This post is part of our Future of Education series, in which we interview the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Vesa Perälä, founder of Claned Group.
1. What’s the history of Claned? Where and how did you begin?
VP: Claned Group was founded in 2013 in Finland and we launched our solution commercially in early 2017. Our strategy since then has been to enter the global marketplace by diverting away from the traditional Learning Management Systems. This was done by focusing on the learner and learning needs, instead of the learning administration.
Our vision from the start has been to enable a personally relevant learning experience for learners benefiting them whatever they are studying or whether they are learning in or outside of formal education systems.
The story of Claned originated from an idea to produce a plug-and-play analytics tool for the traditional LMS solutions. As none of these legacy solutions is excelling in user-engagement nor learning impact analytics, we decided to use our knowledge on education psychology and machine learning to develop a modern, learner-focused and AI-powered online learning environment.
Today we have customers in over 25 different countries ranging from schools to universities, vocational educational institutes, NGO’s and corporations.
2. What specific problem does Claned solve? How do you solve it?
VP: Differing from the traditional operators today, Claned offers a disruptive and novel online tool that increases the effectiveness of education with more personalized learning, adaptive curriculums, more solid lifelong learning experience, and an improved use of resources. With real-time analytics, both educator and student receive insights into factors impacting the learning of each individual.
Students can build their own personalized learning paths, track their progress, collaborate with peers, act and adjust learning habits. These activities are supported by Claned’s data-driven feedback with content and collaboration recommendations. Any content repository can be integrated with Claned thus enabling personalized content recommendations from pre-approved sources.
Educators can track progress, get insights on how students relate to learning materials and interact with each other to know who and when to help. Educators then can act upon this real-time knowledge about how students learn to adapt courses and support social learning in order to boost learning results.
In short, Claned is a collaborative online learning platform that supports real-time how an individual can learn better.
Claned personalizes learning to each individual improving their study motivation and learning results. This is possible by combining artificial intelligence, machine learning and best of Finnish pedagogy revealing what factors impact individual learning.
Claned is a cloud-based, content agnostic platform and as such different kinds of entities can benefit from it, from educators to organizations of any size in any location.
3. What’s the future of education?
VP: When we speak of challenges to education today, globally, it involves three key issues, Availability (Access), Quality and Fit. When these three issues are resolved we open ourselves to a world, a future, where the right education in the right format is available universally.
Therefore, we need to redefine education as the process of facilitating learning and forming a strong bridging from schooling to worklife. Once we are in an agreement over these fundamental factors, all operators in the field are working towards the same vision.
However, there are areas that will impact the future of education more than others:
Prediction # 1: On World Teachers’ Day (5 October 2017), the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released a paper setting out the first-ever estimates of how many more teachers are needed to ensure that every child is in school and learning what they need to know by 2030 as set by UN Sustainable Development Goals. That means, the world has just 14 years to recruit a total of 68.8 million teachers: 24.4 million primary teachers, and almost twice as many – 44.4 million – secondary school teachers.
In this clearly dire situation, we cannot lean on conventional education alone. We must utilize smart education technology to help teachers to manage their daily work with growing numbers of children in the classes. We must also provide smart tools for personalized self-learning as there simply won’t be enough teachers everywhere for everyone. Professional teacher training provided digitally will also help to address the shortage of teachers.
Prediction #2: I want us to think for a moment of the job market that is changing rapidly for both employees and employers. We used to search for jobs that we have the certificate for. Now we look for jobs that match our skills and personal abilities and interests. We are becoming more and more critical of jobs we take on leaving many employers empty-handed if they cannot provide an interesting learning environment to build on the existing knowledge base. Again, smart technology will provide a solution.
Prediction #3: I would want to mention the coming of virtual work communities. Micro-credentials will become the key to form new ways to show your skills and become an attractive addition to new kind of virtual workplaces.
World is becoming more and more fragmented around us as the need to serve personalized services grow. This is also the case in education and professional development training.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in education?
Trend #1: Personalized learning. Smart education technology will be utilized to optimize the individual learning process and improve results. This will happen both in traditional schooling and higher education, but also in professional and vocational training.
Trend # 2: Micro credentials. The future of work life will more and more be based on employees being able to show the scope of their skills and what they have learned, and employers looking for the potential that they can further train and develop. Learning and working blends into one another. Learning and working are not separated anymore but happen simultaneously.
Trend # 3: Global classrooms. The new technology will enable learning to become available cross all borders and become a more collaborative and social event ever. This in return supports the learning itself online. This will benefit both formal education as well as organizations as they can expand their operations seamlessly and form ecosystems within learners at the same time.
5. Why is the education industry ripe for disruption?
VP: The traditional Learning Management Systems have maintained the old standards and ways of supporting teaching and school administration until now. This has much been enabled because the transition towards the personalization has been maturing. However, the time is now here.
When we design sustainable education solutions for the future, we must focus on the individual learner. Current, “one-size-fits-all” learning solutions have been built for education institutions, which might not even exist in the near future or look very different at least. 7 billion individuals need personalized service, and education must be able to match the progress of all other industries in that front. That is why we created Claned.
About Vesa Perala
Vesa Perälä is an international serial entrepreneur with nearly 25-year experience and success in building up new businesses and companies. He has 15-years of executive leadership experience from multinational companies such as Nokia, Jabra and Coloplast in Finland and Denmark. During the last 10 years, he has founded companies in Finland, Denmark, UK, Germany, Singapore, USA and UAE. Vesa grew Web of Trust, a Helsinki based online reputation company to over 140 million users globally and closed commercial deals with Facebook, Google, Mail.ru, Yandex, Microsoft and many more. He has exited successfully from 3 of his ventures so far.
Vesa is currently building a global success story of Claned, an education technology company combining the best Finnish pedagogy and machine learning algorithms. He was recently selected as into 100 most influential people in education globally by EdTech Digest. He was also selected as the Chairman of the steering committee of Education Finland, which is the national education export program of Finland. Vesa holds a M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management from Lappeenranta University of Technology.
Besides running a busy entrepreneurial life, he loves to spend time with his family and take their dog for long walks. Golf handicap is still holding but lacks clearly practise time.