Meet the Founders Behind Arabic Learning & Development Platform Zedny
Recently launched with an enormous library of 5,000+ hours of content ready for users to access, Zedny hopes to become the benchmark for professional education in the region.
Despite being one of the most spoken languages in the world, according to a 2018 report by UAE-based translation agency Ureed, Arabic content only makes up around 5% of the internet. Since then, there’s been notable firsts that might have increased that percentage, with a surge in Arabic podcast platforms, audiobooks, edtech websites, YouTube channels and entertainment content. When it comes to learning and development, however, content remains scarce - though that’s starting to change, as EdTech sees its moment in the sun during the global pandemic.
“Zedny’s idea started many years ago and it was our dream to produce in-house quality learning content in Arabic to be consumed online,” Mohamed Youssef ElBaz, Founder and CEO of Zedny tells Startup Scene. “We started in 2018, and it took a lot of research and even more testing with companies and learners, to decide what content to launch with.”
Zedny is a newly-launched Arabic learning, holistic education platform. The website currently boasts 5,000+ hours of Arabic learning content that includes a vastly diverse set of online courses curated through digestible video content.
The development platform launched during the pandemic, a time that will be forever renowned for a global digitisation movement to find ready alternatives for activities that would require real-life settings. “We have always wanted it to be online as part of the global direction of digitisation,” adds ElBaz. “It’s the current direction in Egypt that’s fully supported by the government. The same applies to the biggest Arab countries as well.”
The rise of e-learning however, while definitely catapulted higher due to the pandemic, was still a highly lucrative industry in growth and adoption well before the COVID-19 crisis. According to the World Economic Forum, global edtech investments were up to $18.6 billion in 2019, and are now projected to reach a whopping $350 billion by 2025.
“Our vision is to revolutionise the learning experience for everyone in the region’s human capital. This is a key element in our country’s direction toward digitisation and in distant and safe learning,” ElBaz highlights.
“The perfect learning experience is what we seek for each learner, being personalised, engaging and enriching to his/her skills, knowledge and even culture with our summarised animated books. One tool to achieve that is AI, which will become more and more efficient with every passing month depending on the number of users,” says ElBaz.
Introducing machine learning can also aid another prospective customer of Zedny’s: HR departments. “The HR departments of all companies have one thing in common: They want capable people in the right place with the right motivation/engagement level to maximise harmony and productivity,” says Basil Khattab, Co-founder and CCO of Zedny.
Zedny’s platform can reduce HR costs significantly with their year-long training programmes that cost a fraction of traditional counterparts. AI can also help provide multiple assessment formats so that HR departments can utilise Zedny’s gamified format to find the perfect candidates.
“Engaging employees is always a challenge and having them adopt the new era of digitisation adds to that challenge. We need to get through to them with micro learning engaging content, challenges, rewards and highlight what they need to do next for their development,” adds Khattab. “That’s why we have tested several gamification techniques for months, and after careful reviews with the HR departments of companies who were part of the research.”
“These techniques range from points, badges, and levels, to rankings, leaderboards, competitions between departments, companies or even countries. Anything is possible in gamification. It is what users will inspire us to do.”
The gamified experience has been designed to be incredibly holistic and thorough in regards to the information HR departments can obtain about specific users. “The HR department and top management of our contracted entities will not only be able to measure the ROI on training by tracking their employees’ progress,” says Khattab. “They will also be able to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t for each user, making sure their learning experience is enhanced continuously. Anything is possible in gamification.”
In a post-Corona world, digital skills - what were already a moderately obligatory set of skills to have to be employable - has now drastically shifted to become the defining prerequisite for the majority of jobs. According to the World Economic Forum, one of the most immediate things governments and businesses globally should do is to accelerate the digitisation movement so that industries can transition. Which bodes extremely well for platforms like Zedny from both a user and an investor standpoint, given the platform is providing their service within a niche of Arabic content.
“Zedny hopes to be the partner of success to each company, employee or even student who needs to learn more and faster with their mother tongue through high-quality content that is affordable to the masses,” says Khattab.
“We are living in a world where if you are not “online”, you will be “offline” and possibly out of business. My personal milestone for the near future, which is a mantra I live by, so much so, that it’s actually printed on my door, in my office, and in my email signature is: One Million Delighted Learners."
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Jan 31, 2024