Khan Academy

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Khan Academy
KhanAcademy logo.png
Khan Academy logo.svg
Motto A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.[1]
Founded October 2006; 10 years ago (2006-10)
Founder Salman Khan
Type Non-profit organization
Services E-learning, Education
Official languages
English, 4 official website translations, ~20,000 closed-captioned videos[2][3]
Owner Salman Khan
(founder and Executive Director)
Key people
Salman Khan (CEO)
Affiliations SAT,[4][5] Pixar
15.795 million USD (2012)
Expenses 19.119 million USD (2014)
105 (November 6, 2016)

Khan Academy is a non-profit[6] educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan with a goal of creating an accessible place for people to be educated.[7] The organization produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos.[8] Its website also includes supplementary practice exercises and tools for educators. All resources are available to users of the website. The website and its content are provided mainly in English, but are also available in other languages like Bengali, Hindi and Spanish.


The organization started in 2004 when Sal Khan tutored one of his cousins on the Internet using a service called Yahoo Doodle Images. After a while, Khan's other cousins began to use his tutoring service. Because of the demand, Khan decided to make his videos watchable on the Internet, so he published his content on YouTube.[9] Later, he used a drawing application called SmoothDraw, and now uses a Wacom tablet to draw using ArtRage. Tutorials are recorded on the computer.[10]

The positive responses of students prompted Khan to quit his job in 2009, and focus on the tutorials (Then released under the moniker "Khan Academy") full-time.[11] Khan Lab School, a school founded by Salman Khan and associated with Khan Academy, opened on September 15, 2014 in Mountain View, California.[12]


Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, mostly funded by donations coming from philanthropic organizations.[13] In 2010, Google donated $2 million for creating new courses and translating content into other languages, as part of their Project 10100.[14] program. In 2013, Carlos Slim from the Carlos Slim Foundation in Mexico made a donation for creating Spanish versions of videos.[15] In 2015, AT&T contributed $2.25 million to Khan Academy for mobile versions of the content accessible through apps.[16]

According to Khan Academy's filings with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Salman Khan has received over $350,000 in annual compensation from Khan Academy since 2011. In 2015 it was raised to $556,000. In 2013, President and COO Shantanu Sinha also received over $350,000 in compensation.[17]


Khan Academy's website ( is a wrapper for videos which are hosted on YouTube. The website is meant to be used as a supplement to its videos, because it includes other features such as progress tracking, practice exercises,[18] and teaching tools.[19] The material can also be accessed through mobile applications.[20]

The videos show a recording of drawings on an electronic blackboard, which are similar to the style of a teacher gives a lecture. The narrator describes each drawing and how they relate to the material being taught.[21][22] Nonprofit groups have distributed offline versions of the videos to rural areas in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.[23][24][25]


Khan Academy has been criticized because Salman Khan does not have a background in pedagogy.[26][27] Statements made in some videos have also been questioned.[28] In response to these criticisms, the organization has fixed errors in its videos, expanded its faculty and built a network of content specialists.[28] Others have presented data showing Khan videos are less effective than those of other publishers and that the concept of chalk on a blackboard is less engaging for students than other styles of video, such as cartoons.[29]

In an interview from January 2016, Khan defended the value of Khan Academy online lectures while acknowledging their limitations: "I think they're valuable, but I'd never say they somehow constitute a complete education."[12]


Khan Academy has gained recognition both nationally and internationally:

  • Bill Gates spoke about Khan Academy at the Aspen Ideas festival.[30]
  • In 2010, Google's Project 10100 provided $2 million to support the creation of more courses, to allow for translation of the Khan Academy's content, and to allow for the hiring of additional staff.[31]
  • In November 2011, the Khan Academy received a $5 million grant from the Ireland-based O'Sullivan Foundation.[32]
  • In April 2012, the founder and executive director of Khan Academy, Salman Khan, was listed among the Time 100 Most Influential People for 2012.[33]
  • In 2013, the Mexico-based Carlos Slim Foundation made a donation to Khan Academy to expand its Spanish library of videos.[15]
  • Khan was one of five winners of the 2014 Heinz Award. His award was in the area of "Human Condition." [34]
  • In July 2014, the U.S. Department of Education launched a $2.2 million randomized-control trial to gauge the effectiveness of Khan Academy.[35] The trial will focus on mathematics and took place during the 2015–2016 school year.[36]
  • In June 2015, the SAT and the College Board partnered with Khan Academy for creating content specific to preparing for the SAT standardized test. The College Board's goal, in preparation for the New SAT, was to make SAT resources more affordable and to have more people plan to go to college.[4][5]
  • In August 2015, Khan Academy partnered with Disney & Pixar Animation Studios to launch Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy. The goal is to show how academic concepts students learn in school are used to solve creative challenges in the making of Pixar films.[37]


  1. ^ "About". Khan Academy. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  2. ^ "Khan Academy International". Khan Academy International. Khan Academy. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Is Khan Academy available in other languages?". Khan Academy Help Center. Khan Academy. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Tanz, Jason. "Can Khan Academy's Free SAT Prep Level the Playing Field?". WIRED. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Official SAT® Practice". Khan Academy. Khan Academy. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Nonprofit Explorer - ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  7. ^ "One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  8. ^ Sampson, Demetrios G.; Ifenthaler, Dirk; Spector, J. Michael; Isaias, Pedro (2014-07-17). Digital Systems for Open Access to Formal and Informal Learning. Springer. ISBN 9783319022642. 
  9. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (2014-01-27). "Salman Khan Turned Family Tutoring Into Khan Academy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  10. ^ Khan Academy: The future of education?. 60 Minutes. CBS News. March 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ Temple, James (2009-12-14). "Salman Khan, math master of the Internet". SF gate. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  12. ^ a b "'A Bit Of A Montessori 2.0': Khan Academy Opens A Lab School". Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  13. ^ "The Funders Pouring Money Into the Khan Academy - Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence - Inside Philanthropy". Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  14. ^ "$10 million for Project 10^100 winners". The Official Google Blog. 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  15. ^ a b "Mexico's Carlos Slim funds Khan academy in Spanish". Marketplace. 
  16. ^ "AT&T Awards $2.25 Million for Mobile Learning Platform". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  17. ^ "Nonprofit Explorer - KHAN ACADEMY INC - ProPublica'". ProPublica. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Khan Academy". PCMAG. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  19. ^ "How Are Teachers and Students Using Khan Academy?". MindShift. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  20. ^ "Khan Academy for ipad review". theappzine. 
  21. ^ Kaplan, David A. (2010-08-24). "Innovation in Education: Bill Gates' favorite teacher". CNN Money. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  22. ^ "Need a tutor? YouTube videos await". USA Today. AP. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  23. ^ "A free world-class education for anyone anywhere". About (FAQ). Khan academy. 
  24. ^ "Laureate: Salman Khan". Education Award. The Tech Awards. 2009. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  25. ^ "Salman Khan". CNBC. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  26. ^ Christopher Danielson; Michael Paul Goldenberg (2012-07-27). "How well does Khan Academy teach?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  27. ^ Strauss, Valerie (2012-07-27). "Does the Khan Academy know how to teach?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  28. ^ a b Strauss, Valerie (2013-10-22). "Khan Academy using contractors to check Web site's videos". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  29. ^ Schaffhauser, Dian (23 September 2015). "OpenEd Assesses 'Most Effective' Online Learning Resources". THE Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  30. ^ Thompson, Clive (15 July 2011). "How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education". Wired. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  31. ^ "Project 10100 Winners". Project 10100. Google. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  32. ^ "The O'Sullivan Foundation Grants $5M To Online Learning Platform Khan Academy". Tech crunch. November 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ Special, Time .
  34. ^ "The Heinz Awards: Salman Khan". The Heinz Awards. 
  35. ^ "Khan Academy To Be Subject of Ed. Department Evaluation". Education Week. July 14, 2014. 
  36. ^ Kao,Yvonne – Schneider, Steve. "Khan Academy Resources for Maximizing Mathematics Achievement: A Postsecondary Mathematics Efficacy Study". Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 2014-11-17. 
  37. ^ "Pixar in a Box". 

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