Who are you?
Dr Nukhet Vardar, founder of Brands Whisper’g® and director of El Izi UK
What do you do?
Brands Whisper’g® (BW®) aims to bridge the gap between business and academia by teaching relevant information for business life, while making business studies easier to learn and more attractive for students. It is a free access web and video based e-book, using ‘reality learning’ via problem/solution method, and covers chapters with video cases.
What educational challenge are you trying to meet?
I developed BW® based on personal experience. Having worked as a marketing academic and practitioner over many years, I have observed that today’s students are not happy with the curriculum offered at business schools. They do not want to read thick textbooks and their attention span is very short. On the other hand, my business contacts were complaining about business school graduates not being prepared for business life. In other words students were not happy with business school teaching and businesses were not happy with our graduates. So I thought there must be a different way of teaching which will both please students, while equiping them better for business life.
What impact did the EDUCATE programme have on your product and company?
As BW® is a new teaching approach, we had to have empirical evidence to prove that it is working better than traditional teaching methods. Although we had considerable amount of anecdotal evidence collected, being part of EDUCATE made us think on how to collect primary data and to setup a new research design to prove its advantages. With my academic background in marketing and communications, I have conducted various research projects, including my own MSc and Ph.D projects, but not for an educational product. Based on our research proposal, we tested our two video cases on 18 students at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences, in Slovenia, in April, 2019 and got very favourable results. We are now looking for more lecturers to test our product in their courses.
What impact has achieving an EdWard had on you personally, and on your company or product?
We were one of the cohort 6 companies to take part in the EDUCATE programme, and are recipients of an Evidence-Aware EdWard. Being an EDUCATE start-up company with an EdWard gives a upper hand while introducing ourselves in the EdTech world. It shows that we are very much research orientated and driven by facts and figures. We see it as an endorsement of our frame of mind and it shows our priorities. These days, at any EdTech event, everyone knows what EDUCATE and EdWard stand for and it helps us differentiating our products from the rest.
What advice would you give to prospective EDUCATE participants?
EDUCATE offers a wide range of services from business training to basics on how to conduct research, to networking. Every company is at a different stage of its development when they join the programme, and therefore every company should decide what their needs are before they start the programme and make the most of it. For us, EDUCATE was a very good platform where we could freely talk about our product and get sound criticism. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience and it is usually very hard to find the right people to talk and get good feedback. Also we have attended various EdTech events as an EDUCATE startup and still continue to do so because they give us a chance to learn new things and to make contacts. This is a very valuable EdTech ecosystem and being part of it actually nourishes us without even noticing it.