As the pandemic subsides and academic normalcy begins to return, educationists face a new challenge to come up with innovative solutions to help students catch up. With many students lagging behind due to distant learning, losing concentration because of classes being virtual and getting distracted often, now more than ever, there is a need to make learning more fun. But how does that happen?
The answer to that question lies in creating interesting, engaging, and useful educational content that is easy to access. And that’s something TikTok, the popular social media platform, is working on through its new digital learning programme #ExamReady.
TikTok has partnered with Edkasa (Pakistan’s fastest growing ed-tech platform) and LUMS to launch a digital learning programme that will facilitate learning and provide easy access to high quality educational content on TikTok, designed to help millions of Pakistani high school students.
As one of the implementing partners, Edkasa will be developing content for TikTok. Annum Sadiq, co-founder of Edkasa told Images that since its inception, Edkasa has recorded millions of hours of watch time for their video content on their app, YouTube channel, and via live streaming services in classrooms.
“Just last year, over five million questions were answered on Edkasa’s app by Pakistani students. We have always championed a human centred design approach and invest heavily in understanding the learning preferences and challenges of our students.”
Fun, interactive, and engaging content — the future of learning! Educationists all over the world believe that the future of education is fun learning — game learning, educational social media content, interactive learning… you name it! This programme does exactly that — makes the process of learning interactive and fun for students.
While it is understandable that traditional classroom teaching and books can’t be replaced, the videos created under #ExamReady will focus on learning exam hacks, top mistakes to avoid in exam preparation, real life science where textbook STEM concepts will be explained through their application and challenges to make learning active and fun while also enabling students to test their own knowledge.
Farah Tukan, head of government relations and public policy-Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan (METAP) at TikTok, told Images that the content will mainly focus on high school students aged 13 to 18, however it will also be beneficial for teachers and parents. “This project will bring to life over 500 educational videos online covering chemistry, physics and mathematics, including study tips and exam hacks that will benefit all students, regardless of which curriculum of education they follow.”
The duration of these videos will vary according to the learning outcome expected from them, this project will bring the best of knowledge to learning content creation. Edkasa’s Sadiq is very excited about this partnership as it brings the expertise of all three organisations to the table. And rightly so, because who would understand user engagement better than TikTok and with LUMS providing the deep acumen on traditionally successful approaches and cutting-edge pedagogy that informs this content creations exercise, the outcome will be unmatched.
Is Pakistan ready to use social media platforms for learning?
Sadiq believes the young Pakistani learner is open to using innovative social media platforms to consume knowledge. “Edkasa started out as a live video streaming service and a YouTube Channel and as we learnt about how students want to learn and are learning using social media and video content, we evolved it into a video on demand app for high school students to curate and improve the learning experience for our fast-growing learning community,” she said.
“In today’s time, it is important to meet learners where they are at and TikTok’s popularity, especially amongst adolescents in Pakistan, is testament to the affinity they have with video content, and this is why working with them, we hope to take the learning game to the next level,” she told Images.
Reaching schools and students across Pakistan
Any educational programme or initiative run in person has a limit when it comes to the reach and this limit is often exhausted in bigger cities where opportunity and access is relatively higher. However, when a social media platform is used, a much wider reach can be expected. And when that platform is TikTok, the possibilities can be endless.
While talking about how TikTok will ensure that the programme reaches its target market, Tukan mentioned that TikTok launched its digital education campaign #EduTok in Pakistan only a few months ago with the wider objective of democratising learning in the region and making educational content accessible to everyone. “The campaign has already garnered billions of views to date, making #EduTok the go to place for creators to learn from each other and acquire new skills and knowledge across various categories. This partnership with LUMS and Edkasa will add more valuable content on the platform which will continue to benefit millions of Pakistani users.”
What makes this effort even more promising is that Edkasa (the app) is already being used in schools in both big and small towns. Mr Shauman, the principal of St Paul School in Mian Channu who used Edkasa at his school, said his students are really benefiting from Edkasa’s classes and enjoying them too. “All relevant content is covered and there are no gaps.”
Mr James Qadir, principal of The Light School in Sheikhupura, who has also used Edkasa in the past, echoed Mr Shauman and added that not only are Edkasa’s lectures helpful for the students, but students also really enjoy the learning process as well.
This experience ensures that Edkasa’s field and practical expertise combined with Tiktok’s reach and its mass users will enable the programme to have a much wider reach than just the app on its own.
A key priority of this programme is to ensure that these videos reach communities that have limited access to high quality education due to gender, geography, and economic circumstances.
“Social media has been seen as an equaliser where these users have been able to actively engage in conversations and experiences that they earlier did not have access to for no fault of their own. We do envision these videos to be accessible to such learners especially since the medium of instruction will be in Urdu with translation in key regional languages,” added Sadiq.
The videos will be live by the end of August and while the programme is first of its kind in Pakistan, let’s hope it marks a positive impact in social media consumption patterns for learners and increases reach of knowledge and high quality educational content for students across Pakistan.