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In 2002, Khan was a summertime intern at PARC. From 2003 to late 2009, he worked as a hedge fund analyst at Connective Capital Management.
In 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin, Nadia, in mathematics over the internet using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutoring, he moved his tutorials to YouTube, where he created an account on November 16, 2006.
The popularity of his educational videos on the video-sharing website prompted Khan to quit his job as a financial analyst in late 2009. He moved his focus to developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, full-time with the aid of close friend Josh Gefner. Khan subsequently received sponsorship from Ann Doerr, the wife of John Doerr.
His videos received worldwide interest from both students and non-students, with more than 458 million views in the first number of years.
Khan outlined his mission as to "accelerate learning for students of all ages. With this in mind, we want to share our content with whoever may find it useful." Khan plans to extend the "free school" to cover topics such as English literature.
Khan published a book about Khan Academy and education goals titled The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.
Khan Academy, initially a tool for students, added the Coach feature in 2012, promoting the connection of teachers with students through videos and monitor tools. In 2012, Khan received the American Academy of Achievement’s Gold Medal. In 2014, Khan received the 19th Annual Heinz Award in the Human Condition category.
In 2015, Khan announced that Khan Academy was partnering with the College Board to create free practice resources for the SAT test.
As of June 2022, Khan Academy's videos on YouTube had been viewed over 1.9 billion times.
Khan believes that supplementing traditional classroom education with the technology being developed by his Academy can improve the effectiveness of teachers by freeing them from traditional lectures and giving them more time for instruction specific to individual students' needs.
Stanford AI researcher Andrew Ng has named Khan as a huge inspiration for the founding of Coursera, one of the first massive open online course (MOOC) platforms.
In early 2020 during the COVID-19 epidemic, Khan launched Schoolhouse: a free non-profit initiative to provide small-group tutoring for students across the world through Zoom meetings.
Schoolhouse certifications, developed in partnership with the University of Chicago, test students’ mastery of subjects and certify their knowledge. MIT and Case Western Reserve University have since signed on.