Why ‘offline’ digital learning is key to impacting children around the world

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As thousands of educators, entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the recent ASU+GSV Summit, a growing number recognized both the need and the opportunity for educational innovation in developing countries, especially for the more than 250 million children who do not have access to school.

But many of the proposed solutions still focus on internet-based solutions. The landscape is glaringly lacking in adaptive digital learning solutions that are offline.

As we work to increase universal internet access, the edtech ecosystem cannot ignore the hundreds of millions of children currently without connectivity but eager to learn.

The offline opportunity

To illustrate this need and opportunity, consider the case of Africa.

The continent’s share of the world’s population is expected to increase from 17% in 2020 to 26% in 2050, according to United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Dynamics. The need for scalable, efficient and technology-enabled learning will also increase significantly, as there will be 450 million children born in Africa in the 2020s and more than 550 million in the 2040s.

The International Finance Corporation Reportshowever, that only 22% of Africans have internet access, and probably less than 5% of the most underserved children.

Even if these children could have access to the Internet, most would find the cost prohibitive to learn how to use it. This is because the cost of data would not allow them to learn on these platforms, let alone learn well, in the same way individuals in high-income countries had access to the internet 15 years ago but didn’t use it to stream movies.

Therefore, these children need an offline digital solution that adapts to the learning needs of the child.

“Access to world-class learning that isn’t dependent on internet connectivity or the power grid is critical to serving hundreds of millions of children right now,” said Joe Wolf, CEO of the nonprofit. non-profit. Imagine around the world (where I am a board member).

Imagine Worldwide, which I wrote about here beforecurrently partners with local organizations in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa to provide technology-enabled, accessible, effective and affordable learning.

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