Among the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon us, the disruption to learning has been among the most pressing. We’ve previously covered how much of the education sector has moved its activities online at the tertiary and school levels. Technology has served as a means of continuity for educators. Yet, these solutions are not perfect. Recognizing the challenges they pose, eLearning.lk, a local education startup, which is also an alumnus of Sirasa’s Kotiyak Watina Adahasak, wants to help educators by offering them locally built digital platforms that meet their needs to facilitate effective learning.
The origins of eLearning.lk
Describing their early motivations, CEO of eLearning.lk, Sanjaya Elvitigala shared, “We simply wanted to revolutionize online learning in Sri Lanka. There were people doing online educational content. But it was unstructured and ineffective.” In 2018, Sanjaya, who also founded Maya Creations, a local web development company, would be joined by a leading expert in telecommunications, Amith Dissanayake, and his longtime business partner and marketer with over a decade of experience, Ian Iddamalgoda. Together, the trio bootstrapped and founded eLearning.lk, to reshape online learning in Sri Lanka. Bootstrapped from its inception, the young startup has enjoyed strong growth since then.
Currently, the company offers 3 products catering to online learning. The most well known of these being the eLearning.lk platform itself. Hosting 100+ courses today covering a range of topics, the online learning platform serves to connect school students with teachers. Sanjaya added that the platform was locally built and includes features for interactive learning and a structured knowledge repository as seen in similar platforms globally. Today, the platform is utilized on a daily basis by thousands of students attending live and recorded classroom sessions from multiple topline tutors. Sanjaya added that they’re inviting anyone who has expertise in any subject area to register as a teacher and start creating content.
Beyond this, the company also offers a fully managed and hosted knowledge management system for corporations as a SasS product. Speaking to Arteculate, Sanjaya shared that it’s being utilized by several companies for their training needs. eLearning.lk’s clientele includes prominent names such as the LOLC group, APIDM, ESOL, the Browns group, and several others. For organizations utilizing the system, eLearning.lk also offers access to its facilities to support them in creating the content they need.
Describing the key benefits the system offers corporates, Sanjaya shared with Arteculate, “For organizations, the system offers an avenue to preserve, share, and improve their knowledge management initiatives. More importantly, we’ve removed the burden of implementing separate processes and expertise for such initiatives with our system. Thereby, allowing its leaders to focus on business operations. “With the collective learning inside our network, every customer benefits. There’s a constant feedback loop to further nourish the platform. That’s one of the biggest benefits our customers enjoy,” added Sanjaya.
Harnessing technology: Building powerful EdTech locally
Following the lockdowns necessitated by COVID-19, video conferencing platforms like Zoom have been thrust into the spotlight. For the education sector, such platforms have offered a means of continuity during the pandemic. Educators argue their adoption signals an acceleration of trends that’ll bring about an evolution of the role technology. For Sanjaya, the writing was on the wall for a long time.
“Early on we saw that online learning had vast untapped potential. So while developing our knowledge-sharing platforms, we explored several ideas, including developing our own video conferencing platform geared towards learning. Utilizing open-source technologies, we finished development of the platform earlier this year and just concluded our public beta to a lot of positive feedback,” shared Sanjaya as he enthusiastically introduced their new product, CyberTeach.
Available at the fraction of the cost of typical video conferencing platforms, CyberTeach offers many of the features one would expect. It supports up to 200 participants on a single video call while allowing 5 users to serve as moderators and up to 5GB of storage for recordings. Beyond these, eLearning.lk has also added features designed to assist teachers such as an interactive whiteboard and note sharing. If you’re curious to try out CyberTeach, you can learn more about it by clicking here. Currently, the eLearning.lk team is working on further improving the platform and aims to release it to the public soon, promising scalability and features rivalling zoom.
Preparing for the new normal post COVID-19
Looking towards the future, Sanjaya is optimistic. With the feedback they received from their public beta, eLearning.lk has begun fine tuning CyberTeach. The locally built video conferencing platform is set to launch in the coming months. When it does, one can argue that eLearning.lk will be in a strong position to support educators.
As a final remark, he has expressed that one day his platform or a derivative of it will be the cornerstone of Sri Lankan Online Learning with the ability to support rural students to learn online without any barriers, as plans are already underway to achieve that goal.
With a vaccine expected to be years away, educators must prepare for the possibility of continued disruptions to education. Hence, the belief that technology will play a deeper role in the classroom and by extension, education as a whole for continuity. With an affordable video conferencing platform and an established knowledge management system, eLearning.lk is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.