With a personalized AI-powered tutor, the future of education is here to stay
Nhon Ma is the co-founder and CEO of Numerade, a short-form video education platform, and he is on a mission to close the educational opportunity gap with the help of technology. He shares about the platform, his passion for educational equality, and the effectiveness of AI tutors.
With more than 15 million students using their education solution, edtech platform Numerade seeks to arm each learner with a personalized artificial intelligence-powered tutor. In July, the California-based platform raised $26 million in Series A funding for its AI-backed tutoring platform.
The Sociable interviewed Nhon Ma, the company’s co-founder and CEO, about what exactly his platform offers students and what makes his e-learning solution stand out.
What is Numerade?
Over the past few decades, teachers and students have embraced online education and many students even prefer the versatility and comfort of e-learning. With widespread school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning boomed and curriculum began to be offered on all kinds of platforms and apps.
In fact, some families have come to prefer stand-alone virtual schools and would like that it remains a viable option as schools reopen. However, there remains some uncertainty about which online platforms are reliable, whether or not the information given is useful, and if the material is suitable for each individual student.
Numerade works with expert educators from top-ranked institutions in the United States and abroad to develop a personalized and reliable education solution. Numerade is a venture-backed, high-growth education technology startup based in Santa Monica, now valued at $100 million. Founded in 2018, the edtech company creates video and interactive content for learners of all ages across various topics.
Numerade teachers go through a rigorous application process to join the platform, which boasts the world’s largest science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) library with step-by-step video solutions and course content. The over 30k educators on the platform have produced and contributed approximately 1.2 million short-form STEM videos. Since its launch in 2018, Numerade has helped 20 million students learn.
What makes Numerade different?
The Numerade mission is to “close the educational opportunity gap by unlocking and democratizing access to extraordinary educators and the content they have to offer.” A first-generation American and Ivy League graduate, Ma knows the value of education and its ability to open doors, naming it a key focal point in life.
He is not only passionate about education quality but equality as well. “Our mission from the beginning was to democratize access to great educators and great content,” he says. The platform targets students studying STEM across middle school, high school, and college regardless of socioeconomic status.
During quarantine, students’ learning time per school day was cut in half, decreasing their average performance particularly in STEM subjects. The impact of COVID was especially hard for students from low-income households who were hit disproportionately hard by closures.
Numerade is tackling these challenges head on. Free online STEM summer bootcamps are being offered to students this summer on the platform, in an effort to pull forward students who have fallen behind and push top-achieving students higher, regardless of their ability to pay.
These 15 course-specific camps were developed by expert educators from top-ranked high schools and universities delivering the same quality educational experience from those institutions to students at no cost. Numerade offers three main products: videos for foundational knowledge, step-by-step videos that turn that knowledge into a skill, and quizzes that test students on what they have learned so far.
An AI tutor v a real-life tutor
Ultimately, the Numerade solution is a money saving option. The best tutors have limited time and are generally expensive, and group tutoring has been known to decrease the quality of learning.
Numerade’s AI-powered algorithm is supported by real humans at a fraction of the cost of traditional tutoring. Numerade offers short-form videos that explain how certain equations and experiments work, and then uses an algorithm to make those explainers better suited to a learner’s comprehension style. According to Ma, the AI model “serves the right videos to the students and these video solutions are taught by highly skilled educators.”
The concern that an AI tutor won’t provide the same level of education is a valid one. However, Numerade is different. “We leverage the best of both worlds with our AI Tutor,” says Ma. The Numerade solution combines both with machine learning lesson planning and videos created by real life educators for a more personalized approach.
The future is bright
Ma is excited about the future. The latest funding will expand Numerade’s reach and impact more students for the better. Additionally, it will pave the way for more development of AI tech. “This funding will allow us to reach millions more students, providing personalized asynchronous lessons and experiences in parity with traditional learning,” May says.
“I am incredibly excited about the journey we are on. We set out to provide the next generation of students with a better platform to enhance their studies and problem-solving skills, and I’m very proud of the work we are doing. There is a lot more to come from us. Stay tuned.”
Disclaimer: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.