Many tried, few have succeeded in creating an online knowledge base so strong, and now so popular, as Khan Academy. And I bet few our readers ever heard of Khan before – information overload does that online. Khan Academy is a provider of free educational content, mainly video – boasting an extensive online library of videos covering varied topics such as K-12 math, biology, chemistry, physics, finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.
Recently, Khan announced a partnership with BitTorrent to deliver this video content to a broader audience – finally a torrent site with a good use. But the reason why Khan Academy makes waves today, is a TED talks feature, where Salman Khan (not the Indian actor), the founder of Khan Academy, spoke about using video (embedded below) to promote education.
There are very few websites online as noteworthy as this, and the story behind it. Khan, a hedge fund analyst, never had the intention of building a business. The first educational videos he made in 2004 were for his cousins in New Orleans, who needed tutoring, and asked him to share content via YouTube, instead of teaching in person. Since 2004 Khan uploaded on the web over 2,000 videos and eventually, he complied them all at Khan Academy. This is also noteworthy as Salman Khan has a brilliant teaching style: comprehensive, engaging, short and under no circumstances boring. The Khan Academy was never created with PR in mind, but what better PR than having a fan like Bill Gates can you possibly wish for?
Perhaps a 2 million prize from Google? CNN features, Forbes editorials praising your efforts? Yes, Khan has got them all, and continues going forward with the same passion. Khan Academy is not only about video. The site’s features are much more in-depth. Online exercises let you practice math at your own pace, you can see your progress on a visual chart, teachers and tutors can track your progress as well, and interestingly enough, the interface learns with you: it remembers what you’ve learned and where you’re spending your time.