Amesite, the High-Tech Artificial Intelligence Software Company, is on the Forefront
By definition, the concept of online-based learning, or eLearning as we commonly know it, connects people. It can engage and educate anyone, and everyone, globally in need of acquiring knowledge in any capacity. That includes students and employees, and everyone in between. It can empower learners and enhance skills. It can be time effective, cost efficient, completely accessible and interactive, among other attributes. And, at present, the experience of eLearning can be sorely enriched through the appropriate technology.
“One of the wonders of the Internet is how it puts everything at our fingertips — entertaining content, access to information, communicating with friends old and new, and even the ability to grow and evolve,” noted Mike Tankel, partner/optimist at the marketing and development firm To Be Continued. “Too often we learned what others wanted — or required – for us to gain knowledge through the traditional ways. But, with eLearning, we are now in control, doing it because we are curious, we are interested, and we seek to continue our development and growth.”
The Evolution of eLearning
Historically, the origins of eLearning can be traced to the first educational television program created for open broadcast in 1951. At the time, the City Colleges of Chicago pioneered the initial large-scale instructional TV programs for credit by organizing an institution where students could obtain a degree by taking only television courses.
Then there is a broadcaster like PBS, the most prominent provider of educational programming to public television stations in the country, which began operations in 1970. Offshoot PBS Kids launched in 1994.
Of course, the personal computer and the personal web were the next major inventions to revolutionize out of the classroom learning. In 1989, the University of Phoenix became the first institution to launch a fully online collegiate institution. In 1996, entrepreneurs Glen Jones and Bernand Luskin opened Jones International University, which was the first accredited and fully web-based university. And, by 2003, the Blackboard Learning System announced that approximately 40,000 instructors were teaching 150,000 online courses to more than six million students, across 55 countries.
Today, it is estimated that more than one out of four college students are enrolled in at least one online class, which in this era of Covid-19 has only increased.
“As Covid kept us at home, in front of our screens for all things work, play and growth, it put a light on both the strengths and the weaknesses of online learning, showcasing a real vulnerability for organizations that could not perform,” noted Mike Tankel. “And it demonstrated a real opportunity for those that could.”
That being said, educational-themed programming on television and now online through eLearning offers numerous attributes. It can develop young children’s socialization and learning skills. Children who watch educational television as preschoolers (on aforementioned PBS Kids, for example), or who participate online, reportedly have higher grades, less aggression, and place more value on academics than those who don’t. The value as we segue to life outside of a pandemic is certainly immeasurable. And online interaction for educational purposes can make a student, an employee or employer, or anyone in search of interaction or information, more attentive and observant.
With this constant immersion in technology, however, comes the concerns about how the tech world is impacting the educational experience.
For adult learners, most of whom are not interested in full degree programs, online programming is absolutely essential. Creating new opportunities in the workforce does require upskilling; which is essential online to both the skills involved and how they are required. More specifically, this includes coding, web development, marketing, sales and customer support using digital skills.
By the Numbers
According to The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs report…
Approximately 40 percent of workers will require reskilling in six months or less, and 94 percent of business leaders expect their employees to pick up new skills on the job. Comparably, this is up from 65 percent in 2018.
More than six out of 10 employers expect a return on investment from upskilling and reskilling within a year.
It has been estimated that employers will offer reskilling and upskilling to more than 70 percent of their employees by 2025.”
The question to ponder: Are all the available technologies for engagement being utilized effectively for these critical educational markets? Social media, streaming video and other markets have shown incredible growth by driving engagement. But have their successes been replicated in learning markets?
The current landscape is highly fragmented and minimally effective against enormous market needs.
“We have enormous infrastructures that are not yet being properly leveraged to meet key needs in one of the largest markets on earth: adult learning,” noted Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, the founder and CEO of Amesite. “With the right technology, every organization on earth that delivers learning can do so with greater effectiveness, and at a price point that consumers can afford.”
Founded by Dr. Sastry in 2017, Amesite is an ed-tech SaaS company that provides custom-branded learning software and courses via a cloud-based learning platform and content creation services. Dr. Sastry, who was the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan from 1995 to 2012, started Amesite to deliver effective online learning that both engages and educates.
“No one seemed to be working on what we consider to be an elemental part of the problem, which is how we were delivering this,” said Dr. Sastry. “If you are serious about having people stay in an educational experience, it has to be competitive with other online experiences. And the way to do that is with artificial intelligence. That’s why social media has been so successful; not to mention streaming video and gaming, among others. That technology had not been used, let alone scaled in learning markets. And Amesite was founded for that very reason: to deliver that last mile.”
Founded as an academic discipline in 1956, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be described as the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. It makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and to perform human-like tasks. Using these technologies, computers are trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data. These AI technologies work together to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence.
“Rather than climbing the hill of building a brand-new educational brand, we work for any of the hundreds of thousands of recognized organizations that already deliver learning,” noted Dr. Sastry. “Whether it is a university, a business, a museum, or a government agency, we deliver a complete learning ecosystem in less than 24 hours that it is branded to that organization. These learners, whether they are students buying a learning product or employees in need of required or collective learning from their company, get an experience that is both easy to use and effective.”
Amesite recently announced the launch of its upgraded, V5 cloud-based learning platform, which includes e-commerce solutions, online portals and learning systems in a box. It offers further capabilities for integrations with other third-party software and partner sites, by design. The company says that its solution enables these organizations to adopt their solution and launch revenue-generating programs with high effectiveness, quickly and scalable, on customers’ own brands.
“Rather than try to boil the ocean by creating new brands, the key need is to enable the organizations that presently deliver learning to be better at it! By selling to them, and enabling them to deliver to their large user bases, we avoid the prodigious marketing costs that new programs face,” said Dr. Sastry. “As a B2B seller into some of the largest markets in tech, we are focused on delivery of high-quality experiences at reasonable prices at high margins, using cutting-edge technology.”
According to analysts, the eLearning market will exceed $370 billion by 2026. Demand for online education, as noted, increased substantially during the pandemic lockdowns, as many individuals adopted this new way of learning. The new generation continues to segue towards online as a more precedent and appealing method of educating themselves. And more employers and employees are also heading in this direction.
“Talent is not discovered: it is cultivated,” explained Dr. Sastry. “Our tech enables people to interact with one another and with refreshed, relevant content. And it offers a compelling and persuasive reason for people to complete a learning experience, which is what consumers actually need, and educational institutions and businesses actually want to deliver. Every learning experience on earth needs a great last mile of delivery. That’s what we do.”
“Excellent online participation is much more economically efficient, it is more environmentally benign, and it is family-friendlier. So, for all these reasons, more and more functions will go online,” she said. “But they have to be good. Every industry needs to focus on delivering a great user experience, not just marketing the experience. There is no better investment than in education, and every successful person is a lifelong learner. We are making sure that every organization that delivers learning online can do it well, and on their brand.”