Help us improve Vietnamese education
Help us improve Vietnamese education
Hi, my name is Nguyen Khanh Lam. I am the founder of www.sokul.net, an educational social network for Vietnamese ESL learners. Sokul was first introduced in November 2013 and it is a free of charge learning platform. Currently we have more than 1,900 members and most of them are active learners.
You are invited to join us at: http://sokul.net/login
2. WHY I CREATED SOKUL
The first time when I had an idea of creating a social network for online education, I was truly a “noob” and my friends called me an “eccentrics”. I was a “noob” because I had known nothing about social network, online education, web design, server, hosting, users experience, etc. My friends called me an “eccentrics” because my idea seemed to be impossible in such a traditional learning style of Vietnamese, where students go to school purposely for earning degrees instead of “truly learning” and they passively absorb the one-way knowledge transferred by the teachers.
Still, I have had the great passion to make it happen because Sokul is so valuable to my community and it is the future of learning. In Vietnam, English is one of the most important subject and Vietnamese students learn it in high school when they are at grade 6th and they go on “wasting” their time studying English until they graduate from the University, about 10 years in total. I say “they go on wasting their time” just because the results they achieve are insignificant and not equal to the time they have spent on. Why? It is because of the poor learning methods and materials. Especially, the gap between the big cities and rural, remote areas is so big that is beyond imagination. The world is not flat here. Thus, speaking English fluently and having a good job become the privilege of those who come from the big cities. Let us stop it and provide fair educational conditions for everyone. Further, I think online learning will save up a lot of learners’ time and money. Why should learners go to school to see the same faces of teachers, do the same things that they could do online at home? Of course, I agree that offline learning also has many advantages but why don’t we keep it at a minimum level as it could be? Moreover, with the rapid improvement of technology, we can create more advantages and convenience for online learning, and make it happen everywhere at anytime.
(Picture 1: one of the student project, called Global Student, which was created by me to improve English for Vietnamese university students. They are from the same university and / or classes but their English levels are very different. I really want to help them.)
Those thoughts had excited me for many years and I had spent a lot of time on tough preparation for the deployment of Sokul. I had learnt many things and worked very hard to save money. Finally, I was able to launch my dream in last November. It costs more than 3 years of my time and all of my money that I had saved in the bank.
3. MISSIONS & VISIONS
Sokul wants to be the leader in online education in Vietnam, not only English training but also all other courses in the next five years.
Sokul wants to create a good learning environment for learners, bring the fair educational chances to every people.
4. CORE VALUES
Responsibility – Be responsible to our work, our teammate, and our clients.
Respect – Respect our work, other’s work. Respect our colleagues and clients.
Response – Response quickly to the changes of technology, society, and clients’ needs.
5. OUR LEARNERS
Our learners are mainly from Vietnam. More than sixty percent of them are from 18-24 years-old. They are university students. Obviously, learning English with Sokul is a kind of preparation for the future. In the near future, we hope Sokul will have multilingual versions, and serve more ESL learners throughout the world.
Allocation of funds
6. WE NEED HELP
Since day one, the number of students has been increasing gradually and significantly, leading us to a tough situation of developing enough contents that best suit their demands and maintain their loyalty to Sokul. Our budget is limited and we really need your help!
The second issue is sentimental – copy writing. As one of our core values is “Respect” – respect our work and the others’ work so we do not copy any other content without advanced permission. We developed the contents by ourselves. We are protecting intellectual property and losing our competitive force because our competitors are not doing so in our country, at least at this moment. Someone said “evil prevails when good men do nothing”, you need you to stay with us and take action now. We need your help!
6.1 OUR TARGETS
In 2014, we wish to have 280 lessons for beginner, elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. There are 70 lessons for each. If we have more funds, we will add extra features as internal chatting tool, learning statistic tool, practice speaking & writing tools.
6.2 BREAK DOWN OF BUDGET
According to our experience, the cost per lesson is as follow (in €):
- Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced: they are lesson types.
- Developing the cost for developing academic structure of a lesson.
- Editing the cost for checking and editing a lesson.
- Voice Acting: the cost for hiring people who plays the role of voice actors.
- Producing the cost for renting the studio and staffs who deal with audio recording, post-editing, and producing lessons.
- Managing the cost for hiring someone who manages the whole project.
So, in order to accomplish our targets planned, we will need (in €):
6.3 WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO?
We will post our project on www.freelancer.com and hire workers from there. When you become our backers, you will be invited to join our Backer Group, where all of our expenses are reordered and be visual to you.
(Picture 2: Ms. Abia Solange, from United Kingdom, 10 teaching experience for ESL in Vietnam. She is one of the key authors of this project.)
At first, we need a minimum amount of money for Beginner level, which is around 4,600 €. If we could raise higher than this first milestone, we will spend the money on the other levels accordingly as we described in the table above.
If we can raise higher than our plan and below 40,000 €, we will develop more lessons as the unit price discussed above.
f we can raise higher than 40,000 €, the extra money will be used for developing Sokul platform, add more features to it as mentioned previously.
7. RISKS AND CHALLENGES
Every project has risk and challenges. In our case, we have three risks as below:
1. We are trying our best to research and finalize the cost per lesson level correctly. However, as quality is our top priority, there is an option that the cost will be a bit higher than our plan. Thus, we will produce lesser the number of lessons than expect.
2. We expect to complete the project within 6 months. However, as we mentioned above, quality is our top priority, the project completion could be late but no longer than 8 months.
3. We could change the layout and some of the rewards described above will be changed a bit but we promise the changes will bring you the positive effects.