2019 has been a year of tremendous progress for us at Kiron, and we are indebted to our partners who supported and empowered us to deliver real impact to our students. Kiron Campus evolved into a much more multifaceted service offering, remaining free, and focussing on professional pathways and 21st Century Skills to enable personal and academic growth.
We launched over ten skill booster programs on Kiron Campus, which are compact online courses focused on industry-specific skills, which are high quality and flexible for our students. Integrating feedback from our students, we also increased our language learning opportunities, especially as language is often a barrier to success in the workplace and university settings.
Since internet connectivity is a common problem for our students, we reduced the bandwidth significantly on Kiron Campus, as well as launching our own low-data Android App – a game-changer, which made our learning materials more accessible in low connectivity environments and has drastically increased our student retention rates. Thanks to measures like these, we now have over 10,000 active students.
Going forward, in collaboration with our partners, our goal is to empower more learners by making the Kiron Campus even more inclusive. We will further develop our presence in Jordan and Lebanon to provide critical support for underserved communities in the region. New, and very serious obstacles have emerged with the onset of COVID-19, and the development of accessible online education has never been more crucial.
We are grateful for all of our wonderful students, valued partners and supporters. Thank you for your ongoing support. Without your dedication and collaboration, all of our work and accomplishments simply would not have been possible. We are excited about what lies ahead and look forward to continuing our purpose-driven work with you to positively impact the lives of our students, worldwide.
Currently, there are 78 million people displaced worldwide, and Oxford University research predicts that there will be over 200 million forced migrants by 2050 – due to climate change alone. Historically, food, water, health, and shelter have been prioritized during emergencies, while high-quality education and employability skills for refugees and other displaced youth, have been secondary concerns. Kiron believes this needs to change. Education plays an incredibly life-sustaining and protective role during conflict and crisis and there are serious social and economic consequences of ignoring education during displacement for both host and home countries alike.
Since 2015, Kiron has been offering free online learning opportunities to refugees and underserved communities. We believe that education can change lives, transform communities, and build bridges. That’s why we created the online learning platform Kiron Campus, so we can ensure that our students receive free access to high-quality education for academic, professional and personal growth.
Kiron offers custom-made online study programs using massive open online courses (MOOCs) from renowned educational providers and Open Educational Resources (OERs). Also, we provide skill booster programs to prepare learners for the job market. We want to empower students with knowledge, skills, and the network they need for future success.
Data on study success and learning results of Kiron students worldwide. (Survey with multiple answer options.)
We are always striving to find new ways to keep our students motivated, especially while studying online. One measurement of success is the number of students logging in on a weekly basis. We have frequent contact with our students to ensure that we adapt and develop our product specifically around their feedback. When designing new courses we rely on our students’ input and by the end of 2019, the number of students returning to Kiron Campus on a weekly basis had tripled.
We have removed barriers to access, making it easier and faster for our students to apply and access the Campus. Now students can register with just one click and start their learning journey right away. Today, we have over 10,000 active learners worldwide.
Ahmed is 21 years old. When he first arrived in Jordan in 2012, from Syria, he faced some difficulties and had to drop out of school in the eighth grade. In 2017, he learnt about Kiron through a friend and joined the web design course. He especially liked the idea because he is interested in technology-related fields and Kiron doesn’t require academic papers or other prerequisites, making the course more accessible to him. Although he didn’t have much schooling beforehand, Ahmed was able to get started at Kiron in a study track he was passionate about to further realize his business idea.
“I’m currently working on a business idea, which is a mobile application that can limit traffic. I have secured basic seed funding from Maddad and I’m planning to get further support to realise my idea.”
Kiron has curated a powerful curriculum of more than 400 quality online courses from renowned partners like Coursera and Future Learn. In 2019, we then took the leap from Content Curator to Content Creator —where we identify specific student needs that are not met with existing formats and create Kiron courses that fill the gaps. To do so, we extended our backend to host content and allow for quizzes, interactive elements and automated video transcripts.
With our Skill Booster programs, we want to support the goals of Kiron students with short but effective learning programs that promote 21st-century skills for increased employability and professional success.
In 2019, we launched ten Skill Boosters, including courses in data science to how to be a better online learner. After completion, students receive certification that can be used to stand out in the job market.
At Kiron, we have always had a culture of feedback and collaboration. From early on, we built our Kiron Campus in an agile product development process. The product tech team has been a scrum team since 2017 but in 2019, we decided to take this ethos one step further by committing all teams to agility. Agile working as a method is about bringing together people, processes, and technology to harness productivity. It revolutionises how teams work together and is a very effective way of carrying out tasks cross-functionally. We believe in the transformational benefits this change can have on all areas of an organization.
Moving to an Agile operating environment is tough and comes with many challenges: Kironistas had to forgo their regular to-do lists in favour of daily standups, sprint plannings and retrospectives. Change is hard, but we have been reaping the benefits ever since. This way of working allows for a strong user-centric and targeted reaction to an ever-changing environment. The more complex the challenge, the more adaptive we need to be. Organizations traditionally built around a structural hierarchy can become static, with individuals working alone on tasks, whereas agile organisations are networks of teams operating in fast decision-making cycles.
All Kiron teams have chosen Scrum, Kanban or “Scrumban” as their method and have established the roles and rituals to work and learn not only within the team but together with the other teams as well. We kicked the process off with a “team forming event”, where kironistas could join the team mission they felt they had most to offer to. Thinking about our team focus and what we are passionate about unleashed unlimited energy in this transformation process. Key to making this a success was our team spirit: each team picked their own name and stayed true to it.
We are continually learning from each other, and by agreeing to work in cross-functional teams, Kironistas are expanding their skills all the time. We have seen focus and productivity soar, and have achieved things in the first three months that would have previously taken us a year – and things that once seemed impossible were not only completed but finished in the second round with improvements based on student feedback.