If you want to learn something small and finicky that no university bothers with, Yellow Banana could point the way.
What about school?
Banaszak is adamant that the services offered by Yellow Banana should assist traditional education whilst at the same time helping users to negotiate their way through the fast-growing alternative education arena.
“We believe that one of the best ways to learn is (still) to get face-to-face with a person and get stuck into your topic. But at the same time, there are giant benefits to those who want to learn online – especially private tutoring, or courses you can complete online whilst working full-time. It’s all about helping both the users and the teachers to figure out a way to teach or learn that suits their individual circumstances.”
A lot of bang for your banana
The payoff for teachers and learners is efficiency in the learning process, as Banaszak described: “Teachers will be able to reach a national audience in a simple, easy and cost-effective way.
It solves the problem of where to advertise their services and how to reach their target audience while avoiding the ridiculous costs of placing ads in the back of the newspaper – especially if you only run one cooking class a week.
The payoff for users is that the site will be able to sort results by price, rating, category, location and teacher qualifications, so the users can quickly find something that fits their needs perfectly.”
According to Banaszak, Yellow Banana will be the first company to bring a website of this kind to Australia.
But, the real payoff for Banaszak and her team? “Being able to create something from scratch, collaborate with my team, bounce around crazy ideas and spend time on something that gets me excited and enthusiastic about getting to work that day.”
Truer entrepreneurial words have never been spoken.