If you are planning on becoming a voice commentator then you should avoid consuming dairy products. That is one of the things we learnt on Edlal.org, the GCC’s latest e-learning platform.
E-learning platforms- online spaces that provide a range of learning experiences- first began to emerge less than a decade ago and have since been changing how people seek knowledge. In the past, acquiring specific skills beyond school and college education, from design to accounting, required seekers to enroll in a courses or workshops at learning centers usually located in cities.
For many in the GCC who live in remote areas or towns far from the capital and major cities, this meant that they could miss out on enhancing their skills, and fall behind those who have the privilege of being in close proximity to those centers, potentially affecting their attractiveness to employers over time, especially in a time in which many corporations are recruiting those with skills beyond their academic knowledge.
But that is not the case anymore. With e-learning platforms, such as Edraak and Rwaq, and more recently Edlal, popping up, users from around the world, especially the GCC, now have access to knowledge that would aid in enhancing their skills across different areas.
We sat down with Omar Al Harthy, Edlal’s 21-year-old Omani project manager who, in addition to his role as a founder of Muscat’s co-working space Al-Rudha, is on a mission to spread knowledge throughout the Arab world.
“At Edlal, we believe that learning is a right for all,” says Omar excitedly.
Edlal – which means indication or pointing out in Arabic – was launched in January 2017, after a conversation between partners Al-Rudha and Point, an Omani production company, about e-learning platforms in the MENA region and how Oman could contribute to this development. The duo were keen on filling the gap between the courses taught in universities and the increasing demands of the job market.
“We thought, why not start an e-learning platform that provides short, skill-based courses for university students, job seekers, job holders, entrepreneurs and freelancers, as well as all knowledge seekers in general?”
Shortly after conception, Oman’s main telecommunications operator, Omantel, jumped in to power the platform.
The Edlal website currently offers more than 22 free, 15-30 minute video courses, all conducted in Arabic, ranging from how to start a digital-based business to a filmmaking course for beginners. To date, the platform has over 15,000 registered members mainly from Oman but also including Emiratis, Saudis, and Jordanians, which highlights the team’s success in bringing knowledge to others, wherever they are.
Referring specifically to his home country, Omar explains: “everything is centralized in Muscat, all workshops and events, people outside of it had a lot of difficulty reaching events and workshops here. So taking it from a physical aspect, taking it online made it great.”
Commenting on why the courses are only available in Arabic, Omar says: “Arabic content only forms 3 to 4 per cent of the total online content, which is not enough. We thought it is a gap that we should fill.”
However, adding English subtitles to the video courses is part of Edlal’s long-term goals to reach a wider audience. So is including non-Omani expertise. Currently, the majority of the courses are conducted by Omanis who are experts in their respective fields.
“We began by giving the opportunity to Omanis to showcase their expertise as there are many Omanis that need to be marketed for” explains Omar. “However, including non-Omani expertise is in the long-term plan, especially including expertise from the MENA region, as well as non-Arabic speakers.”
Amongst a bundle of other goals is tapping into the podcast market.
“We have had numerous requests for podcasts, especially by those who go on long drives and participate in physical activities” says Omar. “So, we are looking forward to adding a new feature called ‘Edlal podcasts’ by the end of this year.”
“We’re young. We have a lot of ideas we want to create and add” chuckled Omar as our conversation came to a close.
The sky’s the limit for this energetic team. As for why you should avoid dairy if you are seriously considering a career in voice commentaries, then log on to Edlal.org and find out.