Solution overview

Our Solution

Rumie's Digital Learning Revolution

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Tagline

Rumie is making life-changing learning possible for those who need it most. We provide skill-building opportunities for today’s workforce.

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Pitch us on your solution

Over half of today’s workforce will need reskilling and upskilling by 2022. The education needed to do this, however, can be costly, hard to access, and time-consuming. Rumie uses the power of subject-area experts who volunteer their time online to create short, digital learning modules (Rumie Bytes) to bridge that learning gap. The content created is available to any individual via the Rumie App which can be used on any mobile device, even in completely offline, remote and rural areas. Individuals can learn and improve their skills from anywhere, at any time. Rumie is creating a global movement to remove the barriers to learning.

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What is the problem you are solving?

The world is on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which will disrupt almost every industry, impacting all disciplines, systems, and economies. The greatest impact, however, will be felt by those who face barriers to acquiring the new skills needed in the evolving workforce, including those in underserved and marginalized communities. As we face the transformative economic, social, and environmental challenges that will inevitably come with this transition, it has never been more important to invest in people. 

As the workforce continues to evolve, at least 54% of current employees (approximately 1.5 billion people) will need reskilling and upskilling by 2022. Education will remain critical for promoting inclusive economic growth, however, traditional education is no longer enough to match the new and evolving skills needed to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Lifelong learning avenues are key to addressing the skills gap however these can be costly, hard to access, and time-consuming, especially for those currently in low-wage positions or not yet in the job market. The best resources for developing these new skills can be found or created online and Rumie’s technology solutions offer an accessible platform for this to happen.    

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Who are you serving?

Rumie’s main demographic of beneficiaries are those in underserved communities including remote and rural areas with an unreliable Internet connection. These individuals are most likely the ones who will feel the greatest impact in the surge of new skills needed in the changing economy and are at greatest risk of being even further isolated.

The content that is created by our content partners and subject-area experts is directly matched with the needs of the communities, established through market research analysis and feedback directly from communities. The content is housed on our online repository that is accessible by anyone and gives every individual learner the opportunity to choose the learning content that is most relevant to them. The platform acts similarly to YouTube with suggested content based on the learner’s previous choices of viewed content. The learner can create their own digital library of Rumie Bytes, PDFs, videos and mp3 files which can be downloaded onto their personal devices.  

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What is your solution?

Rumie is a technology non-profit that creates innovative technology solutions to facilitate free online learning content creation and digital distribution. The content is delivered to learners around the world on low-cost devices such as recycled smartphones or their own mobile devices, and can even work when learners have little or no Internet connectivity. 

Over the last five years we have perfected the Rumie recipe of using people power - subject- area experts who volunteer their time online creating or contributing digital learning content to help bridge the learning gap for underserved communities around the world, even those who are still offline. This learning content is used by learners via the Rumie App. 

Our technology solutions allows us to bring quality content to people in a fast, efficient, and environmentally sustainable manner.  Learners are able to use hardware of any kind (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers) to access the Rumie App and their customized learning content. Too often cost has been an additional barrier to accessing high-value training of this sort, and Rumie breaks the final barrier by giving free access to its platform to learners.   

One of the most exciting parts about Rumie is that although we are a non-profit, charitable organization, we operate with a business model similar to a for-profit lean tech startup. We aim to shorten the product development cycles of our technology solutions by using hypothesis-driven product design, execute iterative product releases and then receive user feedback to make improvements and updates. 

The main difference between Rumie and a for-profit business, however, is that our ultimate goal is not maximizing profit, but maximizing impact. This is why we are in the process of expanding from previously supporting only traditional K-12 learning resources to now supporting lifelong learning and skill-building resources for learners of all ages and backgrounds. Providing individuals with the opportunity to develop the skills needed in the workforce that they may not have gained through traditional education will have the greatest impact on their lives and the lives of future generations.

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Select only the most relevant.

  • Increase opportunities for people - especially those traditionally left behind and most marginalized – to access digital and 21st century skills, meet employer demands, and access the jobs of today and tomorrow
  • Upskill, reskill, or retrain workers in the industries most affected by technological transformations
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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Toronto, ON, Canada
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Our solution's stage of development:

Scale
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More about your solution

Describe what makes your solution innovative.

When Rumie began in 2014, we preloaded custom Rumie Tablets with digital learning resources that we believed would be beneficial to learners.  We quickly learned that while we are the technology experts, our on-the-ground program partners are the real learning experts and they needed to be selecting their own content.  This ensures that the content is relevant, current, and reflective of the community needs. 

In 2015, we built the Rumie LearnCloud platform which allows volunteers to crowdsource the best online digital resources the Internet has to offer and also enables our program partners to build customized libraries best suited to meet the learners’ unique needs. 

When the LearnCloud was built it was innovative and life-changing. Today, however, we know that it is no longer enough to passively deliver content, rather we want to ensure we are actively engaging learners in achieving specific, measurable learning outcomes. Rumie has recently integrated the concept of ‘byte-size’ learning into our platform, meaning learners can achieve a specific learning objective in a short 6-8min learning experience. 

These byte-size learning modules are being created by experts in the workforce who have first hand knowledge of the skills needed to thrive in the current and future economy. Unlike other learning platforms, Rumie does not focus solely on traditional educational subjects. Rather we offer learning opportunities for job and life skills and a method - via the Rumie App - to access that learning content from anywhere, at any time and at no cost.

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Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

The Rumie Solution will address the problem of providing skill-building opportunities to all individuals by performing the following activities:

  • Building and enhancing the Rumie learning platform which gives subject-area experts an avenue to share their knowledge.

  • Developing improved UI across all of Rumie’s technology solutions.

  • Developing lifelong learning content bytes (these include leadership skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, technology literacy, etc.)

  • Expand Rumie Solution implementation with existing on-the-ground program partners.

  • Implement learning programs with new on-the-ground program partners.

These activities will lead to the following outputs and outcomes:

Outputs:

  • Increased number of learners of all ages accessing digital learning content

  • Rumie’s technology solutions being more accessible to low literacy learners

  • Subject-area experts have an easy and accessible way to share their knowledge with those who need it most. 

  • The learning content available on the Rumie platform is relevant and useful for learners.   

Outcomes:

  • Learners of all ages and skill levels are empowered by access to digital skill-building learning content

  • Skill development by non-traditional learning methods increase  

The ultimate impact is individuals gaining the skills needed to adapt and thrive in the changing workforce. A similar Theory of Change has already proven to be successful in previous Rumie projects. An example of this was when we launched the Rumie App in Afghanistan. The App has been used in non-traditional learning methods to build the skills of learners who are affected by the conflict in the country. We continue to expand our project in Afghanistan and impact greater numbers of learners.  

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Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Women & Girls
  • Pregnant Women
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Elderly
  • Rural Residents
  • Urban Residents
  • Very Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Minorities/Previously Excluded Populations
  • Refugees/Internally Displaced Persons
  • Persons with Disabilities
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Afghanistan
  • Benin
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United States
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Afghanistan
  • Benin
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United States
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How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

To date, the Rumie Solution has impacted 35,000 learners globally. Within one year, that number will increase to 100,000 learners and will further increase to 10 million within five years. The Rumie Solution has the capacity to grow exponentially as the cost of mobile devices continues to decrease and the number of individuals with access to technology increases.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

We have an ambitious goal to reach 10 million learners by 2025. The overall potential of the Rumie Solution, however, is limitless. With the spread of technology, especially smartphones, the ability to access digital learning resources is always increasing. As we work to refine our learning content platform, the quality and amount of resources available at an individual’s fingertips, relevant to the changing times, is also always increasing. With the intersection of these two factors, we are on track of accomplishing our overall mission of access to quality learning for all. With the achievement of this mission, will be the opportunity for every individual to upskill or reskill in order to succeed in the workforce.  

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What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

Rumie has grown aggressively in the last five years, expanding to 29 countries around the world. We have done this with the support of many key partners, however, there have also been challenges along the way.  These include: 

1. Content. The Rumie Solution is only as useful as the learning content we offer. This is especially critical as we deliver content to an extremely broad range of learners that are highly diverse in culture, geography, educational background, and primary language.

2. Awareness. We have found that one of the biggest inhibitors to our growth is the lack of people that know about Rumie. It is essential that we grow awareness of the Rumie Solution amongst the partners and learners who would benefit from the solution. For example, we were referred to the head of UNICEF Jordan by a partner and a few months later, a pilot program was underway in the Makani Centre in Jordan.

3. Collecting feedback.  It is a challenge to obtain product feedback and input from users that are in remote and conflict-affected areas, and who speak multiple languages.

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How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

We will work to overcome the challenges mentioned above by the following:

1. Content. We proactively source volunteer subject-area experts who have relevant experience in the areas we are working, thereby sourcing content that matches learner needs. We have been successful in building our volunteer community in the past. For example, in 2016 we were able to quickly find hundreds of volunteer experts to build collections of Arabic learning materials during our LearnSyria campaign in support of Syrian refugees. We are also in the process of hiring a Content Strategist who will be specifically focused on this task.

2. Awareness. We will work to overcome this challenge by continuing to expand our network, taking advantage of opportunities to spread the word about Rumie and growing our marketing efforts. We have recently hired a Chief Marketing Officer who will be specifically focused on this task.  

3. Collecting feedback. We will work to overcome this challenge by using our learned experience from working with partners in 29 different countries and contexts around the world, training on-the-ground partners to collect and consolidate feedback, and improving our product analytics collected automatically during usage.

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Select one.

  • My solution is already being implemented in one or more of ServiceNow’s primary markets
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If you selected “My solution is already being implemented in one or more of ServiceNow’s primary markets,” please provide an overview of your current activities in those markets.

Rumie is already working in Canada within our Indigenous communities as well as with new immigrants. Both of these populations benefit from the learning resources that Rumie provides to help them gain the skills needed to be successful in the Canadian workforce. 

 We have also recently formed a partnership in the US with a youth community center which offers learning opportunities outside of the classroom. 

We are also in the works of forming an official partnership with the largest device recycler in North America, which will offer our program partners the opportunity to obtain low-cost hardware if they do not already have access.

 As we continue to grow, we hope to expand to many new countries, including the additional ServiceNow markets.

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If you selected “I am planning to expand my solution to one or more of ServiceNow’s primary markets,” please provide an overview of your expansion plans. What is the market opportunity for your business or product here?

N/A

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https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.rumie.learncloud&hl=en

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About your team

Select an option below:

Nonprofit
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If you selected Other for the organization question, please explain here.

N/A

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How many people work on your solution team?

The Rumie team is a total of 15 people. There are 12 people located in the head office Toronto, one individual located in Vancouver and two individuals located in North Bay who manage Rumie's Indigenous programs.  

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For how many years have you been working on your solution?

6 years

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Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

Rumie’s team is made up of 15 incredibly diverse individuals from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Iran, China, Afghanistan and Lebanon.  These diverse backgrounds and linguistic abilities have enabled the Rumie team to create a solution that is suitable for countries around the world.         

Not only are the backgrounds of the team members diverse, the skill sets of the team members are just as varied.  On our team we have an expert Android developer and an experienced tech team, an expert Product Manager, a Partner Success Team that has experience working in diverse and remote communities and an educational professional.  Together the Rumie Team is equipped to create the best possible products for the individuals we are trying to reach.

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With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

Rumie works with corporate partners in the development of content as well as financial support, mentorship, strategy development and other in-kind resources.  These include Google, Accenture, Ernst &Young, Boston Consulting Group and Scotiabank.

Our global program partners include UNICEF, Junior Achievement Kenya, Kepler, TheirWorld, etc.. These partners are the ones implementing learning programs on-the-ground.

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Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

Rumie currently has two revenue streams -  corporate employee engagement programs and general donations. We operate similar to any technology startup, with the main difference between Rumie and a for-profit business being that our ultimate goal is not maximizing profit, but maximizing impact. Our fundraising strategy follows the Series A, B, C, funding model and we look for funders and investors who share our same goal of maximizing impact. Rumie also obtains revenue through individual donors, foundations and corporate partners.  As a non-profit, all revenue is spent in the assembly and delivery of Rumie solutions. Also, as a Canadian and US registered charity, Rumie has the ability to issue tax receipts, which is of great value to many of its donors. 

Rumie’s model is built to be low-cost and scalable. Finding and organizing the best, most up to date learning content across all subjects and languages, however, is expensive and time consuming. This is where we’ve turned to skilled volunteers to help.  We are building a movement of corporate volunteers who use their professional skills to create content to share with learners who need it most. This is a win-win situation, with corporate partners actively engaging their employees in a meaningful project and the learners gaining access to content directly created by professionals in the workforce. 

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We are continuing to grow our corporate employee engagement platform which will allow corporate partners to actively engage the employees in a meaningful project to share their skills and expertise in creating content. This is how we will remain sustainable in acquiring new and quality content. 

We have just recently hired two new Rumie team members who will form our new sales team. These individuals will form the strategy around not only our corporate employee engagement plan, but also the strategy around approaching corporate companies for funding as well. 

We will also continue to apply for challenges such as these, as well as run 2-3 fundraising campaigns per year.     

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Partnership potential

Why are you applying to the Digital Workforce Challenge?

Rumie is very excited about the Digital Workforce Challenge. It relates perfectly with the direction that we are moving in. As well, the work ServiceNow is doing is very closely aligned with Rumie's vision and goals. 

If we were selected, we would be able to continue to enhance and develop our software platforms that allow subject-area experts to share their knowledge as well as learners to obtain that content. We are constantly listening to our program partners and determining ways to enhance our technology solutions. This funding would allow us to continue to bring our product to another level and reach even more learners around the world.

Aside from the funding aspect, we would benefit from the mentorship and media opportunities that this challenge would provide. As we mentioned in the section on barriers, awareness of Rumie is one of the areas we are working on. Media opportunities would be one way for us to gain greater awareness. As well, as a young organization, mentorship opportunities always allow us to grow and improve.       

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What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Business model
  • Funding & revenue model
  • Monitoring & evaluation
  • Media & speaking opportunities
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If you selected Other, please explain here.

N/A

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With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?

Rumie would love to partner with like-minded organizations or companies who want to get involved with providing access to learning and skill-building. Partnerships with Rumie could happen in a few different ways:

1) Corporate partners - Any corporate companies who are looking for meaningful ways to engage their employees. We are looking for learning content that covers a large array of skills and we therefore need to partner with corporate companies that offer different expertise. 

2) Program partners - Any on-the-ground program partners who offer learning and/or skill-building programs. While the Rumie App can be accessed by any individual learner, we do partner with organizations that run programs developing skills for individuals looking to grow in the workforce.  

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Solution Team

 
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