Khan Academy Case Study
Gaelin Kingston and Heidi Leeds
October 14, 2016
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization with the mission to “provide a free and accessible world class education to anyone anywhere.” It is a well-known, free place for children and adults who have access to a computer and internet to learn and improve their understanding. It’s sole goal is social profit and financially it runs purely off of the generosity of donors.
Khan Academy grew out of a small, private tutoring program in 2004 between Sal Khan and his younger cousin with just a few math videos put on Youtube. When more viewers stumbled upon the videos and began providing positive feedback, the seeds for Khan Academy were planted.
Now, just twelve years after the original math tutorial videos, Khan Academy is a hugely popular organization with forty-two million users in 190 different countries. The site offers tutorial videos and practice problems in a wide range of subjects including math, computer science, art history, economics, health medicine, and more. To make them even more widely available, the resources are translated into over thirty-six different languages and the site exists in French, Spanish, Brazilian, and Portuguese.
The supply of people benefitting from Khan Academy will continue because there is always a need for an improved education, so it is unlikely that the organization will be slowed by a lack of demand. It has not yet experienced any major or obvious setbacks partly because it can be scaled to any level and size which is appropriate for its current state.
Education is thought of as one of the best ways to escape poverty and raise income. Khan Academy recognizes this and therefore takes a needs-based approach to solving the lack of adequate education. It offers a good education for people who do not have it, while also helping to improve existing educational systems. The organization recognizes the need for students to master basic material so that they can have a solid foundation to build off of. This is accomplished by providing individually paced lessons that can be rewound until the concept is understood and mastered.
Khan Academy frees up more time for teachers to spend with individual students. Some schools have used Khan Academy to reverse the learning system. The students are lectured at night through the tutorial videos on Khan Academy, and during the class time they can work on what would traditionally be assigned for homework. This way they can receive individual attention and help from the teacher and other students. Even for classes that have kept the traditional learning style of lecturing during class and completing problems for homework, Khan Academy offers supplemental materials for students looking for a little extra help.
Khan Academy has a relatively low operating cost considering the number of people they affect. The organization helps millions, while only employing about a hundred. They are able to do this because donors recognize the power of education and are eager to support it. This paired with the fact that Khan Academy has a virtual monopoly on online education makes it so the organization is very well funded. The positive partnership with educational organizations such as MIT and The California Academy of Sciences helps it to evolve by staying up to date with the latest developments of learning. It has recently partnered with College Board to provide personalized tutoring and free SAT prep. This exemplifies Khan Academy’s ability to recognize a need, and propose a quality solution.
Khan Academy has become an influential part of the learning and educational environment as a whole by taking advantage of technology to provide widespread access to quality resources. Schools across the globe are using it in different ways to better educational systems as a whole and to help individual learners. Education is an ax that can be used to hack at the root causes of many world issues. By improving education, Khan Academy combats some of the greatest problems across the globe today.