In early 2020, global learning was catapulted into a purely online world. Rodrigo Rodríguez, CEO and founder of Odilo, discusses why academics, governments, libraries and employers are opening up to the idea of Netflixisation and how unlimited learning ecosystems with a frictionless user experience will revolutionize education in the future.
What has been one of the biggest concerns to the education community since the pandemic?
Access to education is one of the biggest concerns in the sector. We must create equality in education by making the highest quality digital content seamlessly accessible and affordable to all.
In this digital era which is evolving around us, educational technologies can be heralded as the savior, as long as they offer relevant functionalities and are properly implemented. As this online world becomes the ‘new normal’, we must think about how we can tailor to the individual learners needs rather than the collective.
What do you mean by that?
It’s imperative that institutions, adopt intelligent content platforms to create customized, unlimited learning experiences. It’s not enough to purely host content online. By utilizing data-driven, AI powered solutions, the experience can be personalized, offering unlimited learning possibilities for learners. An unlimited learning ecosystem, if you will.
It’s our mission to democratize quality educational content and provide the possibility to create personalized platforms for different kinds of institutions like schools, universities and corporates, making the learning experience seamless and unique.
You’ve been dubbed the ‘Netflix of Education’, do you think that is a fair comparison?
I think it gives you a comparable insight. Our company’s mission is help any public or private organization to have quality access to culture and education through an unlimited learning ecosystem – a comprehensive service that includes content management technology and e-learning solutions. We provide an environment that offers all necessary learning tools for any person with a frictionless user experience.
However, our platform is free to the learner. The educational establishment or company holds the content agreement.
Instead, of TV series and films, the user gets one-click access to over three million pieces of content, whether it be audiobooks, ebooks, podcasts, videos, newspapers, courses, from 5,300 of the best digital content providers, think Disney, National Geographic and Pearson, in over 40 languages.
The platform can be tailored by the organization and user for their specific requirements. The AI capabilities mean that the platform is also learning too, always aggregating data to suggest the best content for the user and adapting to the user’s needs.
The ‘Netflix of Education’ comparison arose when the Minister of Education of Chile publicly presented their new ODILO platform with the tagline: "We have created our Chilean Netflix of Education for our country".
Although flattering and a comparison easy for people to understand, we have in fact created our own category, an ‘unlimited learning ecosystem’ and that’s exciting. We have created a first in its kind and are able to revolutionize learning behaviors.
Aside from education, how can an online learning platform be used?
As a culture case, governments are offering the platform to its citizens. For example, the platform is provided in the Netherlands to offer high-quality content of all formats to their citizens.
In a corporate environment. We are seeing many employers reinforcing its company’s status as a desired place to work by utilizing our intelligent content platform to help sustain a competitive advantage. Vodafone has adapted the platform to their structure, values, and strategic plan. It now has a digital transformation program designed to boost lifelong learning and employee engagement.
How can an unlimited learning culture help employees engage?
Learning new skills that are directly applicable to your job increases motivation, job satisfaction, efficiency, innovation, adaptability and overall makes for better and happier professionals. The importance of learning today is greater than ever.
In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, an alarming 54% of employees will require significant re- and up-skilling by 2022.
There is not only a need for technical skills; soft skills are becoming a critical asset. The cost to the global economy is expected to escalate due to numerous issues such as increased workload, higher operating costs, difficulties to meet quality standards, challenges in introducing new working standards, and more.
By giving the ability to employees to acquire any skills they want, when they want them, without content limitations, it really does give your company a sustainable competitive advantage.
Can you tell me more about these customized ‘Netflix’ learning experiences?
The key is to utilize integrated technology to provide intelligent ‘Netflix’ style unlimited learning experiences that adapts to every user.
We provide a learning coach and content creation factory by customizing learning experiences with the design and management of certified learning paths, learning clubs, reading plans, onboarding plans and communities. We also provide learning coaches to support the learners.
Then the ‘Netflix’ experience as a service element provides personalized new content suggestions, learning campaigns, contests and notifications.
Making online learning resources accessible to all learners has proven a challenge for many educational establishments in the past, how is Odilo addressing this?
At Odilo, we work to make our intelligent digital library more and more inclusive for all, especially for learners with special educational needs.
With this philosophy in mind, we have created the new Odilo accessibility module. Those who have learning difficulties or reduced visual abilities can have a learning experience suited to their needs. Each electronic textbook can be listened to and offer technology developed especially for easy reading for people with dyslexia or difficulties for reading and learning. These technologies can be used at any time, from anywhere and on all devices, both online and offline.
What will be the ‘new normal’ for education and learning now?
I’d like to say that things will go back to normal again but what this pandemic has taught us is to quickly react and actually act.
Before, we had the luxury of time that allowed us to procrastinate and stick with the status quo to keep the peace. Now fully submerged into an online world, people have had the opportunity to trial many digital platforms and see the tremendous benefits they have to offer.
As a blended learning environment looks imminent, online, intelligent platforms tailored to the individual will continue to prevail.
How do you feel you are providing positive change in the world?
Our solution has proven to help governments and institutions worldwide to create equality in education, as it allows them to create their own unlimited learning ecosystems with a frictionless user experience.
Since the pandemic, we have opened up our platforms to ensure that learning never stops for millions of students, teachers and families around the world, helping to solve the problem of the big investment individuals need to make to acquire educational resources.
Rodrigo Rodríguez, CEO and founder, Odilo