Let’ s face it, most of us have been to a private lesson for some subject or another at a point in our adolescent lives. Usually, these lessons are a mirror of what happens in a school classroom, hoping that receiving the same information twice would help the student process the information better.
LearnD are trying to change this. While going to private lessons themselves and also tutoring other students one-to-one LearnD founders Jake Xuereb and Luke Collins recognised this as a problem, and saw that students seemed to respond better to a one-on-one programme tailored exactly to their needs.
The idea of LearnD is students taking their education into their own hands. Built on the concepts of flexibility and individuality, LearnD provides a platform for students to seek out tutors, which are streamlined by subject, locality, rate and ranking.
The tutors themselves are what were described by the founders as the heart of the app. They described their ideal tutor to be a university student or a fresh graduate wishing to share their knowledge and know-how to the upcoming generation. Along with their knowledge of the subject, tutors are able to relate to the student as they had been in their position just a couple years prior. Tutors would be accustomed to the problems and queries pertaining to their chosen field, and would not just be able to provide knowledge on the academic side of the subject, but how the subject should be tackled while studying and tips and tricks. They hope that it would foster a cultural shift in the way the Maltese public looks at private education.
When asked about the inception of the idea, Xuereb said that he had always wanted to create a network of tutors between his peers. The problem with curating this was in giving it a platform where one could easily access this network. Collins then proposed turning this idea into more of a service for students by students. This is where the idea of LearnD was born.
The idea was pitched to Dr. Jean Paul Ebejer, a lecturer in the bioinformatics department at the University of Malta, who truly helped them build up the idea, and introduced them to the resources necessary to build up this concept and bring it to life. Dr. Ebejer is now the CEO of the app. It was also Dr Ebejer who introduced the boys to the TAKE OFF Seed Fund Award. This is an award which supports researchers and start ups in launching their innovative ideas. LearnD subsequently won part of this award, helping them take this project to the next level.
The team spent most of the summer formulating the functions of the app as well as the aesthetic, whilst also formulating a financial plan and marketing strategy. The team also acquired two new members – designers Jacob Saliba and Neil Grech – founders of their own digital media company Nisġa. Jake and Luke described the two additions as a great fit to their team and by working with other companies like Threls and Switch Media, this is where the app really began to take shape.
When asked about the struggles of creating an app from scratch, the team explained that it isn’t as glamorous as one would think and as it may be perceived on traditional media, but it was more the managing process which was a learning curve for the team. They said that although most days can be super stressful, believing in the change that is needed within the education system as well as the satisfaction of making your own idea a reality makes the tedious process all worthwhile.
Asked if they felt threatened by any potential backlash they would receive from any persons having a education degree, they promptly replied that this backlash would be something that they are open to, because it would in turn put pressure on the public system of education to improve. They concluded by saying that the market deserves and alternative.
Plans for the future? The dream is for the app to be used internationally. But on a smaller scale for now, the team hope that this app will instigate a cultural change in the viewing of private education.
If you would like to learn more about the LearnD app, or even become a tutor yourself, then visit their website at learnd.com.mt. It’s been 550 days since the idea for LearnD came to their minds, but Jake and Luke will be at the University of Malta Freshers’ Week, launching the app on the 1st October.