Outsell: Proprep’s New Boost for Educators
Proprep’s new B2B offering lets higher education faculty access and adapt high-quality, university-level, curated STEM content
Proprep’s new B2B offering lets higher education faculty access and adapt high-quality, university-level, curated STEM content to create their own courses or class resources. Providers in this market are increasingly using multiple business models to sell into different stakeholder groups.
WHAT TO KNOW AND WHY IT MATTERS
Proprep, a subsidiary of Israeli edtech company Kvasir Education, offers curated, customized e-learning STEM resources targeted at the higher education market. An Israeli-based sister company is used by around 20% of Israeli students and reaches over 500,000 worldwide.
Before the launch of Boost, Proprep’s solutions were available via subscription to students individually and via their institutional libraries. Proprep’s pedagogic team has created and curated a large library of learning resources focused on supporting first- and second-year courses in STEM disciplines. Content assets include bite-sized video resources and self-assessment tools designed by Proprep to help students succeed in their STEM studies.
Proprep sees video as a critical medium for 21st-century students, providing 5-12-minute videos that appeal to students accustomed to this sort of short-form content. These videos provide concept explanations as well as exercises which take students through concepts step by step, helping students to utilize what they’re learning in real-world contexts.
In its new Boost offering, Proprep provides the scaffolding for faculty to address the need for computational fluency across STEM subjects. The Boost platform offers curated playlists and resources which faculty can adapt and add context to, where needed, to align to their disciplines and specific courses. Instructors assign courses, and students can also self-enrol in other courses to drive their own learning or plug learning gaps.
Students can see the full course and jump in and out of topics or follow the course chronologically. After watching the video explanations, students can test themselves using multiple-choice questions that also assess confidence levels — this information feeds into data for faculty to assess student performance on a cohort level as well as by individual student. The Boost platform sits at the intersection of courseware and resources and offers considerable flexibility for faculty whilst providing them with a comprehensive bank of content to address specific gaps in student understanding.
ANALYST RATING: POSITIVE
Proprep’s content library, pedagogic approach, and technology are designed to facilitate students’ understanding and application of STEM concepts. As such, this may be a more difficult direct-to-student sale than a homework solution like Chegg, particularly for students seeking a quick fix to an upcoming problematic assignment. Targeting faculty via a B2B (or, strictly, B2E) model with a platform that delivers clear value spreads the risk for Proprep. It should enable the company to put in place longer-term customer relationships that reduce reliance on student decision-making — which is often last-minute and based on urgent assignment-related needs rather than long-term learning outcomes — and parlous library budgets.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Homework solutions like Chegg that target students saw steep revenue increases over the course of the pandemic. Progress has been less than smooth over the last six months, however: investors fear that Chegg failed to make clear that growth was temporarily driven by courses moving online during the pandemic — and that the service facilitates cheating, which is an unstable business driver.
To avoid this connection with cheating, education platforms like Proprep and players like Argos Education are highlighting the ways in which their platforms do not facilitate cheating. Indeed, they are actively designed to help students master concepts that are critical to successful course completion and apply this knowledge after graduation. Given that this may reduce student demand, Proprep’s decision to target faculty with Boost opens up a new market opportunity.
Argos Education also targets faculty, providing a range of pedagogic structures to facilitate course creation and amendment. Boost is also designed to be flexible by offering curated courses and a database of resources that faculty can fully customize and amend as needed. This flexibility will be critical for providers looking to attract faculty working to easily deliver digital courses that align perfectly to their course outlines.
To date, Proprep has targeted the US, Israel and the UK, but there is strong potential for further international expansion, particularly into markets where instruction is undertaken in English. Faculty are looking for resources that will help students in STEM subjects, where demand is growing, to consolidate their understanding of critical underlying concepts; Proprep is well placed to address this demand. Further options could include serving alternative education pathways and online course providers, where students would benefit from a solid STEM foundation.
Outsell’s essential actions for solutions providers looking to develop higher education course content and platforms include the following.
Spread the Risk:
As Proprep shows, using a range of business models can help spread risk. Institutional sales may require an investment in sales force capabilities but tend to be more long-term than B2C sales, particularly in higher education, where students are likely to want access for the duration of their courses, at most, and sometimes for much less time than that.
Deliver Value to Multiple Stakeholders:
Proprep provides clearly definable value to both students and faculty. This is critical to generate usage, without which renewals will be difficult. However, solutions that focus on students to the detriment of faculty — Chegg is arguably in this category — or vice versa will clearly face difficulties even if short-term growth is achievable.
Use Technology to Underpin Pedagogy:
While Proprep is now in the process of embedding adaptive learning into its platform, it has already made strong use of video and the value that video can bring to driving deep understanding of key concepts. Using technology to drive pedagogic benefits need not be as complex as implementing AI tools, but it must deliver value that goes beyond what can be offered by print resources.
VP & Lead Analyst
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