Sydney education startup EdApp signs a deal with UN to offer free business courses

- April 28, 2020 3 MIN READ
EdApp founder Darren Winterford. Photo: supplied
Microlearning platform EdApp is collaborating with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in a bid to upskill workers for free as part of a push towards sustainable development.

The adult education startup, based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, was chosen by UNITAR to help deliver a global learning initiative “Educate All” as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The EdApp mobile learning platform will provide free access to courses on sustainability, leadership, business skills and more to millions globally.

EdApp founder and CEO Darren Winterford said mobile tech offered a unique way for the UN to accelerate its learning plans.

“When traditional face to face opportunities for learning are being cancelled or postponed, remote and mobile learning platforms can keep education accessible and effective,” he said.

“Digital access to high-quality educational coursework is even more vital now during this uncertain period of social distancing as countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”

EdApp already delivers around 50,000 lessons daily and currently helps large businesses and other organisations train and educate their employee populations.

Winterford said their approach to gamified microlearning delivered on a mobile had helped transform corporate learning.

“It is very common for our client-facing teams to receive requests for features that perhaps the market expects – those they are used to seeing in traditional learning systems,” he said.

“An example would be assessments. Whilst traditional education technology providers might opt for the standard multiple-choice questions to assess whether or not a learner has understood core topics, we get them to visually demonstrate or role-play using the camera on their device to demonstrate their understanding.”

That approach caught the eye of UNITAR when it first looked at emerging trends in the market, with mobile-first as an accessible ‘classroom’ for many.

“In focusing on mobile we are obviously the obvious choice for the developing world. Our fantastic engineering teams have done a great job ensuring access in low coverage areas, and the fact that in 35 African countries more people have access to a smartphone than piped water speaks volumes,” Winterford said.

As part of this initiative, EdApp and UNITAR are calling on private enterprise and institutions to contribute courseware relevant to upskilling a global audience to the Educate All library.

Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR Executive Director, said corporate training on topics such as sustainability and human resource development are a core focus.

“Through the Educate All initiative, we will deliver educational courseware to those most in need, and corporations will be able to maximise their investment in training and upskilling, while making meaningful contributions to society,” he said.

Winterford said he’d love to see startups not only contribute to the library – you can find out more about that here – but also use it for their own education needs.

“Startups can use the platform free of charge and use the library themselves. Most courseware can be edited to suit, you can create your own custom learning in minutes and deploy out to your teams. It is absolutely free of charge,” he said.

“I would encourage all those in ‘People’ roles to have a good look at what the platform offers them – an ability to create onboarding programmes, inductions, and there is brilliant management competency courseware in the library ready to be used or modified to suit.”

You can sign up here.

The EdApp founder said the deal with UNITAR was a great boost for the startup, which was already growing through the covid-19 crisis.

“Being at the intersection of mobile technology, data and having direct relationships with passionate educators, we recognise that we have something that could make a real difference in the world with EdApp,” he said.

“We know that we can be a true catalyst for change and as a fast-growing technology startup, we are well-positioned to make this happen. Our mindset is thinking more global and challenging ourselves to focus on making a real impact and social good.”

The Educate All platform will provide free courses globally on a range of topics including gender equality, leadership, and entrepreneurship and will launch in May. EdApp’s backers include unicorn workplace startup SafetyCulture.