Online learning has exploded in the past few years, with new companies like Khan Academy and Coursera offering students a way to learn subjects without ever setting foot in a classroom. The success of e-learning has led to a wide variety of new educational videos and learning opportunities being made available to potential students all over the world.
While variety is great, breadth can make it hard to find what it is you’re looking for. One Seattle company is hoping to solve that problem by building a nexus for e-learning content.
LearnBig is designed to be a portal to all kinds of e-learning, including links to games, apps, videos, audio, MOOCs (massively open online courses) and other types of educational content. The site’s search tools include filters for grade level, subject, and whether or not the content complies with national educational standards to help users dig for the right stuff.
“We want to be the most comprehensive, relevant and trusted brand for online learning and training resources,” said Victor Alhadeff, LearnBig’s CEO and the former CEO of Egghead Software.
Getting there is no small feat, especially since there’s a lot of content to sift through. According to Alhadeff, LearnBig called on the services of a “army of interns” to seek out educational content on the web and add it to LearnBig’s database.
“As long as it’s truly educational, we indexed it and put it on the site,” Alhadeff said.
Once the content is linked through LearnBig, users can rate it and write reviews about it, which will affect how different modules are placed in search results. Once things get going, the best content should rise to the top of the site.
LearnBig also features Career Paths, which provide older students with learning programs that pull from all around the web to get them set up for a career in a skill-based field like mobile app development or 3D modeling.
Alhadeff hopes that, in addition to helping students who are already well-served by the education system, his new venture will help level the playing field for underprivileged students the world over who don’t always have access to the best educational resources in their classrooms.
While it may not seem like a perfect analog, Aldaheff says that he thinks his years helming Egghead will prove useful in LearnBig’s future.
“The retail experience in the physical world is being duplicated here in the virtual world,” he said, citing the use of demos and the ability to try things out as key components of both companies’ business models.
There is one big difference between Egghead and LearnBig, though: reach.
“When we opened an Egghead store … our trading radius was 10 miles around that store. You open one website, and your trading radius is the whole world. You take that for granted, but it’s remarkable,” Alhadeff said.
Previously on GeekWire: What’s your teen’s future? Sparkon maps a path for life
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.