Coracle is a Cambridge based Edtech firm that provides a specialist B2B Virtual Learning Environment.
Our mission is to create a world where no-one is isolated from learning opportunities
Our Digital Learning Platform (DLP) enables skills gap analysis, access to course materials, tests and assessments, evaluation and self-reflection tasks.
Where did Coracle come from?
Over the Christmas break in 2005 James Tweed had a conversation with his brother-in-law, Nader Nanjiani. Nader was working in Dallas for Cisco Systems. His cv at the time included work in interactive media, IP telephony and communications. In 2003 he launched the first ever Cisco online community for certified engineers to support the professional development needs of hundreds of thousands of Cisco customers, partners and prospects. He co-authored "The Business Case for E-Learning" (Cisco press 2004)
Inspired by Nader and looking for a change of direction, following many years shipbroking and trading financial products, James took a proposal to the ICS to digitise their TutorShip distance learning course. A few months later, Coracle became the exclusive digital reseller for ICS and had delivered the first online maritime courses suitable for preparing candidates for ICS exams.
I was excited to see James get going with maritime e-learning. It was a great opportunity and provided a lovely case study for my book, "The Power of IP Video"
What about the name?
A Coracle is a small boat, used since Roman times. These lightweight craft are so portable that fishermen can pick them up and carry them on their shoulders. Coracle Online is synonymous with this flexible vessel. Coracle's users can pick up their studies and carry them with them wherever they go, and access a rich library of knowledge whenever they want.
Like any lean startup, our journey began with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which allowed us to collect data to validate our ideas.
When we launched, our focus was on delivering maritime courses to individuals. However, extremely high levels of volatility in the shipping sector, following the global financial crisis in 2008/2009, meant we re-worked our value proposition and have transitioned to a B2B approach, allowing us to offer our platform to a range of business verticals.
Keep trying! (We've learnt a few things along the way!)
Over the years we have experimented with a range of technical and pedagogical approaches, as well as products and services.
Some notable milestones from the journey:
- Various awards, including: 'Marine Media' Finalist, SAP-Brighttalk ‘Go For Growth’, National Customer Service Award, National Business Awards for Best Use of Technology (finalist), Poseidon Challenge Award, Startups Awards 'Best Use of Technology', Running the Gauntlet, Lloyds List 'Innovation Award'
- Podcasts. Since launching the first podcast in 2007, Coracle rapidly became the leading free-to-air provider of primary source audio market reports and industry intelligence podcasts. We distributed content via ShippingPodcasts.com, iTunes and Kindle. Coracle's audio podcasts covered areas such as the dry cargo markets, tanker markets, container markets, foreign exchange markets, as well as monthly recruitment news, marine insurance and maritime law. These provided a valuable resource to our students. With over 10 million downloads, podcasts gave the company an excellent way to reach people and whilst the team remain big fans of podcasts (indeed, we're flattered that other people have copied us in providing this type of service to the maritime industry and have copied our shippingpodcast name), the offering inevitably evolved. As such the stand-alone podcasts feature was consigned to the archives.
- 2007: Coracle becomes the exclusive online course provider to Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and launch first online maritime course
- 2010: Approved as a training provider to MOD under ELCAS scheme
- 2010: Launch Maritime Twitter Top40 and Coracle Media to monitor industry buzz on twitter. Connecting learners with information has always been a core part of our goal and as the use of Twitter became increasingly pervasive, the impact on all industries started to grow. Our approach was to help visitors by aggregating those that influence others in the industry with the Top 40 being refreshed on the 1st of every month to reflect changes over the past month.
- 2011: Launch coraclequiz.com as stand alone software option
- 2011: Coracle’s iPhone app ‘Ship It’ was the #1 Educational/Game app in France, Portugal, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, Czech Republic, Guatemala and Argentina. The game was also ranked in the top 10 in over 55 countries.
- 2013: Launch v1.0 platform (known as The Learning Line)
- 2016: Win NHS England SBRI funding to develop 'GP of the Future' project with Helicon Health
- 2017: Launch v2.0 platform (known as Osprey-VLE)
Today and tomorrow
Based in Cambridge, a centre of EdTech, the company offers a combination of specialised e-learning software, support services and consultancy. The company ethos is to provide proactive, innovative value-added services to its clients and has a reputation for integrity, high quality service and developing long term relationships. We currently support an active user base of over 25,000 individuals, distributed across nearly 70 countries.
Today our 'strategy to 2020' supports our core vision of creating a world where no-one is isolated from learning opportunities and focusses on how we deliver our products and services in order to maximise the impact of our work. Understanding our impact and how our resources are used allows us to monitor our services to ensure that we continue to offer transformational opportunities for our users.