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Education

A human-led and tech-powered solution enables a successful online schooling experience

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Want to move to online education? Through a collaborative engagement with PwC and Salesforce, we can help create a platform for you for the future.
 

Client: Valenture
Industry: Education
Our role: Through a collaborative engagement with PwC and Salesforce, Valenture Institute is fully committed to using Salesforce and Education Cloud as its platform for the future.

 

How did our team of solvers come together to assist Valenture Institute?

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on education around the world. A full 18 months into the pandemic, it’s estimated that more than 1.5 billion students around the world have been affected by lockdowns and school closures. Even before the global crisis hit, Valenture Institute, an online high school, was ready to change the game.

Founded in 2019 by Rob Paddock, the creator of the short course platform GetSmarter, Valenture’s mission is simple: to create aspirational learning opportunities for high school students around the world. Its goal is to be the most impactful school by 2028, transforming the educational landscape and learning to be focused around student-centered education. 

 

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The school seems to be well on track to realising its ambitions. It recently announced the launch of a university-based online high school in partnership with The University of Cape Town (UCT) – a move that could transform the entire education system in a country that has long struggled to overcome major structural and legacy issues.

The new high school will cater to South African learners from a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds, offering students a CAPS-aligned curriculum at a monthly fee of R2,095. With the Valenture approach, students benefit from a highly engaging, inclusive, and socially-rich learning environment supported by expert teachers, mentors, and boutique campuses in key centres – and they never have to miss a day of school because of COVID-19 closures again. 

But if you want to change the world through online education, your technology platform has to be robust. Through a collaborative engagement with PwC and Salesforce, the school is fully committed to using Salesforce and Education Cloud as its platform for the future. 

 

 


Getting there has not been without its challenges. Valenture’s aim was to use best-of-breed tools to build a robust technology foundation. This included the use of its online learning management tools: Canvas, Google Sheets, Zoom, and Xero for its financials. But with 79 different cloud services for various aspects of its operations, it was difficult to consolidate all student, guardian, mentor and faculty information in one place. It needed to give all stakeholders up-to-date information, and provide its students with everything they needed to be successful.

As a school that started digitally, with physical infrastructure that supports the digital experience, the goal was to build a platform that anticipates what its students want, and provide it to them online first. While this ultimately enables richer and deeper conversations, the platform needed to be built from the ground up.


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Salesforce was clearly the best system to manage Valenture’s programs, not only because it was easily configurable and flexible, but it needed to be adapted to the school’s business goals, outcomes, and key differentiators – and not the other way around. 

PwC started off by doing a deep dive discovery, which included understanding the current staff and resource mix, forecasted growth plans, and business goals. In all, the team spent six weeks in the pre-sales process going through every aspect of the business and its specific needs. 

The team decided on an agile engagement process, in which key outcomes were agreed, with the aim of being flexible around the ‘to-do list’, as long as the key priorities were attended to.

These included:

  • Building a light education-specific pricing model to allow the school to be able to add on additional items, like field trips and additional courses;
  • Using Salesforce as the ‘engagement layer’ with students. This includes a comprehensive timetable, providing access to guardians to see notes about the students, and the ability for guardians to request interventions if necessary;
  • Building in rules around student attendance to enable teachers, mentors and parents/guardians to be proactive in addressing any concerns; 
  • Managing change fatigue in the business, the PwC team worked with Valenture to stagger the onboarding across small iterative deployments to ensure acceptance and uptake; and
  • Automating the entire enrolment process on Valenture’s Learning Management System, and integrating the student management system using industry-leading Salesforce technology. 

Valenture uses Salesforce to manage the student journey from application through to enrollment and into the full cadence of the academic calendar. Salesforce automates parts of the admissions journey and enables the admissions team to focus on removing any hurdles for applicants. Faculty are able to manage students' grades and approve them for release. The student success team is able to have a 360-degree view of their students (academics, cases, growth plans, etc), which supports their more hands-on mentorship. Finally, students are able to self-service across a number of different areas (report issues, download transcripts, view reports, access how to guides, etc).

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Impact/outcome

For PwC and Salesforce, the Valenture engagement has been living proof that Salesforce can provide a powerful platform to drive modern, online education. For Valenture, the future has never been brighter. At a time when educational institutions are under increased pressure to transform both their student and employee experience, the school is now eyeing huge international markets. The future of education is now and is here.

 

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Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook

Partner: Salesforce & Front Office Transformation, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4907

Dilan  Radia

Dilan Radia

Partner I Front Office Transformation leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4668

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