The story behind Virtual Nerd

In early 2008 an expert tutor and a designer began exploring the use of interconnected instructional videos to help confused math students. Acquired by Pearson in mid 2013, Virtual Nerd's technology and expansive library of instructional content is now available to millions of teachers and students around the world.

About this website

Virtual Nerd was originally developed as a supplemental learning resource for teachers and students, with a focus on middle school and high school mathematics.

Our extensive library of instructional videos is available to you at no charge thanks to the support of Pearson Education.

How it all began

While pursuing his MD/PhD and working as a math and science tutor, Leo Shmuylovich loved being able to help students master topics which had previously caused them confusion and frustration. But he found himself unable to keep up with demand for his assistance—he simply did not have enough time to work with all the students who needed his help.

Leo thought he might be able to help more students if he recorded video explanations of common trouble topics and shared them online.

In the Spring of 2008, Leo shared this idea with his friend Josh Salcman, a designer and design strategist. They quickly realized they had an opportunity to break new ground, and Virtual Nerd was born.

Guiding principles

Early in their conversations, Leo and Josh reached agreement on a few key points which would come to define Virtual Nerd's instructional platform and content library:

  • Learning is not a linear process, so we must support non-linear exploration.
  • Students are often unable to identify the source of their confusion, so we must help them find what they need without forcing them to know what it is ahead of time.
  • A solid foundation is critical for progression to more advanced topics, and when students find themselves struggling, it's often due to weakness in underlying concepts, so we must provide immediate and direct access to pre-requisite topics.
  • Quality matters in every aspect of every experience, so we must not cut corners.
  • When students are confused, they need to be able to focus on resolving their confusion, so we must not distract them with extraneous stimuli or with too much esthetic variation.

About Pearson

Pearson is the world's leading education company. From pre-school to high school, early learning to professional certification, Pearson's curriculum materials, multimedia learning tools and testing programmes help to educate millions of people worldwide - more than any other private enterprise.