SARA is a startup in the development stage with a fascinating approach for learning and education. An acronym for Snapchat Analytics + Research Agency, this venture was founded by Rehman Ata, a Ryerson Masters graduate in Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Molecular Science, developed SARA as a means to bolster information retention through the use of Snapchat and Instagram.

In education, Rehman has observed that repetition is critical for retention of concepts, but time for review is not always available within a student’s schedule. While acting as a teaching assistant here at Ryerson University, Rehman Ata made use of an unexpected ally to overcome this barrier for his students: social media.

Statistics on social media use indicate that Snapchat use is widespread in young, college-aged adults. With this information, Rehman decided to create short videos that helped explain lab concepts and engage students while giving them extra exposure to material they’d normally only encounter in their lab session. Due to the fact that Snapchat stories are only available for 24 hours, students were effectively reviewing their class lessons within the optimal window for learning retention. The feedback from the class was overwhelmingly positive.  Realizing then that social media can be used as a practical resource for learning, SARA was born as an innovative education tool meant to aid students’ learning through story platforms.

Presently, SARA is working to collect more data to understand the impact videos have on students’ understanding of class materials, and are hoping to expand to other faculties and educational institutions soon. This venture’s home-zone is with iBoost, a zone established by the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, and was once co-zoned with the Science Discovery Zone, both of which are important members of the Zone Learning ecosystem here at Ryerson.

The objective of iBoost is to help lower the risk of starting a technology-based venture for entrepreneurs and students. With access to resources, mentorship and space for collaboration, iBoost is a zone for further developing solutions for customers’ needs through software. If you have a solution that is past the ideation stage that you want to continue to research and develop, you can apply to iBoost here. 


Social media logos and an picture of Rehman Ata