ChallengeHub Logo

Teaching Has Hardly Changed in Hundreds of Years

We can do better

The need for better teaching

Students sleeping during class or playing mobile games. Does that sound familiar? This was the experience of Dr James Cannon at the University of Tokyo when he started teaching in 2015.

Initially he taught the same way he’d been taught: talking as he wrote on the blackboard or going through slides on a projector. But seeing many students get bored made him realise—there must be a better way.

There were other problems too. When students got stuck on homework, no-one was around to help. And as a teacher, James felt most of what he was saying could just as easily be looked up by the students themselves. The lecture seemed to be a very inefficient use of both student and teacher time.

Students not paying attention

Birth of an idea

After some research it was clear that active learning was better for students, but it wasn’t until moving to Kyushu University in 2016 that James had the opportunity to experiment with such methods.

Flipped-classroom methodology seemed perfect: students pre-study before coming to class then work together discussing concepts in class. But he quickly found out—most students don’t pre-study. The experiment failed.

Then James realised he didn’t want students to read—he wanted them to learn. And learning meant studying concepts deeply enough to answer questions. Challenge-based active learning was born.

Dr James Cannon

Building the idea

Initially, challenges were published in a PDF and James would gather feedback, manually pairing students who could help each other in class. It was working, however tracking progress was difficult and it was only feasible for small class sizes. A new, more scalable method was required.

This led to a key question: Despite the absence of funding and programming expertise, how could a self-sustaining revolution in education modernisation be realised—not only in James’s classroom but across the world?

The answer: launch a start-up to create technology that made it easier to teach better. Have it funded by teachers who found it useful—who believed in the same dream of high-quality modern education—while adhering to an open education philosophy.

ChallengeHub was born.

Building the idea

The future

ChallengeHub is gaining traction with teachers who want to try something different—who understand that the world of education is changing rapidly, and that innovation is required to realise motivated, internationally competitive graduates.

Join us and help bring education into the 21st century.

A classroom using ChallengeHub

Let us help you take the first step