Learnings from Mr. Salman Khan

For people who don’t know the other Khan, (I am not talking about the well-known actor Salman Khan, not that the actor Salman Khan has nothing to offer to learn), here I am writing about Salman Khan, also known as Sal Khan, from Khan Academy. Sal Khan started making videos for his cousins who were finding it difficult to understand Maths. He was working as a hedge fund manager then. One day he quit his job and started spending full-time developing these educational videos and sharing on YouTube. Today he has more than 2000 videos available on his site. That was Mr. Khan’s introduction in short. If you want to know more about his, please visit Khan Academy’s website. Khan Academy has now become very popular and Mr. Khan is enjoying immense brand equity worldwide.

Videos provide an ultimate learning experience to students, sometimes even better than the classrooms. Students can go through videos at their own pace – rewind, forward, go as many times as they want through a lesson. Mr. Khan has also come up with a novel learning management system where students can evaluate themselves after watching the videos. The key objective in his LMS (learning management system) is that students should keep trying on one concept until they learn it completely before moving on to another concept. In our conventional education system, students progress through their classes if they secure, say 70% marks. However, do we provide driving license if one knows how to drive a car only 70%?  Mr. Khan has also come up with concept of badges to provide continuous feedback to students.

The great work done by Mr. Khan is truly admirable. However, apart from learning Maths and many other subjects from his videos, there are some lessons of life which can be learnt from Mr. Khan’s life. Here they are –

Start small – Imagine making more than 2000 videos one at a time covering diverse set of subjects. Anybody would get overwhelmed by such a thought. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” said Martin Luther King and that is what Mr. Khan started with. I am not sure if he ever thought about creating such a vast library of content.

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention (said John Burroughs)- What was Mr. Khan’s intention in the beginning? To help his cousins struggling with maths. Indeed a good intention. Was it to change the world using videos? I doubt. But then he kept working and sharing his work. His smaller deeds have turned big now.

Content is king – Instead of focusing on fancy softwares and tools, Mr. Khan focussed on creating easy-to-understand content. I have met students who find it easier to learn from his videos than what they learn face to face from their teachers. He has used no fancy animations in his videos but has delivered his lessons just like a normal teacher goes about in a classroom.

There are many more. Watch this video –

12 thoughts on “Learnings from Mr. Salman Khan

  1. I know the good intentions behind these thoughts, n I am glad that the energy is being launched into operations.

  2. its really encouraging to know real life examples of good intentions, starting small and reaching bigger goals. thanks to u and Mr.Khan for Sharing knowledge!

  3. Great example !

    I like this quote very much:
    Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step

  4. Hi,

    This is overwhelming! Unable to see the videos though. Is there any other channel through which we could see the videos.


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