By Isabelle Langlois
EdLive’s vision is to predict the academic success of students who use its collaborative online learning platform. No crystal ball is required, as the company has developed innovative technology using artificial intelligence to analyze the real-time progress of students in their courses.
Its founder, Mehdi Fichtali, dreamed up the project while studying at the Université de Montréal. He noticed the lack of support for students facing pressures outside school such as having to work part-time and not being able to attend all classes during a semester. He felt he needed a system that would allow him to study anytime and anywhere while providing him with regular guidance throughout the semester. He was able to clarify his ideas once he finished his studies and joined the labour market. “I was shocked when I got my first job. What I had learned in class wasn’t necessarily useful for my new job. That’s when the vision of what would become EdLive became clearer and several ideas sprang up,” he says. Predicting success is one of the project’s key factors for reducing the gap between academic and professional skills.
Mehdi Fichtali, CEO - EdLive
EdLive officially became a reality at the end of 2019. Its core team of five professionals is dedicated to continuously improving its technology. One of them is the Director of Scientific Research, who refines algorithms using AI to predict success.
This allows students to determine their study objectives right away. If a student wants an A-, the technology will adapt accordingly to create a customized plan. Their potential for success will be assessed based on how they engage with interactive quizzes and online classes. “The goal is to keep students motivated by giving them effective tools that help them understand the subject and do exercises, in addition to providing additional tools to compare their progress with the rest of the class and quantify the work that remains to be done.” Students will have all they need to progress at their own pace, such as the ability to re-watch classes and ask questions on the study forum.
The EdLive model affects everyone involved in academic and vocational training. The startup allows instructors to increase their pedagogical impact while reducing their workload. As classes grow more and more crowded, online courses become an invaluable parallel system. “Communicating information is difficult for teachers under these conditions, and they may struggle to determine the class’s level. Our services get this information to teachers in real time, allowing them to adjust their teaching methods accordingly.” This advantage allows them to focus on the essential: humanizing online teaching and keeping interaction at the heart of the learning process.
The class format has been designed to be dynamic without altering the teacher’s work environment. Teachers are fully visible as they face the camera from behind a transparent board. They can present material such as animations and videos. “We aimed for a user-friendly solution to save teachers from spending time learning the technology.”
This startup deserves an A+. Since its creation, over 2,000 students and about 100 teachers have used it. According to transcripts, 99% of EdLive technology users pass their exams. The company gets these stats by asking for the grades of its student customers in order to continuously improve its algorithms. EdLive encourages them to submit their grades by granting six academic scholarships as “bait,” says Mehdi Fichtali with a smile.
The startup currently offers classes in university-level pure and applied science. Courses will also be available at CEGEPs and high schools in 2020 for an ever-increasing positive impact on future generations. The company will also target the vocational training market that year. “We hope to act as a vector of change by adapting teaching to today’s reality.”
That’s why EdLive plans to expand beyond Europe and North America. “We want to democratize access to knowledge in French-speaking developing countries. We will leverage the close ties we’ve developed in the teaching field to build bridges with Africa.” As part of this goal of creating connections, EdLive is delighted that several schools are part of the Quartier de l’Innovation. The company sees this as an opportunity to increase its visibility in the academic sector and build strong relationships.
> For more information and to learn about EdLive technology, visit the website.