This Nigeria-founded MOOC has signed up thousands of users in months

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Nigeria’s African Leadership Institute (ALI) is one of the fastest-growing massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the continent having reached 6,500 users since its launch in June.

Founded by Oladokun Oluwasegun, a 23 year-old final year student of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, ALI helps learners acquire new skills by taking courses created by experts in different fields.

Its free and paid online courses are provided across a variety of subjects, with Oluwasegun telling Disrupt Africa the startup’s mission was to develop a new breed of African business leaders educated to global standards, who can create jobs, increase incomes and reduce poverty.

The MOOC adopts a peer-to-peer learning experience to increase the active participation of learners, simulating some of the features of a physical classroom. 

“We believe our solution will educate and develop leaders and builders of enterprises who can create value for their stakeholders and society at large,” Oluwasegun said.

“We partner with organisations and experts of industries to create standard courses which will update the knowledge of learners to industry standard, thereby breeding job-ready individuals who can solve complex social problems.”

Current course-providing partners are the World Scholarship Forum, ILC Africa, and iCode Technologies. The solution came into existence in August 2019, organising classes on platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, but launched its MOOC platform on June 14 of this year. Within 48 hours of launching, it had attracted over 2,000 learners, a number that now stands at around 6,500.

Oluwasegun said there is a clear need for the solution, as educational systems across Africa are depreciating, resulting in a great number of underemployed or unemployed graduates.

“We are filling this gap by providing a learning platform where learners can take professional courses created by existing organisations and experts in a field. This will generally reduce the rate of underemployment in Africa and equip people with the ability to solve problems and launch successful businesses,” he said.

Though ALI has competition from the likes of Udemy and QuickStart, its founder believes it has the edge because its courses are specifically designed for the African market and its participative learning experience feature is quite unique.

“As such, this enables us to have more course completion rate,” Oluwasegun said.

Self-funded so far, ALI is however seeking seed investment, which it hopes to use to set up a studio from which it will create all its course content. It also aims to market itself more extensively and develop a mobile app.

“With this in place, we are sure of reaching over 100,000 users within 12 months,” said Oluwasegun.

Ambitious talk such as this is not uncommon for the ALI founder, who says the startup generates revenues from paid courses and charging users for verified certificates. He has big plans to expand the ALI platform.

“We have the vision to be one of the top online business schools in the world. For us, expansion means partnering with globally recognised universities in the nearest future so as to offer degree programmes to our learners. A world where students can school from the gadget in their palm, and graduate from any university of their choice,” said Oluwasegun.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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