We all pretty much know about the limitations of traditional offline training in Bangladesh. It is also common knowledge how online learning platforms are aiming to solve those particular issues to strive forward. eLearning in general is not new to our growing community of ambitious youth and professionals. But having quality material to learn from is still a novelty.
For many people, the educational contents available are all too one-way and mechanical. The lack of intercommunication, practical guidelines and sincere feedback can be a big hindrance for any learner going into a new field or learning a new skill. Another common complaint is people not being able to apply what they learn; the curriculum and method of delivery do not bridge the gap between learning activities and the desired outcome.
These predicaments are not subtle by any means. Any student with an attempt to learn online has felt these, talked about these. One might wonder why these issues have not been solved yet. That’s because it is hard! The human learning process is complex and it differs from person to person. As does their motivation behind learning a particular skill or topic.
To understand the critical learning process and design a course that fits the individuals' needs and connects them to their motivation to achieve the desired result, is a lengthy and complicated task, to say the least. And unfortunately, most eLearning initiatives so far have not been able to address and solve these issues at large.
Bohubrihi, an online course provider based in Dhaka, set out on a mission to change things for the better, and things are changing!
The fast-growing edTech company has aimed to solve the underlying structural problems with Bangladesh’s eLearning experience so far and do better with its varying online courses, focusing on quality and impact over everything. It has been working tirelessly to offer striving learners across Bangladesh the opportunity to engage in and contribute to some of the most appealing and ingenious fields of this century.
The motive of these online courses is to be outcome-driven so that the learners can widen their views on things, get the confidence they look for, and readily apply the learning in their professional lives without casualties.
Bohubrihi founders started their journey in 2016 with a small investment from their varsity alumni. And now, three years and a few hundred setbacks later Bohubrihi brings forward statistics that paint a picture of prospects in the local eLearning industry.
The way Bohubrihi’s CEO Yanur Islam Piash likes to put it, “it came from the frustration and the drive to create the resources ourselves that we couldn’t find elsewhere.”
In an interview with Future Startup, Mr. Yanur shares Bohubrihi story:
“My classmate in BUET, Galib Hassan Khan (now my co-founder at Bohubrihi) introduced me to the world of Online Courses. Together we took many online courses at edX, Coursera, Lynda, and Udemy. I am talking about 2016; no Bangladeshi eLearning platform was particularly renowned for providing ‘online courses’ at the time.
The inadequacy of quality online courses, especially on advanced technical and engineering topics would bother us.
We had to rely on expensive foreign platforms – intended for foreign industry, created in foreign languages, to get a better learning experience. There was hardly any local platform that would allow us to dive deep into a topic and meet our expectations, or expectations of people around us.
This, and the thought of implementing eLearning in Bangladeshi academia (inspired by Coursera and MITx) – these two things were the initial motivation that got us started.”
For Galib Hassan Khan, another co-founder and CFO of the company, it was about an impulse to create courses that would remove the linguistic boundaries that were holding back people with potential.
"Because people in Bangladesh are not familiar with using technology and they are not comfortable in English. Also, the learning requirement of the people here is slightly different," says Mr. Galib. "I started to structure the idea of an eLearning platform and shared with Piash. That’s when Bohubrihi started, just out of curiosity to see if we can create a culture of eLearning among Bangladeshi people. We signed our partnership MoU in the classroom, having a departmental senior as the witness.”
The initial investment was as little as 15 thousand taka. One of their university alumni first came up with help to initiate the technology development work. They launched a beta website in late 2017 and started generating steady revenues from mid-2018. But it was in 2019 when they stepped on the gas after graduation and started working full-time at the company.
B2C: Bohubrihi offers high-quality online courses and professional training to young professionals and university students. These courses are designed and offered in collaboration with industry experts and organizations in Bangladesh.
In terms of topics – most of its courses fall under two broad categories. It offers engineering and technology related courses such as programming, web and mobile app development, CAD software, etc. On the other hand, Bohubrihi's business courses cover topics like data analysis, digital marketing, professional development, etc.
However, they didn't shy away from offering courses in completely different areas such as GRE and IELTS exam preparations! These apparently off-the-track courses have gained popularity among their audience.
As a customer-focused company, Bohubrihi is allowing its customer base to help explore new course topics - most of the courses have been produced in response to repeated customer requests.
Bohubrihi makes it welcoming for customers to suggest new topics; then validates the user demand by conducting primary and secondary market research.
B2B: Recently, Bohubrihi has inaugurated its corporate eLearning services. It helps teams and organizations bring their internal Training and Development programs online. Teams of any size can bulk enroll in Bohubrihi courses and get help with upskilling or reskilling employees across the organization, employee onboarding, or long-term L&D program for the companies.
Bohubrihi started as a course marketplace where anyone could sign up as an instructor and sell their courses. However, it gradually moved away from its role as a distributor and started producing courses in-house: to ensure a much effective learning experience, prioritizing quality over quantity.
Instead of calling for freelance instructors, the team went on to talk to their customers, addressed the reasons why eLearning didn't seem to be working in Bangladesh and started tackling those problems one by one by producing better content and designing a robust, engaging and personalized learning journey. It partners with companies or hires subject matter experts to produce these courses as well as to support the enrolled students throughout their learning journey.
From the customer end, the journey is easy. They pay a one-time fee to enroll in a course. All of Bohubrihi courses are self-paced and come with lifetime access for the students. The contents of the courses are pre-recorded, without any fixed timeline so that students can enjoy the flexibility in learning.
Once enrolled in a course, there are video lessons, reading materials, quizzes, and assignments for students. There is constant support from mentors.
Bohubrihi prioritizes the humanizing aspect of teaching - any enrolled student will have full mentor support if they run into troubles at any point in their journey. The in-course work is graded aptly by the mentors. There is also a forum for wide ranging discussions amongst the learners for better understanding and community building.
“We believe in collaborative two-way learning. Rather than just watching videos, we want the students to engage with the course and their peers,” says Galib Hassan Khan.
Bohubrihi’s core team handles everything that goes into making a course from the ground up. Since the platform originated from the frustration of the unavailability of quality content, there is no leniency in Bohubrihi’s quality control.
Bohubrihi CEO claims to have a higher net promoter score and higher course completion rate than the industry standard, by 'keeping things simple, doing the basics well and letting the customers guide'.
Bohubrihi is making significant advancement in its own right and in the eLearning industry as a whole. So what is in for the near future?
For now, the company aims to keep making useful courses that go above and beyond in quality and value. They expect to have around 20 more courses going live by the end of the year, likely helping more introspective learners.
In the next few months, Bohubrihi will introduce its first set of career-track programs. Career track is fundamentally a semi-self-paced program that takes the traditional course to the next level.
Bohubrihi is set to establish dominance in segments like computer programming, technology, software engineering, data science, and digital business by the first quarter of 2021.
The company believes its future learning models and personalized support system will enable an unimaginable degree of engagement with its students and instructors.
Bohubrihi promises to be with the learners through every phase of their learning graph and groom them to their full potential. A recent graduate trying to land her first job, a mid-level professional eager for advancement, or just a person wanting to learn about an emerging subject - anyone can expect to be benefitted from their high-quality programs.
Bohubrihi: Professional online courses, training & degree programs for individuals and organizations.
Learn more about Bohubrihi here.
Cover photo: The founders of Bohubrihi. Galib Hassan Khan (left), Yanur Islam Piash (right)… PHOTO BY AVIPSU DAS GUPTA