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Kolibri is an open-source educational platform giving offline access to an openly licensed content library for use in low-resource contexts.

Kolibri

location_on San Diego, California
To overcome the challenges faced in low resource contexts, Kolibri supports differentiated instruction and personalized learning without the Internet. The Kolibri Ecosystem, developed by Learning Equality, includes the offline learning platform, the online curriculum tool, a library of openly available content, and a toolkit of adaptable educational materials: learningequality.org/kolibri.
Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

Key figures

Innovation Overview

6 - 24
Age Group
6 000 000
Children/Users
37
Countries
2017
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
1 444
Views
Updated on November 13th, 2020
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about the innovation

Bridging the digital divide to foster effective learning

What we do?

At Learning Equality, we build open-source educational products and tools that enable high-quality learning resources to be distributed on low-cost hardware, and integrated into communities in low-bandwidth or offline contexts -- including tools to support self-paced learning, blended learning, and peer instruction. Building on lessons from 6 million users of KA Lite which brought Khan Academy’s videos and interactive exercises offline, Kolibri is being used with partners in more than 30 countries around the world. 

How we do it?

Our educational software and distribution and access model makes open educational resources available in areas without internet connectivity. The Kolibri ecosystem encompasses a set of interacting products, while also having an architecture designed to easily integrate a wide variety of digital innovations and make them accessible to audiences they may not ordinarily reach. They include:

1. Kolibri, an offline, lightweight distributed learning platform with tools to support differentiated and personalized learning.

2. Kolibri Studio, a web-based tool for curriculum alignment.

3. Kolibri Content Library, an offline educational library of both formal (e.g. formative assessments, interactive textbooks) and exploratory (e.g. games, reading books) educational materials, available to all users of Kolibri and Kolibri Studio.

4. Kolibri Content Pipeline, a set of software products that support automated processes to aggregate content from external sources and integrate it into Kolibri Studio, helping to build out the Kolibri Library.

5. Kolibri Edtech Toolkit, a customizable set of resources to support understanding how to implement Kolibri to create effective learning environments in a do-it-yourself model.

6. Kolibri Data Portal, a central online platform for aggregation and reporting of Kolibri learner data, to guide and support implementations involving installation of the Kolibri Application across multiple sites.

How is this unique?

Kolibri is unique in that it provides educational content offline that can be curated to standards or to meet local needs, while providing pedagogical support to educators. It shines in environments where mini learning hubs can be created to replicate the experience of some tools with LMS functionality available online, but without Internet. How it works? Digital content is first scraped from the web and hosted in a library which runs on a local server. From there, content can be organized by a curriculum developer or any other educator into channels, or lists of curated content, which are then synced to instances of the app installed on local devices. The content is then able to run without any further internet connection, and the teacher is able to work with learners through a special teacher view which allows them to manage classes, view student progress, create exercises, and more. Syncing of both content and data through peer-to-peer or storage devices is seamless.

What is our demonstrated impact?

Learning Equality’s work has had impact on a number of fronts; for example, it supported acquisition of certifications by helping inmates obtain high school equivalency diplomas in the US, boosted math scores in rural schools in Guatemala through a self-paced and blended learning model, and improved educator confidence in India and learner confidence in Sierra Leone. 

Additionally, our open source product is available worldwide and has been installed and used in 200 countries and territories. 

What is our route to scale?

Our route to scale is two fold: (1) do-it-yourself adoption model that has led to Kolibri being used in 200 countries and territories globally; and (2) strategic partnerships such as with UN agencies, governments, and international and NGOs where Learning Equality can work closely with different organizations to learn from and iterate on the Kolibri ecosystem to inform the continuous development of a needs-based ecosystem to support learning. 

The Kolibri Learning Platform and most elements of the Kolibri Ecosystem are free, open source and/or work with openly licensed materials. Users of the Kolibri ecosystem benefit from more than five years of development, testing, and iteration that have gone into these products, with financial support from a combination of grant funders (including Google.org and Hewlett Foundation), contractual work (including UNICEF Innovation, UN Women, Vodafone Foundation and the World Bank), and general philanthropy. To support the ongoing development of the Ecosystem and to support organizations in effectively deploying Kolibri and surrounding technologies to serve the educational needs of their programs, Learning Equality often provides specialized assistance to organizations and governments to support mutual sustainability.

What are we doing next and what is the impact of COVID-19?

Our product roadmap is informed both by feedback from grassroots users globally and dedicated partners, and Learning Equality’s own user research. In the next year, we're continuing to focus on our roadmap which includes offline content curation, supporting at at-home learner and educator experience, and increased supportive tools for assessments. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, what has changed most for Learning Equality is the underlying design assumption that there is a physical point of social connection -- that people with devices would be able to come together to the same location at some interval. Social distancing and school closures have forced some additional creativity in terms of how learners and educators access Kolibri and relevant content. 

Given the shifting scope of learning needs during COVID-19, we’ve had to not so much change our products and services, but rather reprioritize. Reprioritizing includes releasing an Android App, expanding pedagogical documentation, and supporting innovative access such as by MNOs. Learning Equality engaged in an ongoing, iterative response to evolving needs, and is sharing with its community new resources to support users of Kolibri, as well as its general response -- all of which is outlined here: http://learningequality.org/r/covid-19. 

Who are we?

Learning Equality is founded and based in San Diego after a dedicated group of student volunteers at UCSD brought idea of providing Khan Academy videos and exercises offline to life. The team has grown to include software engineers, designers with a background in cognitive science, implementations team members with classroom/on-the-ground education experience, Product Lead who is a former teacher and teacher trainer and those with expertise in accessibility & educational game development.

Why we do it?

We are dedicated to enabling equitable access to quality basic education, for learners all around the world. Education is a powerful force for enabling opportunity and social mobility, yet there is inequitable distribution of learning opportunities and outcomes globally, with hundreds of millions of children out of school, and hundreds of millions more in school but not learning, preventing them from reaching their full potential. 

Research

HundrED Academy Review

This innovation is to be highly commended for tackling the challenge of quality offline learning materials in a way that still scales. This is supported by the agile, hybrid approach that supplement offline with online tools where they can provide extra benefit.

- HundrED Academy Member

Kolibri's purpose of giving offline access to an openly licensed content library for use in low-resource contexts is very high need, high-impact. The ability to access content offline opens up access to several communities that are still struggling from the at-home digital divide.

- HundrED Academy Member
IMPACT & SCALABILITY
This innovation was established in 2017, and in less than 3 years its actively scaling with over 6,000,000 users in 37 countries. A great offline solution for reaching students with limited access to internet, especially in times of crisis. It is available in multiple languages for high scalability.
Academy review results
Scalability
Impact
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process
Media

See this innovation in action

4 ways refugees continued their education during lockdown - World Economic Forum
"The pandemic threatens to undo progress that has been made in getting refugee children into education. But around the world, refugees have been determined to ensure their education is not put on hold by COVID-19. From radio lessons to mobile schools, here are four innovative ways refugees have kept their schooling going."Published September 3, 2020 by Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR)
Investing in e-learning remains a priority for UNHCR Jordan - UNHCR Jordan
As refugee and Jordanian students prepare to return to school, UNHCR Jordan has been working closely with the Ministry of Education and educational providers across the Kingdom in developing the technology and modalities to facilitate continued e-learning.Published August 25, 2020 by UNHCR Jordan
600 Million Young People Lack Access to Quality Education – This Startup is Changing That - FastForward Accelerator
600 Million Young People Lack Access to Quality Education – This Startup is Changing ThatPublished August 28, 2018
HP LIFE Center apoya el aprendizaje tecnológico en México | Infochannel
HP LIFE Center apoya el aprendizaje tecnológico en MéxicoPublished November 29, 2019 by Yazmin Pérez
UNICEF scales up support in 145 countries to keep children learning, as COVID-19 forces majority of schools worldwide to close - ReliefWeb
"In Uganda, to keep children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Sports, UNICEF and the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), have introduced a free of charge and easy to use digital learning platform - Kolibri - with education content approved by the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) in Science and Mathematics for Secondary School learners and Inclusive education for primary."Read more: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/unicef-scales-support-145-countries-keep-children-learning-covid-19-forces-majorityPublished March 26, 2020 by UNICEF
In education, now is the time to ‘build back better’ - ReliefWeb
In education, now is the time to ‘build back better’Published May 26, 2020 by Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF Representative to Uganda
Startup Companies Tackle COVID-19 From Many Angles - Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space
Startup Companies Tackle COVID-19 From Many AnglesPublished April 17, 2020 By Xochitl Rojas-Rocha
UNESCO updates distance-learning guide for the 776.7 million children worldwide affected by school closures – TechCrunch
UNESCO updates distance-learning guide for the 776.7 million children worldwide affected by school closuresPublished March 17, 2020 By Catherine Shu 
Cassava Smartech launches digital classroom product - Chronicle (Zimbabwe)
"DIVERSIFIED digital services group, Cassava Smartech, has launched Akello Digital Classroom, a platform that offers Zimbabwean learners from primary level to high school, access to online approved curriculum lessons."Published May 29, 2020
Supporting key education projects on World Refugee Day - Google.org
Supporting key education projects on World Refugee DayPublished June 20, 2019 By Jacqueline Strecker, Connected Education Officer, UNHCR
Local Nonprofit Providing Free Educational Tools Amid COVID-19 Pandemic - NBC San Diego
""Kolibri" allows students to use various book libraries and educational resources without the use of the Internet"Published April 11, 2020 By Lindsay Hood
Learning Equality on Twitter
Learning Equality is inducted into the Million Lives Club during Global Innovation Week 2017, for impacting the lives of over 4M users across the globe. 
Extra, Extra! Kolibri v0.14 has an important patch release out!
Kolibri v0.14.3 Overview
Google.org + Learning Equality | Closing Global Education Gaps
Learning Equality's work in Guatemala

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

September 2020
2020 Technology Innovation Award
September 2020
Collaboration with EdTech Hub
May 2020
Member of UNESCO Global Education Coalition
March 2019
2019 Delta Analytics Fellowship
February 2019
51 organizations announced as awardees in the Kolibri Hardware Grant Program
July 2018
Fast Forward Accelerator
January 2018
$2,300,000 in funds from Google.org to support refugee work alongside UNHCR
December 2017
Launch of public release version of Kolibri
September 2017
Learning Equality is inducted into Global Innovation Week's Million Lives Club
July 2017
Reached 6,000,000 learners globally through KA Lite
June 2017
Launch of Instant Schools for Africa with Kolibri in collaboration with Vodafone Foundation
June 2017
Pilot testing of Kolibri with Nalanda Project in India, UNICEF Uganda in Uganda, and UNETE in Mexico
May 2017
Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year
April 2017
Received $5 Million grant from Google.org
December 2012
Initial Release of KA Lite
Map

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Explore Kolibri
Visit our Kolibri demo site to explore the features of the Kolibri Learning Platform, and to browse content from the Kolibri Content Library.
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02
Understand how to set up Kolibri
Read through our hardware guide to understand what kind of setup is needed to implement and install Kolibri. The Kolibri Toolkit includes documentation and guidance on how to install, implement, and train others with Kolibri.
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03
Align learning resources for your implementation
Create an account on studio.learningequality.org if you want to remix and align our existing library of open educational resources for your own curricular needs, and/or upload your own resources for use in Kolibri.
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04
Download Kolibri and test it in your learning environment
Download Kolibri - it can be downloaded on any server device, you can find the latest version here. Procure the required hardware for your implementation and test Kolibri in your learning setting.
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05
Troubleshoot
Visit and post in our community forum if you have any questions or if you run into any issues while installing and testing Kolibri.
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06
Train on how to use Kolibri
Train yourself, others, and your learners on how to use Kolibri. You can adapt and customize the Training Pack found in the Kolibri Toolkit.
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