Samer Bawab (left) and Bassel Jalaleddine (right)
With technology making attention spans shorter than ever, traditional education methods struggle to keep learners engaged and the need for shorter, yet efficient learning models has never been more apparent. Oddly enough, technology may be part of the solution. Dubai-based EdTech company eFlow, co-founded by CEO Bassel Jalaleddine and CMO Samer Bawab, aims to address this challenge.
The idea started with the realisation that, today, you have to log in to learn online, but "This is not a good engaging way for learners because extra steps only create a very high dropout rate," explains Jalaleddine. "We want to make learning more involved in your lifestyle," he adds. So, eFlow seamlessly integrates AI tutors into popular communication platforms such as WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, offering a wide range of courses, from basic language and numeracy to business skills, parental education, and corporate training. By using social media, eFlow's objective is to turn learning into an integral part of daily life, not a separate task.
The company’s journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the co-founders initially developed a simple WhatsApp chatbot to help students access online learning. This endeavour rapidly evolved into a full-fledged platform providing accessible learning experiences, particularly for marginalised communities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions. "We saw an opportunity to provide a frictionless way to [offer] continuous learning for these learners," Jalaleddine explains, adding that “We understood the environment that the learners were working in and tried to bring the most optimised learning experience for them. Being able to send a micro course directly to learners and track their progress was really profound."
A mixed bag of challenges
Jalaleddine and Bawab had to find creative solutions to a number of problems while developing their minimum viable product (MVP), starting with the issue of AI accuracy. Indeed, AI models like ChatGPT sometimes provide approximate or non-factual answers, which is unacceptable in an educational setting. This is why the team developed a sophisticated technology that references a vast knowledge base, ensuring that AI responses are highly accurate and backed by credible sources.
Also on the content front, eFlow's commitment to providing relevant content to learners required the adaptation of existing materials. This meant translating and optimising conventional content, such as PowerPoint presentations and videos, into formats suitable for microlearning and AI-driven interactions while preserving its educational value.
Next, they had to figure out how to seamlessly integrating eFlow with various communication platforms, each presenting different technical specs and compatibility issues. And last, encouraging users to embrace a new educational platform can be difficult. Ensuring that learners, educators, and organisations are comfortable with the transition is crucial. eFlow wisely offered pilot programs, allowing clients to familiarise themselves with the platform's features and benefits before full-scale implementation. This approach helped build confidence and commitment among larger organisations while allowing eFlow to help clients align their objectives with employee training courses. “[It] gives us an opportunity to understand their challenges; maybe they have a preferred delivery method," says Bawab.
Flexibility is key
eFlow's ability to ensure a flexible experience to users on many different levels is critical.
First, the platform seamlessly integrates with clients' preferred communication tools and can be incorporated within their existing ecosystems, minimising disruption and simplifying the transition to a more engaging learning experience.
Second, eFlow ensures a tailored, personalised learning experience, intelligently recommending content based on each learner's objectives and needs. This personalisation not only improved learner engagement but also contributes to better knowledge retention and skill development.
Third, the team focused on a frictionless, user-friendly onboarding process. Without traditional login barriers, learners can easily find and access courses via their preferred communication platforms. This seamless experience ensures that they can immediately begin their educational journey without hurdles.
And fourth, eFlow provides robust data analytics capabilities, enabling clients to closely monitor learner progress, engagement, and overall course performance. Armed with actionable insights, organisations can make informed decisions about course optimisation and improvements, resulting in more effective learning outcomes.
eFlow's AI tutors are not here to replace human educators but to extend their capabilities, as Bawab explains: "We're using conversational AI and generative AI integrated into the apps that you already use. [It] can automate some tasks for educators, [and] they can work alongside AI to enhance their role." This synergy leads to a more efficient learning process, with a completion rate surpassing 85% - a testament to eFlow's effectiveness in engaging learners.
Based on these positive results, Bawab and Jalaleddine aim for eFlow to become a prime source of knowledge on-demand. They're now focusing on localised content and partnerships with content providers to revolutionise education further. As Jalaleddine concludes,"More than 50% of employees will need re-skilling by 2025. Learning should be integrated into lifestyle."