Online education has revolutionised the way students learn by giving learners autonomy over their learning. Nevertheless, the education community is becoming aware of its limitation: its dependency on students’ own motivation to continue studying. A new approach to online learning, therefore, has emerged in Japan to ensure the success of every student – online coaching.
Quipper is one of the largest video learning platforms in Asia. It offers affordable localised digital learning content on a learning management system (LMS) to high school students. Since 2013, when it launched its flagship video service, Quipper has grown to reach a million learners on an annual basis across Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mexico.
Quipper has achieved rapid growth with the quality of its platform and content. Applying agile software development methodologies, the company builds an efficient LMS that reflects voices of users and a variety of use cases. Furthermore, Quipper ensures the quality of content through precise alignment with local curriculums and school practices, as well as a rigorous selection of tutors featured in videos. As a self-learning tool, the LMS enables students to watch lecture videos and answer practice questions at home. Priced at $8 per month, Quipper’s service reduces the education gap arising from geographical and socioeconomic disparities.
Despite the various benefits of online learning, one of the most significant challenges students face is motivation, or rather lack thereof. Amongst Quipper learners, approximately 20%–30% can study on their own. Others need supervision from teachers or parents. To help students reach the learning outcomes they desire, Quipper launched an online coaching service in Japan that addresses the issue of motivation and improves students’ metacognitive skills.
The online coaching service assigns each student a coach who checks on learning progress and shares study tips. The service targets senior high school students who are studying for the national examination for university admission. Coaches are students from top universities who went through the examination process recently.
There are three distinct roles coaches play. First, coaches generate an electronic learning record (ELR) for each student, based on the student’s dream, academic objectives, recent assessment results, extracurricular activities, time available to study and so on. The ELR includes a study plan, learner profile, and learning history. Besides assisting coaches to align learning objectives and expectations with learners, the ELR ensures continuous support of each student even if coaches change.
Once the ELR is generated, coaches start helping learners through the learning process by monitoring their performance using Quipper’s LMS. The monitoring system functions as an accountability system or extrinsic motivation for students. More often than not, we have found that students are motivated by not wanting to disappoint the coaches they enjoy working with. Others see coaches as big brothers or sisters who push them to study.
Lastly, coaches encourage learners to develop metacognitive skills, particularly around regulation of cognition. Coaches are trained to ask questions that provoke students to reflect on their plan, as well as the execution of the plan, and continuously adjust and improve their learning habits. Through the process of generating an ELR, monitoring and mentoring to build metacognitive skills, Quipper’s online coaching service empowers every learner to realise the success they envision.
Quipper believes quality digital learning content is an essential element of teaching and learning in the 21st century. At the same time, accumulating experience in online education across the world has shown us the limitations of online learning in supporting every child. The future of online learning needs to leverage human connection in supporting learning at scale. The journey has just started.
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