What is Mana.bo Doing Differently for the Online Tutoring Space?


What is Mana.bo Doing Differently for the Online Tutoring Space?

Started in 2011, this Tokyo-based educational startup provides online lessons. 

Platforms offering online education are not new. We can see a lot of platforms that are offering online learning opportunities and the number of such platforms is increasing at a very fast pace. 

But how many startups are providing education in a manner that even though the student is studying online, they can still get the feel of sitting next to their teacher. How many platforms provide students with the distinctive feature of real classroom over Internet? 

The company’s founder and CEO, Katsuhito Mihashi, experienced that there was a gap when dealing with students who want to understand a question without being physically in front of the teacher, and to fill that gap, he created Mana.bo. The platform has taken online tutoring a step ahead by providing tools for direct communication between the students and the teachers.

Mana.bo allows students to contact tutors at any time with a problem on a particular subject. The tutor can take a look at it and provide advice and direction through text or voice messages. Through the app, the student and tutor also share a whiteboard, further enhancing the effectiveness of the “class.”

On this platform Students have to simply take a photo of a problem and send it to available tutors, who receive a notification on their mobile device. Tutors check the problem and let the student know they’re available to help. Once the student selects a tutor a voice or text chat can be initiated with a virtual whiteboard. Handwriting strokes appear on the student’s smartphone, tablet, or PC screen in real time.

CFO Koichi Tsunoda tells Tech in Asia that the startup gets 500 questions per day from students, with 60,000 questions so far. “We have a goal of reaching 500,000 questions in the second half of financial year 2016,” he says. With available tutors measuring in the thousands, the company aims for a student question to be answered within two minutes. Later, it plans to move towards features like automated recommendation of personal tutors.

The company was working on what it calls a “mass equation analysis engine” to save lessons for future use. The feature has helped tutors and students a lot as with this information can be reused for future lessons. The feature that was lacking before is available to students now. At present the company is working on another new feature that is under development is a means to reach “students not academically inclined,” according to Koichi. That’s students who might not be as proactive in seeking tutor help as the startup’s current user base. This will give Mana.bo access to an even larger segment of its intended audience, he says.

Mana.bo can leverage technology to offer a wide range of services. It not only facilitates contact between students and tutors, but also provides data for parents to help them judge their child’s performance. Because of the amazing services Mana.bo is providing is the winner of The Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015 Arena!

Are you aware of any other platform that can match up to the cutting edge services of Mana.bo? Have you tried Mana.bo till now? Share your experience with us in the comment box below. 

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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