In this interview with Haitham Alhumsi, the Online Learning Manager at KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, we unpack the thinking behind and the success of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Adventures course.
As a university, you would expect King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) to benchmark itself against other research and higher education institutions. However, on this particular project, they viewed Netflix, Snapchat, and TikTok as their competition.
The institution’s goal was to launch the first Arabic course on entrepreneurship on the edX.org platform with a target of reaching 10,000 learners in the first year. The ultimate objective was to build a community of innovators that can be the human capital that drives the next wave of innovation in Saudi and beyond. At the center of this movement lies KAUST which aims to be the deep tech heart of the Saudi economy.
The challenge KAUST set themselves and Construct Education was “How do we create a course that is attractive, engaging, and entertaining with a high stickiness factor so that people will choose to opt into our course and invest their time to learn more about entrepreneurship?”
What we ultimately decided to do was create a gcMOOC – A gamified, community-based course where we shifted the experience from modules, quizzes, instructors, and lectures to levels, challenges, mentors, and bonus content driven by unlocks. This gamified approach carried through the entire design of the course from video production to copywriting to challenge designs, while at the same time being underpinned by a strong learning loop and sound pedagogy to ensure proper learning outcomes.
The course features 8 levels starting with team building, moving forward to product ideation and development, and ending with going towards the market with pitching, fundraising, and marketing. Each level features 3 main challenges the learner must go through as well as thematic decision-making opportunities on the themes of leadership, team building, and enlightened execution that unlock bonus content from expert investors and serial entrepreneurs.
“Our goal was to create the first Arabic course on entrepreneurship on edX.org and build a community of innovators to drive the next wave of innovation in Saudi Arabia. Launching the gamified ‘Entrepreneurship Adventures,’ we received an overwhelming response, with 71,000 people signing up. We’ve got big plans to expand our impact and now will be running the course twice a year.” – Hattan Ahmed, Entrepreneurship Director at KAUST
The response has been overwhelming, with over 71,000 people signing up for the course and thousands of students completing the entire 8 levels of adventure.
With this great success on the first launch of the course, KAUST looks forward to continuing the program twice a year to reach even more audiences in Saudi Arabia (KSA) and beyond, as well as continuing to invest in this community of innovators that will shape the future of the Kingdom, MENA and beyond.
About King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST)
King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in Saudi Arabia and around the globe. KAUST’s pioneering structure of academic divisions and interdisciplinary research centers enable top researchers to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological issues. As part of our mission, we aim to help great entrepreneurial ideas succeed by supporting a network of startups, entrepreneurs, and investors.
About Construct Education
Construct Education designs strategic hybrid learning solutions through our unique fee-for-service model that delivers world-class expertise and exceptional value. We have successfully digitized courses for top-tier universities and organizations worldwide, from short courses to degrees and MBA programs. Education institutions, companies, governments, and NPOs trust us to bring their online programs to life – no matter the starting point, platform, time, or budget. At Construct, we are on a mission to unlock opportunities through transformative learning experiences, thereby bridging the gap between education and employability.
KAUST: Dina K. Soufi