Thursday, 16 May 2019 13:28

Cluey raises $20 million to boost learning platform development

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Adaptive learning company Cluey Learning has raised $20 million with the completion of a Series A funding round, bringing total investment in its business to $31 million.

Sydney-based Cluey, which promotes itself as reinforcing school-based education with personalised, one-to-one learning made possible by technology, says the raise is a “substantial vote of confidence” in its vision for the future of school education.

“It also verifies what market research has told us: in Australia, more students and their parents are seeking tutoring support for improved academic performance and increased confidence,” Cluey said in a statement announcing the capital raise on Thursday.

“Above all else, parents and students are looking for quality learning at a time when state education budgets are increasingly political, resulting in higher than average class sizes and under-resourced schools across the country.

“We match students with expert private tutors who conduct sessions using an online platform. Utilising technological features such as video and audio, a virtual whiteboard and digital content means that we can achieve a truly personalised learning experience for every student, aligning with their school curriculum and immediately responding to their individual learning needs.”

“My experience as a head of department and school administrator is that timetables and curricula are packed, with teachers expected to take on more and more administrative and management tasks, leaving them with less time to work one-on-one with their students,” said Cluey chief learning officer Dr Selina Samuels.

“Children are restricted geographically to the schools and the facilities they can access. And although everyone talks about integrating technology, there’s a widespread concern (amongst teachers as much as parents) that the tools deployed in many classrooms are a form of babysitting, rather than an opportunity to really use technology to learn.

“Every morning, I review sessions from the previous day with our education faculty, including feedback from students and tutors.

“Our analytics provide a ‘lesson map’ that tells us exactly what content was covered in every lesson, how far each student has progressed through their tutoring program, the pace of learning, and levels of mastery. Our review may also involve watching the lessons (all of which are recorded) to provide feedback for tutors, guidance to parents, and, most importantly, make sure students have the support they need in order to move forward.

“Although I’ve been an educator in one way or another for over 30 years and have held leadership roles that have required me to observe other teachers and their students, I’ve never before had this degree of insight into learning.”

An entrepreneur with a passion for technology and learning, Mark Rohald founded Cluey in 2018.

“The school classroom concept is over 100 years old – it’s a factory model,” Rohald, who also acts as the company’s chief executive, said.

“It’s very hard for one teacher to tailor learning to every child’s specific needs, prior knowledge, and interests. Cluey enhances and complements school-based learning – we partner with parents and students to support each individual child’s learning journey.”

Rohald says the funding will go towards further developing Cluey’s learning platform and analytics capabilities “so that we can better understand the ways in which children learn, and how we can personalise the process for each student”.

“We will continue to expand our curriculum to provide richer, more interactive, and more exciting lesson content. We are also working with universities to access greater opportunities for educational research.

“Above all, this investment is an unprecedented opportunity for us to ensure that all Australian students have access to high-quality tutoring support when they need it and how they need it.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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