EdCast Launches New Interactive Learning Platform To Bridge Formal And Informal Learning

With an eye toward building what EdCast chief executive Karl Mehta calls “the next big social media company,” his company has launched a new interactive platform with the help of some titans of media, technology and finance.

“We know we are building something that will be worth $20 billion,” says Mehta of his education startup.

The goal, as he sees it, is nothing less than the transformation of learning through a blend of online classes (formal education) with bite-sized tutorials with real practitioners and specialists in certain fields (informal learning).

The new 10 Minute Insight Series, which the company launched today, is a key part of that project, says Mehta.

“There is not a single social media site that’s focused on knowledge networking,” says Mehta. “Everybody needs to learn every day in a social way. We are building knowledge networking.”

The premise behind EdCast has always been that the current educational system is broken. The best classes are only available to the most privileged and hundreds of thousands of would-be inventors and innovators are denied the opportunity to learn, to experiment, and achieve their potential, Mehta says.

The 10 Minute Insight series is free and open to any participants. Once a week, executives, political figures and celebrities make themselves available for an interactive lecture and Q&A with participants through the EdCast site.

So far, Mehta has managed to line up a who’s-who of Silicon Valley talent to pitch in with EdCast’s latest initiative including: Sun Microsystems co0founder Scott McNealy; Tim Draper, from DFJ; Seth Levine from the Foundry Group, Dan Cohen, chief executive of TechStars; MasterCard chief executive Ajay Banga, Vivek Ranadive, owner of the Sacramento Kinds; and blogger Robert Scoble; Arwed Niestroj, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development NA and Michèle Angelique Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.

For EdCast, the new streaming service represents the latest weapon in its educational arsenal. Since it was launched last September with a $6 million investment from SoftBank, EdCast has partnered with hundreds of universities around the world to offer online classes, with a digital streaming component for bite-sized lessons to complement the classroom environment.

Luminaries like Jeffrey Sachs have brought their curricula online and corporations are also turning to the service for their own professional and continuing educational endeavors, says Mehta.

“This has never been done before. No one has brought a series of thought leaders that you can learn from in real time,” says Mehta.