Aug. 6, 2022: USDLA Partner Product Spotlight: Yellowdig Online Learning Platform

Aug. 5 2022, A Note from Pat Cassella, Executive Director: USDLA is as strong as it is because of our powerful partners and sponsors who not only support us financially but provide insight and education to our members about exciting developments in the distance learning industry.

Today it’s a pleasure to give a shout-out to Yellowdig a community-driven active learning platform adopted by more than 130 colleges and universities K12 schools and corporate training clients.

Its mission is to transform every classroom into an active social and experiential learning community. Learn all about it at yellowdig.com.

Please scroll down for our Q&A with the company’s founder and CEO Shaunak Roy. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Bombay and completed his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to founding Yellowdig Shaunak spent a decade advising global companies on technology strategy and growth.

Click here to watch our interview with Shaunak on YouTube.

Until next time have a blessed week! — Pat


Sponsor Shout Out: YellowdigA Q&A with Shaunak Roy founder + CEO

USDLA: Tell us about Yellowdig. What inspired you to create it? What need did you see being unfulfilled in the industry?

Shaunak: Yellowdig is on a mission to transform classrooms through organic student-led learning communities. Yellowdig is not a bolt-on or a tool but a learning platform that powers better learning and high-impact instruction while saving valuable faculty time. It does this by moving students from being receivers of knowledge to finders and creators of knowledge and providing a modern learning experience. This shift leads to a deeper level of student and faculty engagement better academic outcomes and better student retention outcomes.The platform can be easily integrated within your existing learning environments with 1-click access for your students. For instructors and administrators the platform enables real-time attendance tracking learning analytics and supports your compliance requirements.

USDLA: What Inspired you to create Yellowdig?

Shaunak: I grew up in a modest financial background in Indian. If you know South Asian culture a good education is not a choice but almost a must-have for most families. I did what I had to go get a great education. I was fortunate to go to some of the best universities in the world. Although I’m curious and enjoy learning I found sitting in classrooms was sometimes quite painful. The courses that I enjoyed the most were the ones where the teacher involved me in discussions ideations sharing learning by doing etc. In those learning environments I learned as much from my talented peers as I did from the professors.

USDLA: You went to college in the 2000s when active learning was time-consuming to implement.

Shaunak: That’s right. My professors could only interact with you when you were in the classroom. But now technology is everywhere and social media around the clock. Our mission is to use the best of technology to turn every classroom into active learning communities irrespective of topic mode of delivery or age group into a community-driven active learning environment.

USDLA: You and your team identified that students are not building relationships and connections in their learning environments. And you came up with a great solution!

Shaunak: Yes. Too often learning has looked like a solo endeavor even when there are elements like discussion boards where instructors assign students to “Post once and comment twice” because they are writing mini-essays to their instructor not actually conversing. Real connections to peers and instructors are vital to improving student success and retention.

USDLA: What have been your biggest challenges?

Shaunak: The first product we launched when I was an excited new entrepreneur did not get the engagement we expected. At first I thought I failed but then we realized that is a common problem that platforms struggle with and that led to the development of our patented point system which is the key to our engagement now. The only failures are the ones that you don’t find a way to learn and grow from.

USDLA: What are your biggest wins?

Shaunak: Big wins include seeing our clients succeed. We love when our clients report successful gains in student grades favorable instructor reviews in part due to Yellowdig retention and student persistence gains and overall successful programs.

USDLA: Who is your ideal client?

Shaunak: We love working with innovative institutions that are excited to embrace new pedagogy and track results of their new changes. We enjoy working with clients who see the value in a connected learning experience from admission to graduation. We’ve enjoyed working with USDLA to meet wonderful people at their conference and through hosting webinars together.

USDLA: What does the future look like for Yellowdig?

Shaunak: It looks connected! We will continue to work with our partners to create a connected learning experience for their learners. We are continuing to grow every year and are working to create a movement around Education 3.0: Connecting the Learning Experience. Join us!

USDLA: Thank you so much for your time today Shaunak! Best of luck with your organization. We look forward to sharing more about your success with our members.

 About Yellowdig: In 2014 Yellowdig’s CEO and founder Shaunak Roy knew he wanted to start a company that mattered. As Facebook and other social media technologies took over the social connectivity scene he saw an opportunity to leverage this idea of social sharing through technology but specifically in the area of sharing academic ideas and knowledge. As Shaunak looked back on his own academic days (he went to undergrad at IIT Bombay, and postgrad at MIT) he realized that he learned as much from his peers as he did from his brilliant professors. Some of the bonds he created with his peers lasted well beyond those formative years and morphed into lifelong friendships. Click here to learn why online learning communities drive deeper learning energize faculty and increase retention: Yellowdig.co.