The world is gravitating towards enormous uncertainty coupled with ever advancing technology, transforming the very nature of education, employment and life as we know it. While these constructs are being construed, one thing remains constant-education. While institutions are changing education at a disorienting pace, the online educational space has lately been a front-runner.
Over time, there has been a huge dependency and indulgence in online learning communities and forums. Among many others, Hallo is a pioneering application that has been garnering credibility in recent times. It was ideated in 2017 by Joon Beh while he was working with Uber as a consultant and pursued his inspiration drawn from the application’s synchronicity, thereby exploring Uber’s concept for language learning. The intention was to connect English language learners and teachers with just a click of a button. Being a Korean immigrant, Joon understood the challenges involved in learning the English language. Hence he saw an opportunity to help others.
It was observed that the English language learners primarily master their textbooks while neglecting their speaking skills which can only be enhanced by regular practicing and correspondence with native English speakers. Interestingly, these aspiring learners face the dearth of an encapsulating platform. Thus, in 2017, Hallo, the first real time English language learning platform was founded by Joon Beh and Benjamin Dent in Utah, USA. The app was officially released in May 2019 and currently boasts of a team of 13 members. Hallo has seen a parabolic growth ever since and now possesses over a million registered students with a weekly average of 16000 new sign ups. The average user engages in a relentless learning experience for at least 30 minutes in a day.
The application has gravitated from solely being an English learning platform to a well-encompassing social learning community. Students constantly engage and exchange ideas through public live streams, hop-on discussions, one-on-one conversations and subscribed learning modules. This approach makes them well-rounded conversationalists as the focus lies on a community based learning system. It can be observed that, it is in line with John Dewey’s theory of ‘Great Community’ and Herbert Meads ‘Ideal society.’ The application scrupulously and conscientiously provides a safe and welcoming space for vulnerabilities, mistakes and learning.
As Coretta Scott King rightly remarks, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” The community of Hallo is a testament to this since it actively yields a framework to interconnect different cultures and broadens the user’s perspective. The transmission of ideas and values by conducting live streams provides an ambience of understanding ‘communication behaviorism.’ The application moulds its users akin to a potter, thereby empowering them enough to perfect their soft skills. The entire process is seemingly enriching and humbling.
One cannot help but agree that English is a one stop communication tool. While the world’s affairs orbit around it, it is important for native language speakers to equitably avail the world’s opportunities. In this perspective, Hallo is a cardinal bridge between the users and these opportunities. Statistically, the number of smart phone users in the world is a staggering 6.648 billion, which is about 83.72% of the world’s population. This brings us down to the fact that no matter which part of the world you live in, if you are older than 10, it is very likely that you have a mobile phone. Hallo taps into this very potential to elevate its user’s skills. Since comfort zone is a no entry zone here, growth is definite. Simply put, Hallo is the seed for posterity to create an egalitarian world and ‘Dream Big.’
Hallo is wired to work based on its ‘Code of Conduct’ which is why its roadmap seems promising. This helps students to inevitably focus on their actions (Deontology) and their outcomes (Utilitarianism). It is worthy to note that apart from these philosophical imperatives, many other similar imperatives are portrayed in a well-crafted manner. So, what’s in it for the Indian market? Joon Beh, the founder, states that, “India has been the number one country on Hallo since Day 1 in 2019.” Due to the traction they have been gaining from India, they are set to officially launch Hallo in India this year. They also plan to customize the user experience for Indian users by, for example, translating the product into Hindi. Joon Beh staunchly reiterates that they look forward to helping 1.38 billion people in India become fluent in English. Therefore, it is certain that Hallo is devoted to the amelioration of ignorance and the many improbabilities that come with not being fluent in the English language.
One must not forget that if everyone was to be provided with the same opportunities and tools for education, there would be no social classes in the foreseeable future. Every individual would be entitled for every high paying job and we would see an augmentation of prosperity in every home. In a world where people flex their body, privilege and wealth, some others stand out by flexing their grey cells and soft skills. Hallo is the beginning of such a journey for literally anyone who wants to get aboard.
“Change is the end result of all true learning,” said Leo Buscaglia. And Hallo is where one can seek it in order to ‘Dream Big’.
(The Author is Rising Kashmir Columnist. He is pursuing a doctorial degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from IUST, Jammu Kashmir. He can be reached at:email@example.com)