MyTopDog and CambriLearn blaze a trail in personalised education

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The age of personalisation is here. From online shopping to person-centered services, we increasingly expect the customer experience to be tailored around our needs. Why, then, should education be any different? While grouping children by age over ability may one day be a thing of the past, digital education platforms MyTopDog and CambriLearn offer a smarter way to learn.

“The traditional school environment doesn’t work for everyone. We offer unique learning paths for every student to enhance their education experience,” said Ryan Swartzberg, Founder of MyTopDog and CambriLearn.

With 3.5 million students, MyTopDog is the biggest education platform in South Africa, and CambriLearn, which caters to the global market, is taking the sector by storm. As the company grows, Salesforce is playing a key role in delivering an industry-leading high-touch experience to teachers, learners, and their parents.

“With Salesforce, we’re levelling the playing field and helping the next generation of students to achieve their full potential.”


A thriving digital school

Founded in 2008 by siblings Claudia and Ryan Swartzberg, MyTopDog offers interactive tests, tutorials, mock exams, and animated lectures for learners from grades 4 to 12 (equivalent to years 5-13 in the UK) to supplement their schooling.

CambriLearn was launched in 2018 to make the British curriculum more accessible to homeschoolers from foundation to A level. The company aims to become a fully digital school offering a range of learning platforms to meet students’ individual needs and requirements.

What started as a disruptor to the education sector is now a fast-growing business and leader in the field. As student numbers swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people started questioning the traditional education model and seeking alternative routes to qualifications.

The platform has also evolved significantly since its inception. Where once students received assignments by email, they now enjoy a digital platform built on Salesforce that combines virtual classrooms with assignments completed online, a community board to engage with their peers, and a separate dashboard for parents to monitor their progress.

“Our journey to Salesforce was an unconventional one. We weren’t really looking to address any particular challenges, but when my friend at CloudSmiths explained what it does I was blown away by how much easier life could be,” recalled Swartzberg.

A high-touch, personalised customer experience

Working with CloudSmiths, the company implemented Sales Cloud to transform the lead pipeline. “We kept things simple initially, then customized the platform more as our business and needs evolved,” added Swartzberg.

With Salesforce, the team has greater visibility of leads and opportunities, which unlocks greater predictability. The platform caters to all types of customers, leveraging automated workflows to give them the same, seamless experience whichever product they use.

The company’s business model relies on a high-touch relationship. Customers receive welcome calls to help them get started on the platform, and regular check-ins from the team, who can proactively offer help and guidance.

If a customer needs to raise a ticket, cases are automatically routed to the most relevant support specialist in Service Cloud, and metrics captured to track SLAs. From a central dashboard, the management team can monitor how many cases are open, why tickets are escalated, status, and ticket type, for example, to get a richer understanding of operations and identify common pain points.

Service Cloud is also integrated with Slack, so agents have a single dashboard with all the relevant information in one place. Customer satisfaction with support services is high, averaging between 4.7-4.8/5.

Comprehensive learning portals

MyTopDog and CambriLearn are both built on Heroku. Each group of users – students, teachers, or parents – have their own portal with a unique login to access their custom dashboard.

Learners can consume content, attend lessons, and interact with each other via the community, while teachers have their own set of tools according to their role in the digital school. Parents can log in to track their child’s progress, monitor attendance, and view feedback on assignments. Events such as assemblies and parents’ evenings are coordinated with AppExchange solution, EventSpark, to ensure they’re executed remotely without a hitch.  “Our feedback is 99% positive, which is why we’re the largest online school in South Africa just three years after launching CambriLearn,” added Swartzberg.

But data isn’t just tracking customer satisfaction, as the platform captures more data the company is getting smarter about understanding the impact of various interventions on learning outcomes.

For example, it can track correlation between engagement with different features and exam performance, identify where a student is underperforming and which aspects they struggle with, and understand ROI to find out the most popular channels or lucrative regions.

“Salesforce is helping us to tie our data together from a pedagogical perspective to make smarter decisions. We’re breaking down the silos between teaching and sales so we can operate more like a school and less like a business,” Swartzberg commented.

With CloudSmiths, Africa’s most experienced Salesforce partner, the company has all the expertise at its fingertips to grow and adapt the platform in line with its future goals.

“Strong partnerships are key to successful digital transformations. CloudSmiths has a thorough understanding of our business and the team is committing to bringing our ambitions to life.”

Ryan Swartzberg

Making high-quality education more accessible

With cutting-edge learning platforms, MyTopDog and CambriLearn can recruit the best teachers from across the world and empower them to work from anywhere. Next, it’s planning to expand the syllabus and add more grades, from early years up to primary school.

But learning doesn’t just rely on the student/teacher relationship, and the company is exploring how to better support parents and educate them on the psychological and social-emotional issues that affect children’s academic development.

By offering more flexible and personal learning from anywhere, Swartzberg is leading the way to promote equality and make high-quality education more accessible, which is an exciting prospect when it comes to shaping the future of work.

“One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to education. With Salesforce, we’re levelling the playing field and helping the next generation to understand and work with their strengths and weaknesses to achieve their full potential,” said Swartzberg.

Next on the company’s roadmap, it plans to implement Tableau CRM to analyse operational data and monitor classroom capacity to ensure teachers can always give individual pupils enough attention. It’s also thinking of rolling out Marketing Cloud to take marketing to the next level.

MyTopDog’s 3.5 million students deserve individual attention. Salesforce and Heroku’s integration and automation makes that possible from anywhere.

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