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Doers, dreamers, thinkers, tinkerers, there are many interested learners for every Guru.

Rahindra ‘Ryan’ Shrestha is a Nepali-Australian entrepreneur who has been living in Sydney, Australia for over 25 years. A talent acquisition specialist, social critic, motivator and blogger, he is the founder and Managing Director of STUDYANDWORK, a successful recruitment business devoted to students, graduates and professionals that specialises in internship, graduate jobs and professional staffing. Since 2007, the company has provided placements to more than 5,000 jobseekers in over 2,000 reputable Australian and multinational businesses.

Shrestha has an undergraduate degree in Business (Marketing) and an MBA degree in Finance and Information Systems, both with distinction, from Central Queensland University, Australia. He recently founded Gurucool.online to enable people to share their knowledge and skills through digital communication mediums.

Shrestha is inspired by the drive to succeed with hard work and dedication. He states, “My life philosophy is that if you don’t know it cannot be done, you will go ahead and do it. I always believe in ‘I Can’ and ‘I Will’ attitude.”

In an interview with B360’s Dibesh Dangol, Rahindra ‘Ryan’ Shrestha talks about Gurucool, its advantages and perks of becoming a Guru or a Learner with Gurucool. Excerpts:

What is Gurucool? What inspired you to start Gurucool?

Gurucool is a platform where the relationship between the teacher and the learner is established to encourage the transfer of knowledge, skills, life experiences, technical knowhow, language skills and wisdom for mutual benefit and financial gain, all from the comfort of their home at their convenience over popular communication mediums of their choice such as ZOOM, Skype and Microsoft Teams.

I came up with the idea for Gurucool because the Covid 19 is expediting the already existing trend towards online learning. More and more people are opting for online learning to maintain social distancing and to kill boredom during lockdowns. This is a global phenomenon as people all over the world are trying and learning to live with Covid 19. I thought this was a golden opportunity to solve the problem by creating a match making platform like Gurucool.online.

What is your business model?

Gurucool is not a training provider nor is it a learning management system. It is a platform that matches suitable teachers with interested learners. Anyone can be a Guru as long as they know something that people could want to learn from them. Similarly, learners can learn anything they want from anywhere at any time, all they have to do is post their lesson request at Gurucool.online. Guru comes up with their own learning package, structure and delivery method, which they will discuss and negotiate with Learner before agreeing to take on the assignment. Guru will set learning outcomes and sends them for approval to Learner through our website.

What is in it for you?

Gurucool holds the payment from the learner and pays the teacher as soon as the teaching delivery is completed. It takes a small cut of 4.9% from the payment made to the teacher for making this relationship possible. Gurus can promote their services for free by creating a profile while Learners can post their lesson requests for free too.

What is your target market?

Gurucool brings together the teachers from countries like Nepal, India and the learners from developed countries such as USA, UK, Australia, Canada, China together where they can exchange their skills for US dollars. To become a Guru or a Learner, all they have to do is create their profile on our website and start posting lesson offers and lesson requests.

How can Nepalis take advantage of Gurucool to monetise their skills?

I believe that Nepal is in the best position to benefit from this global online learning trend. As more and more people go online, they look for the cheapest and the best courses to learn. They want to learn music, arts, cooking, yoga, philosophy, academic subjects, English language, software skills, technical skills and more. Nepal can offer them the most of what they are looking for at the best value for money. Nepal has a young population of talented people who speak and write excellent English and are technically savvy. Nepal has high speed and reliable internet services thus making online learning smooth and effective. Nepali people can become online teachers and earn excellent income by teaching the learners from the developed counties who are willing to pay top dollars.

It appears that Gurucool promotes soft skills more than academics. Is it a conscious decision?

The aim of Gurucool is to encourage transfer of knowledge and create value by tapping into the soft skills and wisdom of people who may not be trained academics. There are many online learning portals with learning management systems in the market which are popular, and we know that we cannot compete with them due to our limited marketing resources, but there aren’t any online businesses like Gurucool, we believe. We want to encourage everyone to give Gurucool a try as they don’t have to be a professional instructor or academic.

What is Vidhya Daan? Why is it mentioned that retirees do it “for free”?

Gurucool also promotes a social campaign called Vidhya Daan which encourages retirees with time on hand to become online teachers to impart their knowledge to the young generation for free. Whilst there are millions of students out there with a hunger for knowledge but are unable to afford the commercialised education, incidentally there are millions of retired professionals at home who are bored due to lack of social contact but keen to give back to society by way of giving their time and skills for educating students.

Gurucool.online wants to be the platform by which the retired professionals interested in paying back to society by imparting education can find students who are willing to learn and develop, and vice-versa. Guru has the liberty to decide how and when to deliver the lessons. Learner has the liberty to decide whether or how much to pay Guru as a show of gratitude.

How are the lessons provided?

To become a Guru, all you have to do is come up with a lesson topic that you love, that you are good at, and which you have experience in. Don’t feel like you have to teach a degree-level profession. You are teaching what you know to people who don’t know what you know yet. To every first grader, a fourth grader is an expert. You must act like an expert in order to become one.
Once you find the interested learners on Gurucool.online, you can use a communication platform of your choice for lesson delivery. We recommend Zoom as it makes interactive lessons possible from any locations and many features are free. If you want to become a Guru but a bit overwhelmed on how and where to start, we recommend that you watch some online teacher training videos on YouTube.

Will the learners get certification?

It is up to the Guru to decide whether to offer a certificate of completion to the Learner. Gurucool is not a registered training organisation and the Gurus are not our employees thus we cannot issue any certifications. Leaners gain knowledge, confidence and self-satisfaction which are more important than certifications.

How do you ensure authentication of Gurus?

We audit Gurus who have registered with us on a regular basis and screen them out for their activities such as any suspicion or something that does not fit within our policies or when we receive complaints from the learners. The authenticity and quality of Gurus can be judged by the star ratings and feedback given by the learners who have used their services.

How is it different from other online learning platforms like Byju’s and Khan Academy?

Unlike the learning platforms you have mentioned which are more focused towards academic development, anyone can be a Guru at Gurucool.online. Doers, dreamers, thinkers, tinkerers, there are many interested learners for every Guru. Think about your skills, talents and life experiences that you have been through. What you do for a job, your business field, something you’ve taken a course in, cooking your favourite dishes, interior design, a craft you enjoy, writing non-fiction, a life challenge you got through, a personal or professional success that you achieved, language teaching skills… the list is endless. Turn your knowledge into top dollars by helping people globally.

Dibesh Dangol is a business reporter for Business 360 covering markets. Before joining Business 360 in 2018, he worked at ECS Media covering events, entertainment, auto and gadgets for four and a half years. Dangol is also involved with Alpha Riding Gears and Made by Aama (MBA).

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