Epi. 55: Learn how to build and run an online learning experience – David Wind, Co-Founder & CEO of Eduflow

Learn more about Eduflow at: www.eduflow.com

Find David Wind on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/utdiscant/


JC: Welcome, everyone to another episode of the Future of BizTech. I’m your host, JC Granger, and I have another fantastic guest with me on the show today. And listen, if you end up loving this episode, please show your love and appreciation by following this podcast wherever you’re listening. And be sure to give it a five star review, you know something nice with some comments on there. Because that is how other techies like you and I find cool podcasts like this. And today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing the CEO and co founder of Eduflow. David Wind.  David, thank you so much for coming on the show. Tell the audience a bit about yourself and what it is that Eduflow does.


David: Yeah, thanks for having me. Yes, a bit about myself a bit about the company. So myself, I’m a programmer, I guess since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to fiddle with computers and bytecode. So I thought I was going to be a software developer. But during my studies, I switched to math, I did a PhD. So it looked I was coming in like I was coming a researcher. But during my PhD I started teaching, and the course I was teaching got to large basically, for me to handle, I had 150 students submitting work every week that I had to grade. And I don’t know, 40 hours of grading every week didn’t sound like super appealing. So the Mathematician me came out and said, like, Hmm, I wonder if there’s like a scalable solution to this. So I ended up coding up this peer feedback product for myself, essentially, where the students would grade each other’s work. And then I didn’t have to do it. And that sounded pretty good to me. And my supervisor liked it. So he convinced me to sell a license to the department. And that’s how this company started, actually as a different company, back then it was called peer grade. And it was a peer to peer feedback product. Seven years later, it’s it’s now called air to flow. And it’s a learning platform. So there’s a lot of things happening in that time period. But basically, we raised the money, we learned a lot of things about our product and our users, and decided to go for an even bigger opportunity. So Edulfow is a platform to build online courses that are active and collaborative. So where people do something and learn together with others, so a lot of it is stuff we borrowed from the tier grade product, and a lot of it is new things.


JC: Did you find a spike in your services with all the COVID stuff over the last couple years? Or has it been more or less relevant and useful, I guess, is my point?


David: It’s definitely not been negative for us, right? Like online learning has become a mandatory part of everybody’s life. Students are all at home companies are remote, it’s been winning our backs, I think. So in the big scheme of things has been very positive. And then on the other side, like when a crisis hits, and everybody panics, they have a tendency to go for the established players, right? You don’t experiment in the middle of a pandemic. So I think the big the big players had a lot more wind in their back. But we’ve seen a lot more respect for online learning. And I think now is actually the best time like now people have established new roles and rules and processes. And they’re like, Okay, we’re over the pandemic, but we’re still going to be at home. So let’s try to do do it well now, and not just survive.


JC: So what is the main usage of your platform? Like can you visualize it for the audience of like, if they were to log in.. like, who are they who, you know, who’s your main clientele specifically, like actually users that are using it? And then and what is their experience? What are they mostly going on there to do?


David: It’s actually a really hard question to answer for me, because our user base is extremely broad, right? So we have everything from middle school teachers using it to teach history to Google and Accenture, doing corporate training. We have sales training, we have onboarding, we have compliance training, we have university courses, we have everything. So it’s hard for me to kind of pinpoint the perfect user in that sense. But if you want to imagine it, I think a lot of people are familiar with course platforms like Coursera, and so on, when you log into a course, in the course, there are some activities you have to go through to complete the course. It’s kind of a flow looks as well. And then basically, the people we cater to are people who teach with more than just videos and quizzes, if your whole course is just 10 videos, put them on YouTube, that’s fine.


David: But if your course requires that people do something, ride something, think a little bit deeper talk to each other, then Eduflow’s probably benefit. So I guess a good example would ,be sales training, right? Like the best way to learn to sell is to sell, you have to like actually do the pitch, you can’t just read more and more blog posts about how to do a good pitch, you have to try it. So in at flow, you could record a pitch on like a live video thing. And then other people could give you feedback on that pitch inside Dataflow. So I think sales training is a great example of a good fit for the product.


JC: Okay, and then I’m marketing guy, right, but by nature, so I always have to ask the question, what kind of marketing are you doing that’s getting your brand, you know, out there? I mean, you’re on a podcast, right? That’s one. Great. So we’re doing this. So we know PR is part of it. What else are you guys doing on a day to day basis to just tell people about, about Eduflow?


David: It’s we actually, I think we’re kind of nonstandard on the marketing side, honestly. So most of our growth is purely word of mouth, which is fine. That’s it’s good. But it’s also hard to control and how to boost, right. So it’s a bit tricky. And we don’t really run any ads, we do a bit of content marketing. So we write blog posts, but but the main thing we’re focusing on right now is actually producing courses as content. So we have a course platform. And we have a profile of who could a buyer of Eduflow. So it could be someone with a title, Instructional Designer, for example. So what we do is we build courses for instructional designers, we let them enroll for free, and then we host a course on Dataflow. So when they take this course, then they get to talk to us, they get to experience the product as a learner. And they get to like, hear a bit about what Eduflow is as part of the course. And then afterwards, they’ve seen it their experience that they know about it, they think we’re good guys that give away free courses. So that’s actually our biggest marketing play right now. We call it 84 Academy.


JC: This summer, I know HubSpot is does that whole Academy side, you know, if you’re a SAS having the educational side, too, something that you can help with as a big deal. I know multiple, very successful SaaS companies that do that models, that’s actually pretty smart. And we’ll let you guys do that. And it’s helpful for the people who want it, right. I mean, educate having a free education on there, helps them and then it, you know, helps solidify your brand as well. So that’s very cool.


David: Like, I’m tired of this blog post, rarely, I read a blog post, and they’re like, Oh, you want to download this five page PDF, you just have to give us your email to get the PDF. And I’m like, that’s not how PDFs work. I could just download a PDF, you’re putting me on a list, right? That’s fair enough, like, but it doesn’t feel very legitimate. But if I enroll in a free course, on a course platform, I’m like, I probably have to get my email to enroll in this course anyways, right? So it feels higher value, it feels more legitimate to ask for an email. So people are very willing to give away the emails to get a whole free course. And then I guess the extra benefit for us compared to like HubSpot Academy is that our product is actually the cost product, right? So like course is such a good fit for us, because it’s the only thing we want to show them. It’s the actual course it doesn’t matter what the course is about, honestly, it’s just take your course with us and then we’re happy.


JC: Yeah, no, that was I’m a marketer. So I get the whole gated content thing, but your version is better. It’s just, you know, it takes a lot more work, right. And I think the reason why you see the name and email for a PDF is that’s far less work than building a whole free course, you know, but you know, for the people who put in the work, they usually get the bigger..


David: I actually made a few courses very tricky, because I had like a couple blog posts doing extremely well on SEO, like 1000s of clicks a week. Okay, and again, I was like, What do I do with these blog posts? Like, what do I actually do as a CTA? And I was like, what if I just spent an hour or two, taking the content of that blog post, chopping it up and making it into our calls, like, I did that in like, an hour and a half and then I had a course that’s like, it’s pretty rough. It’s basically just a blog post in, like, we’ve reached off the way with a bit of like investment discussion activity to see like, what did you learn from this, and so on. And here, we have a piece of content that actually had meaningful CTA on the blog post.


JC: It’s smarter to me to repurpose old content and modernize it, and then push that out. And again, it’s free. I mean, it’s not like you charge $1,000 for the course, you know, you can give them enough to where they can, if they put in the work, they can do the work themselves, or, you know, they could be part of the software. So again, smart marketing ploy coming from a veteran marketer, I like it, I like to do it. But the podcast being The Future of BizTech, we’re gonna talk about the future for a second here. So two part question. I’ll give you the first part first, where do you see Eduflow going in the next six months to a year? You know, what are some cool features coming down on your roadmap that my listeners can get kind of the first scoop on?


David: Yeah. So I think today we categorize ourselves kind of like a learning management system. It’s kind of like an exotic term, right? But but it’s like a place to manage your learning. Most people when they build a learning management system, they start with all the important administrative work, like how to enroll people in courses in the right way and a course library and managing the institution. We build none of that, because  we started with a pure feedback through it kind of came in from the side. So we have a platform today where the course experience is extremely good. Like the learning experience is very good. There’s a little bit of lack on the institutional administration side, like compared to some of the bigger players in the market. So a lot of our roadmap right now is to try and kind of fix that and build all the stuff you need if you have 10,000, or 100,000 people in your organization that you need to manage, that sounds pretty boring.


David: But the way we’re approaching it is to try to build a piece of software that’s very, very flexible, and kind of has some of these modern ideas that you know, from Serbia, for example, right. So you have these like no code tools today where you can connect all the tools together, like if this happens in this tool, then do this thing over and that tool, basically one of the things we’re building into it for right now, it’s it’s that part. So instead of building a hundred different features in a flow to do different things, if other things happen, we’re building in like an automation system where you can say, If a participant joins my institution, then enroll them in this course. Or if a person completes this activity in this course, then give them this property and add them to this article. So you can basically set up your own rules and workflows, which is our codename for right now, to set up this whole automated institution that everything just runs on its own. And we have to like build the programming language, basically, that people will build these automations in, which is like a super tricky task. But hopefully, once we do that, then it will just give us 1000 features, we never thought about building because they’ll be able to like, connect the building blocks on their own. It’s called so the way to flow works in general is that it’s all very modular, it’s all very building block style, to where you connect different things and add them on top of each other to get what you want.


JC: Very cool. All right, well, then let’s go to part two of the question, which is, where do you see the industry that you’re in going, you know, an online training industry in general, in the next, you know, five years or so, you know, in regards to either technology that’s that’s on the horizon or legislation? I don’t know. Where do you see you and all your competitors going in the next five years?


David: It’s good question, right? Online training has been around for a lot of years by Now people always think of this like, oh, it’s totally new. It’s not totally new, right? Like, like 40 years. So what’s happened recently, I guess, is that the internet as a whole, we’ve gotten to a place where content is abundant, right? There’s so much content. So people who teach online, they can’t just have more videos than the next guy, right? It’s not going to be enough to have better content, because YouTube has infinite content, and it’s good. So if you want to sell a call, so you want to attract people to your courses, you need to offer them something more. And people are attacking this problem from different angles, right? Some people are talking about communities, like how to build communities around the causes. Some people are talking about collaborative learning and active learning like we are, a lot of people used to work cohort-based courses these days where you take the course together with others, it’s still the same code. But now there’s like this feeling of, of group doing it together some social motivation. And I think all those ideas, I don’t know if they’re here to stay forever. But right now, they’re here, and they won’t die for now at least. And so I think that’s, that’s a big part of it. And then I think learning technology is, it’s not the fastest moving technology all the time, it’s a little bit old school so much still. So there’s a lot of potential for just making more slick technology solutions, especially when it comes around integrating products with each other. A lot of, if you run a course, today, you probably use a handful, at least of different learning products. And they don’t play together very nicely, unfortunately so I think there’s a lot of potential in integrating and embedding things in in a very neat way. So the user can have a very good experience, but actually be using multiple products as part of the course.


JC: I feel like machine learning and some AI can take place too, because like you’re talking about you have your workflows, and you’re setting those, I think I’d be really cool. If one day the system can learn enough about the process where it can decide where to put people, right? Where we can actually start giving insights to the managers as to who is better suited me for certain positions, you know, how long did they do on the testing? How fast did they get through it? You know, things like that, right? I feel like there’s an AI component somewhere in there one day for online training, which I think it’d be really useful. So yeah, I was like thinking about, you know, like, what’s coming down, right. I’m, I geek out on that, that future stuff, right? Go figure, you know, Future of BizTech Podcast. Let me ask you question..


David: I did a PhD in machine learning, right? So I think a lot about AI, and how it’s gonna affect us. And it’s funny, right? When I talk to people about online learning, they always expect me to be the Polish guy when it comes to AI. So like, it’s got to take over everything. I think I’m the most kind of conservative guy and whole AI learning group, I think most products probably don’t need AI, they should probably just like forget about it and build a better onboarding experience, because that’s going to make them more rich. But it does sound cool. When the customers asked like, do you have AI? Yeah, we have like super advanced AI. And we don’t hide, it’s just, we just solved the things by reviews, like, and then everything’s happy right? You could call it AI, but it’s just counting and sorting is like, what 90% Of the companies do? I do think there are, there are places where AI will make a massive impact in online learning. But most companies probably just do it to sound cool, unfortunately.


JC: Yeah I mean, you know, humans, we spent a lot of time thinking about AI. And I think I think we’re okay, until AI starts spending a lot of time thinking about us, then we’re in trouble, right?


David: It’s a matter of time. It’s just a matter of time.


JC: Let me ask you, what did you know there’s a personal question here. What, what did you want to do when you grew up? But when you’re a kid, right, like, what was your your dream job or career? And then was it this or didn’t? How did it get here?


David: It was definitely not an Ed Sec CEO. I wanted to go. I wanted to make games, right. I like the computers. Because you for our games.


JC: Not too far off. Yeah..


David: Not too bad, right? So I did start, when I started programming, I started making games. And I think it’s the gateway drug to programming is building your own game, right? Like, oh, I can make my own game. And then I started, I think I even started university, wanting to be like a software / game developer. And I did build games. Right. But then, I don’t know, got ruined, I think I realized I was a good programmer, right in my bachelor’s degree and already programming since I was small kids. So I think I realized that I could take all the programming courses. And I could do well. But I could also take all the math courses instead, which I did not like. And it’s kind of sucked at math, but I’ll still be okay, programming, but then I could learn something new. So I switched to math. And then I think that kind of pulled me into machine learning eventually. So it’s all kind of it’s all accidents after accident, right? And then I ended up going away from the games. And now I don’t know I still kind of miss Mr. Games, but..


JC: Maybe like, you know, maybe one day after you exit, you see yourself taking all your your winnings, and going back into games, back to home.


David: I have some kids now I hope they’ll grow up and start building their own games. I would love that. That’d be so fun.


JC: Are you making a cool game? Like just for your kids? Right? Like, yeah, that’d be pretty special. That’s awesome. Well, listen how can people reach you or, you know, directly if they’ve got maybe higher end deals they want to do? And then how can they reach the company itself?


David: Yeah, you can always reach me on any. It’s easy to reach, right? But like David@Eduflow.com is the easiest way. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google my name. It’s fairly uniquely named, I think, which is nice. So I shouldn’t be too hard to find that I put my email everywhere. So like, that’s okay, I get a lot of spam. But..


JC: Hey, you know, inbox zero at some point, get an assistant, you know? Well, listen, for everyone out there listening again. If you liked what you heard today, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, give it that five stars we talked about put some cool comments. So other techies like us can enjoy it, and learn all the cool, amazing new helpful b2b software’s that are on the market today. And listen, David, I just want to thank you so much for being on the show. I think it’s cool what you’re doing, you know, that workflow style, you know, online education, training, very, very useful in today’s b2b economy, especially when mostly we’re working from home and they’re not going to have a lot of that as much as that in person training. You know, this is kind of the new normal, you know, we think a lot of people are gonna be staying on a high percentage. So I wish you the best of luck and thanks for coming on the show.


David: Yeah, thanks for having me. Awesome.


JC: Bye.

LATEST Episodes

Subscribe now for Podcast Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.