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Startup Watch: Brainly

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Factors including a new Google Campus and a well-developed startup infrastructure have put Poland on the tech map. Brainly, a peer-to-peer social learning platform is just one of the global tech startups successes that Krakow has already produced. Brainly was created in 2009 by a group of friends at university with a mutual belief that e-learning is the natural progression of education.

Homework struggles are a universal problem which affects students in every corner of the globe. Every student has different needs, different ways of learning and unfortunately a one-size fits all approach will never be 100% effective. Brainly suggest that social learning networks provide a comprehensive solution in that they let students find the knowledge and skills online with their peers which they need to complete their homework and study tasks, regardless of place or time.

So the founders of Brainly discovered that students are open and willing to help each other out with schoolwork, thereby greatly expanding the possibilities by bringing it online. Today the platform is reaching over 60 million students globally every month and has 1,000 volunteer moderators ensuring the quality of both questions and answers.

Brainly is completely free of charge but operates a points system where students need to help other users to gain points, and then spend points by asking questions. Basically the more questions answered, the more points gained. In 80% of examples in the US a student will get an answer within just ten minutes. Unsurprisingly maths questions are the most asked, and this is constant across the board from country to country. An element of gamification has also been introduced through competitions, awards and badges and rankings, thereby giving users motivation to keep on solving tasks.

The startup has also organised events to maximise the user base and learning potential including the ‘Mathematics and Logic Olympics’ – a nationwide competition held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Poland. Over 18,000 user spent 12,000 hours solving 25,000 sets of tasks. Another interesting initiative was ‘Code:Girls’ which was a competition in partnership with Google Poland, and designed to encourage girls to try their hand at programming.

EdTech startups like Brainly have naturally raised questions over whether homework is still relevant in the digital age when students can find answers to pretty much anything online. There’s an opportunity for schools to start adopting a learning model where students take control of their own learning, and the role of the teacher is to mentor and to teach values like teamwork, respect and commitment. Brainly is enabling this transition and giving students the necessary tools to take things into their own hands and discover their most effective ways of learning.


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