Vidyartha: India is 2nd Largest Market for E-Learning After US
India is the second largest market for e-learning in the world after US, and the total amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector in India has been of US$ 1,256 million from April 2000 to March 2016
Indians realize the importance of education a lot and stress on innovative & interactive education methods of learning as well. Post 2010, India has seen a boom in the Ed-tech startup category. One such name is 'Vidyartha'. Have a quick read to know in-depth the story of beginning such a startup.
BWDisrupt explores the journey of Vidyartha's Co-founders Priya Mohan & Navin Balan, who are based out of Bangalore as of now.
Initiated in March 2011 by Priya Mohan and Navin Balan, Vidyartha, a first-of-its-kind data-driven learning guidance platform for students between Grades 8th to 12th, has successfully helped over 2,50,000 students and collaborated with more than 3,000 schools to develop personalized learning paths for students.
The problem that Vidyartha has identified in our education system is the glaring gap between the areas of students’ interest and the education stream they finally opt for. Schools, teachers and parents take only a student’s report card into consideration to determine his or her potential while factors like long-term interest, aptitude and subject-wise impact are widely ignored.
This is the problem that the platform is thriving to solve through its use of data. The uniqueness of Vidyartha lies in its in-depth data led profiling of students on the basis psychometric tests, aptitude tests, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and academic scores to completely determine where a child’s true potential lies. Vidyartha believes that without the use of data, which is the case of other ed tech players in the market, learning guidance and measurability of aptitude is limited to mere opinions and presumptions.
Founders Navin Balan and Priya Mohan, who bring in the expertise of over 15 years in online product development and startup finance advisory respectively, both believed in the power data and technology has to bring about a change in how schools, parents and students perceive education.
Priya, a Chartered Accountant and Investment Banker prior to Vidyartha, was quite passionate about the field of education since her early years at work. She strongly believes that if she had the opportunity to realize her interests at an earlier age, she would have mindfully done more in addressing the gap areas that would have helped to maximize potential. She had the intent to bring about new ways of delivering learning guidance and help students realize their potential through customized learning plans.
Navin, on the other hand, whose entrepreneurial journey began much before Vidyartha with a venture that provided enterprise solutions in Consumer Internet space, always felt the need for change in the classroom set up of education. He did not approve of one teaching method being used over a class of 40 different types of learners. Navin believed that every student has a different learning type and teaching could be truly customized basis those learning types. While in their jobs, an ample time was devoted by Priya and Navin in research and groundwork to prepare for Vidyartha. This involved understanding the market, identifying the gap in education systems at schools, people’s willingness to pay, competition, capital requirement and much more. Only after a thorough research did the two take the venture forward.
Vidyartha’s offering is both for individual students and in partner with schools. The process of Vidyartha’s guidance program involves following three steps:
● Identify: Help schools identify each student’s unique profile, preferred learning styles based on interests, academic scores, aptitudes and abilities.
● Evaluate: Evaluate students’ standing among their peers within the school, region and nation.
● Excel: Use this information to provide customized learning guidance to students’, and help them excel by preparing their unique learning path.
The unique learning story and a personalized learning plan (PLP) developed for each student with long term goals broken down to short term targets, includes the following features:
● Interest profiling
● Personality profiling
● General & subject specific aptitude strengths & weaknesses
● Interest to capability match
● Subject wise focus areas based on long term goals & targets
● Learning gaps between school performance & conceptual application
● Competitive benchmarking - Where they stand among their peers within the school, across the region and country wide
● Subject combinations recommended post Class 10 for students in Grades 8,9 & 10
● Personalized course recommendation for students in Grades 11 & 12
With personal coaches to take the students through it all from Class 8 to 12, they get to enjoy the journey to a successful tomorrow.
Vidyartha’s in-school offerings include:
● Continuous assessments & analysis for students story boarded class wise
● Live Vidyartha dashboard account log in for each student
● A collection of e-books and expert interviews from various industries
● A personal learning coach to work with the students
● One on one Career counselling – assisting parents and teachers
● Unique school dashboards showing class wise trends & suggested student wise interventions; subject wise for teachers
Vidyartha’s monetization is through its offering both to individuals and schools. For individuals, the platform works on an annual subscription of just Rs. 100, it offers various pay as you use services that are specifically curated for each student depending on this learning profile – this includes detailed counseling, curricular content solutions, skill development solutions etc. To provide these curated solutions, Vidyartha has partnered with many solution providers. Simultaneously, some of the best schools across India from cities like Dehradun, Guwahati, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai, have partnered with Vidyartha to use its unique guidance solutions, insights and recommendations for their students.
In the beginning, the venture was bootstrapped from Navin and Priya’s personal funds and raised an undisclosed amount of funding from an angel investor in 2015. Vidyartha was recently acquired by Chan-Zuckerberg backed learning platform Byju’s. Vidyartha will continue to operate as a separate entity ahead of the Byju's acquisition. The two ventures will work in synergy and compliment each other.
The acquisition is helping Vidyartha to scale up and focus more on customer acquisition, delivery and product enhancement. Over the next six months, Vidyartha aspires to reach a number of 1 million students on its platform. It is focused on partnering with schools across cities of Chennai & parts of Tamil Nadu, Bangalore, Delhi/NCR, and Mumbai, and expand its operations overseas, being already present in the Middle East. Vidyartha is also looking to engage more with the student network through mobile.
Education sector in India is currently witnessing an up tide – India is the second largest market for e-learning in the world after US, and the total amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector in India has been of US$ 1,256 million from April 2000 to March 2016. With constantly changing trends in educations, Vidyartha believes that education scenario in India is headed to micro-learning solutions, where students should be able to pick and choose just what they need and not be forced to buy an entire package. A student, who is looking for help with Physics, could be of two kinds – a) the one who would like to pursue engineering later or b) someone who wants to get through with the subject only till Grade 10 – the approach for these two students would be completely different and this is exactly where Vidyartha would make a difference through its deep profiling.
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