As the pace at which innovation happens becomes faster, some professionals are finding it hard to keep up. 

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, only 1-10 respondents said their MBA prepared them well. Unfortunately, acquired knowledge becomes obsolete much faster nowadays, and professionals must continually look to gain new skills throughout their careers. 

Mila Semeshkina, a communications professional-turned successful entrepreneur, set her sights on solving this problem in 2018 when she founded Lectera, a “fast education” platform for professional upskilling. 

The company reports that it has helped over 3 million students from Europe and dozens of other countries with learning modules in 15 different languages. Lectera’s founder said the company’s success comes from its ability to rapidly adapt to different needs of students, with the team constantly monitoring market trends to offer courses in high-demand areas.

150Sec spoke with Semeshkina about the evolution of online education, and how it’s creating access for underserved communities and women across the globe. The below interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

150Sec: How did you identify current learning needs and decide to start an EdTech startup?

Mila Semeshkina: The idea for Lectera emerged from my personal experience while pursuing my PhD. I noticed that the knowledge I was acquiring was becoming outdated faster than my research could keep up. 

Mila Semeshkina, Founder and CEO

This made me wonder about others pursuing careers in fast-changing fields such as digital marketing or artificial intelligence. It became evident to me that traditional education was too slow and time-consuming. Thus, the concept of Lectera, which offers quick and timely courses, was born.

To identify current learning needs, our team of methodologists continuously monitors market trends to determine if there is a rising demand for specific knowledge areas. 

Once we identify a significant opportunity in an in-demand field, we develop a course on the topic. This approach ensures that our offerings are relevant and cater to the immediate needs of our learners.

150Sec: What methodologies does Lectera use to facilitate learning for its users?

MS: All Lectera courses are based on our proprietary teaching method, “Fast Education.” 

This approach is designed to make learning quicker and more engaging, as evidenced by our impressive 87% course completion rate. Each course is structured into five to six-minute video segments that students can easily fit into work breaks or daily commutes.

Additionally, our courses are available in the 15 most spoken languages, allowing students to initially take a course and expand their knowledge in their native language and then retake it in another. 

This method not only helps students grasp the content but also enhances their business vocabulary, facilitating better professional communication. 

This multilingual approach supports a broader and more effective absorption of knowledge, making our educational offerings more accessible and practical for diverse learners.

150Sec: In the context of continuing education, how often is it necessary to update content in the face of changing market trends?

MS: Education is constantly evolving, especially concerning digital professions, and the frequency of content updates is crucial to maintaining relevant content for our students. 

Our approach at Lectera involves two primary sources for assessing the need for updates: student feedback and insights from our team of methodologists. These sources help us determine how well our courses meet current market demands and educational expectations.

When feedback indicates that specific components of a course require enhancement, we promptly update the material. 

In fields like digital marketing and artificial intelligence, where industry standards and technologies evolve swiftly, some of our courses have already undergone three or four updates. 

This iterative process ensures that our educational offerings remain contemporary and practical, equipping our students with the latest knowledge and skills needed to excel in their respective fields.

150Sec: How do you guarantee accessibility and inclusion in education for people from diverse backgrounds?

MS: At Lectera, we are committed to ensuring that education is accessible and inclusive, particularly for learners from various cultures, languages, and backgrounds, such as those in India, Pakistan, Latin America, and Africa. These regions often face intense job market competition, where timely and applicable knowledge is crucial. Here’s how we address these challenges:

  • Free educational resources: We offer a range of free courses which ensures that financial barriers do not prevent eager learners from accessing our educational content.
  • Promotional activities: For courses that are available to purchase, we regularly run promotional offers that significantly reduce the costs of our courses, making them more affordable for a broader audience.
  • Multi-language courses: We recognize the linguistic diversity of our students and, therefore, provide courses in 15 languages. This approach broadens our client base and caters to students who may not be fluent in business English, enhancing their learning experience.
  • Partnerships for women’s empowerment: We have partnered with the Women’s Empowerment Council to support women’s education. Through this collaboration, we offer free access to many of our courses to the Council’s members, thus furthering our commitment to educational inclusion. (Editor’s note: Semeshkina is the founder and president of the Women’s Empowerment Council).

By implementing these strategies, we aim to make education both accessible and relevant to individuals from all walks of life, helping them to quickly acquire the skills needed to succeed in competitive job markets.

150Sec: Can you share any success stories where Lectera has had a significant impact on a user’s professional development?

MS: At Lectera, we have numerous success stories that underscore our courses’ significant impact on individual professional development. 

While some achievements might seem modest, like securing a first job or receiving a salary increase, these milestones are tremendously important for our students.

One key area where we see consistent success is in helping individuals excel in their current roles. Our courses provide rapid access to essential knowledge, empowering employees to perform better and advance within their companies. For example, a customer service representative could take a Lectera course on conflict resolution to learn how to better deal with demanding customers, improving their customer service skills and making them a more valuable asset to their company.

Additionally, for entrepreneurs — especially those running micro-businesses or managing home-based enterprises — we offer targeted courses in digital marketing and social media strategy. These courses equip them with the skills to promote their businesses and increase their target market reach effectively.

Moreover, our success extends to our course authors, many of whom are leading experts in their fields. These professionals find great fulfillment in sharing their expertise with a diverse audience, including those who might not have had the opportunity to access such high-level knowledge elsewhere. Their contributions not only enhance the learning experience but also create a network of knowledge-sharing that is invaluable and often life-changing for our learners.