ASU Barrett Honors College Students Launch Recommendation Platform for Self-Education

The way information is shared has changed constantly from generation to generation. In 1989, it was estimated that one weekday edition of today’s New York Times contains more information than the average person in seventeenth-century England was likely to come across in an entire lifetime. (Book: Information Anxiety, Richard Wurman) Can you imagine adding the likes of social media, the worldwide web, and other online mediums we can now access in 2012 to this information pool? Some may say we have reached the point of information overload.
However, we still need constant access to information. We need to quickly decipher the good from the bad, and we need to educate ourselves with the new found knowledge to move on to our next step. This is where comes in. Founders Keith Ryu, Diego Ortiz, and David Choi are all used to taking action. Apart from studying toward their degrees, they were interested in learning topics such as computer programming and investing. Where does everyone start nowadays? Google.
After perusing the top suggested sites, and even resorting to YouTube instructional videos, the group of guys found three distinctive hurdles when it came to self-education online. 1) Picking a starting point was arbitrary (you can only Google something you know the title for). 2) There was no way to distinguish the good resources from the bad (when you are learning, you don’t know). And 3) they found some resources were inconsistent with others (there is no way to continue education further).
Those frustrating experiences led the guys to create Onvard, and to help beginners answer these three questions:

  1. Where do I start?
  2. How do I begin?
  3. Which resources should I use?
Now, Onvard is born; exiting beta, the site is ready to accept personal profiles and uploaded “Tracks” and “Missions”!

How You Can Learn Through Onvard

Tracks: are self-guided instructions that outline the best way to learn a topic. Separated by different categories, and uploaded by the subject-matter-expert, tracks guide you through a step-by-step process to take you from “beginner noob” to “certified pro”!
Missions: are individual exercises or resources. Missions are specific objectives that help the learner through participation in an activity.
Example: If someone is wanting to start a business, and lands on, they could go through the Track “Basic Level Sales” to learn about closing the deal, then take action through a Mission “Read the ‘Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries” while being surrounded by this online learning community.
Launched and excited to make a difference, the Onvard Team (now with added help from Sarah Albinda) is looking forward to tackling this education / training system world through a centralized website.