Attending good schools with good teachers is very essential for the academic growth of the Nigerian child. But learning can be more fun when they study and learn from their peers. According to studies, students learn more through peer learning than through instruction alone.
This is because peer learning gives students opportunities to open up while discussing ideas with ‘equals’ and have their ideas challenged. It also helps them develop personal connections and encourages healthy competition. Finally, it helps students become more aware of their own thinking patterns and assess their own knowledge.
This is essentially what Stranerd, a Nigerian education technology startup is looking to achieve. Founded by Jeremiah Godwin (CEO) and Timmy Salami (COO/CFO), and launched in August 2021 (Beta), the edtech startup started off as an Instagram page that helped mainly foreign students with their studies.
But during the pandemic of 2020, there was a rise in the number of Nigerian students needing education technology services. They also discovered that asides from a platform like Ulesson which caters mainly to K-2 pupils, A-Level and university students had no access to a single platform that could solve their educational problems.
“So what we are doing is giving A-Level and university students a one-stop site (Stranerd.com) for all their academic needs from quick homework help, study materials, to past questions and most importantly, a community of students just like them where they can get that sense of belonging,” CEO, Jerry Godwin said.
How Stranerd works
Stranerd is a platform that encourages peer to peer learning. The founders believe that every student who has something to offer is a nerd and is welcome to the platform. To deliver its services very efficiently, the startup has three major features.
The Ask a Question feature is the most prominent feature of the platform as it allows students to ask academic questions and receive brilliant answers from their peers. Here, a student asks a question, attaches a ‘reward’ to that question, and whoever provides the best answer gets the reward, usually in form of a coin.
Stranerd still recognises the need for actual tutors on a platform like this, thus the Meet a Tutor feature allows students to meet expert tutors who can help with more in-depth instructions, especially for homework. Tutors are vetted through an assessment of both their educational and soft qualifications and have a tick to indicate their status.
“We switched the ‘Meet a Nerd’ feature to ‘Meet a Tutor’ after our first stage of beta testing because we realized that there was actually a duplication of function. Nerds can answer questions of their fellow students in the Ask a Question section while Tutors can provide more in-depth help.Timmy Salamy, COO of Stranerd
The last major feature is the Coin System which is basically an on-site currency and reward system. Just like actual cash, the coin system facilitates every action carried out on the platform. For now, users can only gain coins by answering questions or purchasing coins. The founders intend to include more options as they upgrade with more features.
“The way the coins system works is that every action performed on the site is linked to it. Students use coins to ask questions while students who answer these questions gain those coins; the coins will also be used to book sessions with tutors, access study tools and materials they need etc,” the CEO told Technext.
There are two kinds of coins on the platform; the gold coins used for booking tutors, and the bronze coins used for asking questions. The startup says the two coins are attached to the two major functions available on the platform for now. It says the coins will be deployed for accessing other features as they are introduced.
The rewards will eventually come in cash but that is not been implemented in this early stage just so the students won’t focus majorly on the monetary value while neglecting the real value which the product is to give them.
The platform also operates a ranking system that shows a user’s growth and impact since joining the system. There are 5 levels/ranks include Rookie, Comrade, Scholar, Wizard and Einstein.
“Within each rank there are achievements badges, streak badges as well as count badges for different tasks that you perform to let other students know your level of progress on the site. It is something like 2go star progress,” Jeremiah said.
Pricing and revenue generation
Stranerd generates revenue in a number of ways. First, there’s an 8-8-4 quota system through which the startup earns a cut from what tutors earn. A student pays a minimum amount of 20 bronze coins to ask a question. The payment is split into 8-8-4 with 16 coins going to the two best answers (adjudged by the asker) while 4 coins go to the startup.
The startup also plans to introduce subscription plans in its bid to make the platform more affordable and encourage long term usage by students.
“There will be different packages but that hasn’t been fully articulated at this time. Majorly, our income will come from the Class subscription. A subscription costs N10,000 – N15,000 per month and we take our cut from that as well,” Jeremiah said.
Furthermore, the startup plans to allow tutors sell study materials like past questions and study sets to students.
“Tutors can create their own study materials and other students who want to access that do so at a price. It’s like creating a ‘keypoint’ or summary of a broad course and loaning it out to other students. We get a cut from this as well,” the CEO said.
In all, Stranerd is offering students a fun and enjoyable way to learn by interacting with their peers. It also gives them an opportunity to earn money and, in some ways, teaching them how to be financially responsible by spending their coins on the things they need.
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