Schoo: Japanese e-learning startup strives for excellence in content (Part 2 of...

Schoo: Japanese e-learning startup strives for excellence in content (Part 2 of 2)

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We recently featured Japanese startup Schoo, and its effort to remake online learning through its web lectures platform. Today we bring you the second part of that discussion, this time with more focus on the efforts of the startup’s editorial team.

One of the goals of Japanese startups Schoo is that its users can realize the platforms potential for learning. To that end, the company intends to build interaction between users and lecturers in real-time streaming. Takayuki Nakanishi, the director of the content management department, explained:

The abstract of the content is mostly clarified when we set the framework. Then we design with the lecture how to implement interaction with users.

Lectures on Schoo are not just one-way talks by lecturers. They implement some interaction, sort of like a quiz.

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The UI is also designed to enhance interaction and communication among users. They can not only post their comments and questions, but other interaction features such as an “I got it!” button to show that users understand a given point. Nakanishi adds:

Without interaction features, users will not come back to the site, and if that happens we cannot accomplish our vision. So we place great importance on user participation.

Satoshi Maruyama at Venture United, a previous lecturer on Schoo, describes the learning experience as a sort of ‘matsuri’, or a Japanese festival where participants share the joy of the experience. He also noted that the broadcasting team at Schoo is really pushing for operational excellence. The members I interviewed this time aren’t involved in this process, but the overall satisfaction level among lectures is quite high, they said. Nakanishi adds:

The broadcasting team improves the quality of broadcast by finding problems and making tweaks when needed. Lecturers are very satisfied overall with the quality of the broadcasts. We regard the process as a part of content as well.

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Nakanishi and content director Takuya Koroku both have editorial backgrounds. This experience naturally helps them with content creation. But on the other hand, when adding interaction to the courses, other expertise such as web design are advantageous. I asked what kind of skills they are looking for in the prospective members. Koroku explains:

We’d like to build a team with different kinds of knowledge, and then share that knowledge across the team. Someone who has experience making TV programs, social games, or creative ads would be interesting to work with. We’d like to utilize different kinds of skill and make unique content as a result.

Kokuro says he joined Schoo because the whole team, team including designers and engineers, care about content creation.

The company’s representative director, Kenshiro Mori, underscored their vision in closing:

We’d really like to set the standard for online learning by developing interesting content focused around users’ experience.