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Leaders of Evolution

Leaders of Evolution is working with professional sports clubs including the Gold Coast Suns

Leaders of Evolution scores high distinctions in global education technology

Marshall Hall | April 2021

Fast-growing education technology business Leaders of Evolution is surging as the world embraces the online learning revolution.

Less than five years after its launch, Gold Coast based EdTech firm Leaders of Evolution is now engaging with more than 10,000 students across 400 schools globally and the company has set its sights on servicing the needs of 100,000 students in 2500 schools by 2025.

And while the global COVID-19 crisis forced schools and other educational institutions to temporarily shut their doors, the pandemic was opening doors for Leaders of Evolution.

Co-founder Jon Shepherd said the increase demand for remote learning that was created by the pandemic, fuelled subscriber growth globally for the company’s digital courses.

The organisation focuses on providing short courses delivered to the education sector for 10 to 18-year-old students and elite sporting organisations in Australia and abroad.

The company designs and delivers e-learning courses focusing on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches, and the wider community.

“E-learning is not a new thing,’’ says Shepherd. “It has been rapidly growing, recording 10.9 per cent compound growth annually even before COVID-19 hit.

“However, what separates us from other learning management systems is that we really understand our niche.

“We are an education technology company, but for us it is the education that always comes first.”

Shepherd says Leaders of Evolution’s courses focus on future skills including resilience, essential skills in the workplace, ability to adapt to new technologies and conflict resolution.

“The reality is that 65 per cent of children in primary school will end up in jobs that do not exist now and we need to equip these students with the skills necessary to adapt to the fast changing world and the future market place for employment.’’ 

Co-founder Jon Shepherd

“Life, leadership and workforce skills are the next frontier in education worldwide.”

Shepherd, who grew up in the New South Wales town of Casino, is a former National Collegiate Athletic Association student athlete and studied sports management and a Masters in Business Administration in the US College system.

After returning to Australia, Shepherd played basketball at professional and semi-professional levels before gaining a position at the Australian Sports Commission, training coaches.

It was there at the Australian Sports Commission that he met business partner and co-founder Damian Hecker.

“We were at Australian Sports Commission, training coaches and doing what everybody does, clicking through Powerpoints while talking to students,’’ Shepherd says.

“We wanted more engagement from the students, to create more fun and we wanted to stop the ‘Death by Powerpoint’ style of teaching.

“One day we decided ‘we can do this better’, so we did something about it.”

After less than five years in operation the company is certainly finding great success in the education technology sector. As well as schools, the company’s programs are now being used by not-for-profit organisations and professional sporting teams.

In Australia, Leaders of Evolution products are being used by AFL clubs Essendon Football Club and the Gold Coast SUNS, NBL side South Melbourne Phoenix and Special Olympics Australia.

Internationally the learning management system is now being embraced by National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) institutions.

“I am passionate about this business because I personally believe that in empowering educators by providing them with our products we can deliver positive results in areas like leadership, life skills and accountability to students from all backgrounds globally,’’ says Shepherd.

“Students receive a very engaging, blended learning experience that combines theories with practical experience across all platforms while teachers receive professional development training and valuable support.”

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