As a society, our ability to improve is dependent upon our ability to learn. We learn from our experiences and from our mistakes. We learn by doing and by absorbing. We learn from others, from the world, and from ourselves.

We all learn differently, but regardless of our method of choice, we all benefit when education is easier to access and more available independent of socioeconomic status. Learning is the root of positive change, and so, how we learn has a powerful effect on our world.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to five incredible businesses innovating in education. They range from primary school to adult education to testing services. Yet they have at least one thing in common: they are improving how we learn for the better.

4.0 Schools

WHAT: Education incubator and community, investing in “people who know that school needs to change and are ready to start building real solutions to real problems.”

WHY: Education is broken and traditionally slow to reform. 4.0’s solution? Making education more like a startup. Working in the Lean Startup model, 4.0 empowers innovators from within the industry to understand what improvements will make an actual difference in the lives of its most important stakeholders, the students. In a world of uncertainty, 4.0 is breeding a culture of innovation for the long run.

Khan Academy

WHAT: Non-profit educational organization that provides “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”

WHY: Khan Academy began in 2006 as a small passion project with a lofty goal: to make high quality education accessible to everyone in the world. Today, thanks to his diligence and the generous donations of countless others who believe in his mission, Khan’s dream is real. With Khan Academy, anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection can learn. And Khan makes people want to learn. His unique teaching methods leverage the power of story to keep students engaged. The highest quality education, after all, is the one that keeps students eager and excited to learn.


WHAT: Curation of apps, books, and other learning resources for you and your child

WHYStories are insanely powerful. They help us find our place in the world and define who we are. For children, this means that the stories they devour are of special importance; their identity is at stake. Enter Zoobean. Using a sophisticated recommendation system, Zoobean connects parents with the right resources for their children, no matter where they are in their personal development. In doing so, they ensure every child (and parent) can find her place in the world with a story for herself.


WHAT: Social network for questions and answers.

WHY: As a society, we cannot afford to underestimate the value of our collective knowledge and experiences. There is much we can learn from books and from our teachers, but there is also much we can learn from each other. Thanks to Quora, our shared knowledge is accessible to all. Anyone can submit questions about anything, and anyone can respond. How can I get into college? How hot is the sun? How big is the universe? Quora provides answers from the community, for the community. It democratizes truth.

Library for All

WHAT: Nonprofit building digital libraries in the developing world.

WHY: Libraries are a valuable resource. They help us learn, inspiring us to grow into the people that we were meant to be. But libraries can expensive and challenging to maintain, making them difficult to access in the developing world. Library for All’s solution: Go digital. Ebooks are delivered over the cloud, which students access via mobile networks. The result? A low cost alternative to the traditional library, unlimited access to information, and libraries for all.

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