In Hong Kong, most students seem to believe that private tuition is a necessity and spend hours at the tuition centre each day, often staying until midnight. However, there is now an innovative alternative to the drudgery of attending these tutorial classes.
Founded by Tommie Lo five years ago, Prologue Online Tutorial aims to combine online video-based lessons and modern technology to improve accessibility to education. This combination means students do not have to travel to the tuition centre and can study independently.
Various studies show that test-anxiety and high attendance of additional tutorials contribute to students’ deteriorating physical and mental health. For example, in 2006, Margaret Lee of Chinese University found a correlation between suicidal thoughts and exam anxiety here in Hong Kong.
To help students prepare for the diploma of secondary education examination, Prologue’s innovative platform combines lessons in a book with QR codes that lead to online tutorial videos in case a student gets stuck. “This is not a book integrates life and education because you can take the book anywhere to learn,” Lo – the author of the book – explains. Removing the constraint of going to the tuition centre enables students to study anytime and anywhere.
Lo got the inspiration for this integrated platform when he visited an orphanage in rural China, where the majority of the abandoned children were girls and disabled children. “It made me realise that people need education to improve their future,” he says.
It was this thought that drove him to abandon his PhD studies at London School of Economics and Political Science and build Prologue, which provides tutorials for a very small cost, compared to the tutoring centres. His innovation not only made knowledge more accessible, but the flexibility of the Prologue platform also means that students can study in the way they learn best.
In fact, Lo believes the customisation of education will become a trend and has built Prologue around it. “Students learn best with one-to-one tuition between student and teacher or in group discussions,” he says. That is why the platform offers supplementary digital notes which students can personalise and click on for further elaboration. Furthermore, the platform will also recognise when a student struggles to understand a concept and will offer additional tutorials to assist in the learning process.
Not satisfied with the innovations he already made in integrating life and education, Lo wishes to also improve the process of learning languages. “It is about making education enjoyable and creating life-long learners,” he says. “Ideally, education should be free for all, with a sizable interactive community to get people engaged.”
Lo had a hard time setting up his business, which initially estranged his family and close friends. “The Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP) was instrumental in growing Prologue,” he says. For fledgling start-ups, HKSTP offers financial support, incubation, and mentorship from experienced professionals. As for Lo, he will continue to write new chapters in education.
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