Interview with Nat Al-Tahhan, Video Game Designer and Creative Director at Shiken

Shiken is an e-learning platform designed to help GCSE and A Level students prepare for STEM subject exams. There is also a range of resources which cater specifically for medical students. We’re constantly developing more content so that as many people as possible can benefit from the app, including postgraduates.

The online platform is based around quizzes and games and powered by AI. Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way, so this makes for a truly personalised experience and produces the best results possible.

But Shiken is so much more than a place to learn. And for us, the most important outcome is that users enjoy the learning experience. That’s why mindfulness sessions and gamified quizzes are equally central to the app.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?


We’ve always believed in the power of tech to enhance education. But now that students are having to contend with school closures and adapt to remote ways of learning, online tools have an even more important role to play.

We wanted to create a platform which enables students to access support even when they can’t be in the classroom and empowers them to fulfil their potential in spite of all the disruptions. We’re equally conscious of the impact which the pandemic is having on students’ mental wellbeing.

Enough pressure is placed on pupils to perform as it is. Add to this the school closures and the question of catching up, and young people of today face a perfect storm for a mental health crisis. Mindfulness techniques have been proven to support mental wellbeing, and they’re an integral part of the platform.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Whether you’re in the business of EdTech or FinTech, designing the next top learning platform or the newest challenger bank, it’s important that you use your unique personal experience to identify a real problem in need of a solution.

The Shiken team is not built of career-entrepreneurs: our backgrounds are in medicine, education and design. But we each have individual skills and knowledge which enables us to bring Shiken to life. In addition, we’ve each worked with young people before, and understand that there is a real need for tailored, combined remote learning and mental health support for this age group.

Ultimately my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to not ‘aspire to be an entrepreneur’, but to aspire to solve a real problem. Use your lived experience of that problem as your guide, and don’t lose sight of your goals as you begin to advance on your entrepreneurial journey.

What can we hope to see from Shiken in the future?

With the impact of the pandemic continuing to disrupt normal school life, we’ll continue to support students with their remote learning and exam preparation. But Shiken isn’t a short-term fix; from now on, students and teachers will increasingly be relying on apps and AI to improve attainment and maintain good mental health.

That’s why we’re adding more content – both educational and mindful – continually, and will soon allow tutors and teachers to create and add their own bespoke quizzes too. The app is already being used by over 4,500 students, but we’ve got a waiting list of over 1000 tutors and 200 schools who we are very excited to welcome on board.

Over the next few months we’re expecting to see a big growth in our community of engaged and self-directed learners, who’ll be leading the way at the new forefront of tech-enabled education.