Uday Shankar, CEO, Buddi.life

According to UNESCO reports, close to 320 million students in India have been affected due to COVID-19 lockdowns, as schools and colleges have been closed since the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to make a significant impact on education systems worldwide. However, it has opened up new opportunities for EdTech companies to evolve and adapt to the new normal. Buddi.life is one such company that took mobile technology, video conference, and the messaging system to the next level and rescued teachers and schools. Buddi.life understood the need and importance of having an excellent platform to impart education and had all the ingredients to help educators throughout the country.

The founders of Buddi.life are accomplished professionals from the field of education and have direct involvement in delivering AI-based remote learning solutions to over 9000 schools. After adequately understanding the gaps in technology, learning methodology, and content, they acted quickly to comprehend the flaws in the system. They came up with a platform that uses AI and machine learning algorithms to create unique courses, making learning personalized and adaptive to bring predictability to results. Today, Buddi.life plans to offer the service across the globe and reduce this digital divide as much as possible. “Buddi.life platform and its concept of teaching are getting very good responses from the students. The concept and market have been tested, and we are looking for the next phase of growth which is the scale,” says Uday Shankar, CEO, Buddi.life. Launched in 2020, Buddi.life has been getting good traction and validation among educators and students. It has positioned itself for a stronger 3-4 times growth in the next few years.

With the right ingredients

Buddi.life delivery methodology is primary through video conference or live classes with students, allowing teachers to interact and provide feedback on a real-time basis and clear the doubts immediately. “Teachers can use various teaching aids like animated videos, smart content, video classes, feedback test to challenge the students and make sure they understand the concept well. Feedback happens on both sides to get validation of teachers and students and build a personalized dashboard,” explains Uday. 

At Buddi.life, content is created by teachers and approved by a special content approval team. “We provide four levels of content; 1 being the entry and 4 being the highest and most difficult for each category. This provides a challenging journey for the student to climb up the level ladder to achieve the best academic results,” Uday shares. Besides, the company has been very particular while selecting its employees. They not only look for skills and proficiency but also assess each candidate on their attitude towards finding the right passion for making a difference in the educational space.  “As the company grows, so do the employees in terms of responsibilities and rewards in various forms like stock options,” adds Uday.

Mitigating the Challenges

Although online classes have proved to be a saving grace for students and teachers alike, Uday points out a few challenges. “A few open and well-known problems include lack of social interaction for the students with others, digital fatigue students undergo watching the mobile or laptop for a long time, adapting to a new way of teaching and interaction, harassment in a few cases and lack of mobile and other infrastructure in lower-middle-class families, slow mobile connection in the interior part of the country,” he mentions. At Buddi.life, these concerns are kept in mind, as they understand the need for a different and innovative approach to solve and deliver the teaching.  Thus, the company has introduced Micro Learning, a concept that allows students to learn small facts without enrolling for an entire course. It helps the learners to have a unique advantage both in terms of cost and learnability. 

In this regard, Buddi.life has around 50 courses for school students with modules in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, English, Programming skills and many more. As the engagement increased, they also added courses including Programming languages like Java, .net, Foreign Languages, Personal Development techniques, Leadership development, Productivity tools, hobbies, etc., to include students from all walks of life and interest. “We strongly believe these new courses will add to a positive response and feedback from the students,” says Uday. Using their Micro Learning technique, Buddi.life appeals to the new-gen kids by relying on marketing strategies on social media and other online platforms. 

“The new generation is very digital savvy, and the acceptance of a new tool to the platform depends on how well it cater to the interest of the new-gen kids. Reviews play a vital role as many kids reply on the peer’s feedback in selecting these platforms,” shares Uday. Reviewing their content and constantly keeping in touch with the trends helps the company stay relevant and deliver. Uday opines, “Online learning and exposure should be a planned and measured process in all school curriculum. Schools should start moving to personalized teaching and measurement systems to get the best in every child. AI and ML will play a larger role in implementing these systems in schools.”

In populous and large countries like India and China, finding the proper resources can be challenging. Especially in education amid a pandemic, having access to a mobile or laptop and Internet connectivity can be a problem. In these hard times, Buddi.life believes that the system should cater to the lowest common denominator and deliver the content and service, even if the speed of the internet is slow. “The system should integrate already popular channels like Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp to deliver the content and service. This helps more students get connected and benefit from,” adds Uday.

Buddi.life team is very positive over the next 12 months, as they are making many features and expansion plans. New concepts like Round Table and Study Hall are under development to deliver the service to a larger number of audiences. More courses are also expected to be added at a very cost-effective price to make learning affordable and accessible to all. “We believe a poor or economically backward student should not lose out in learning. It should be affordable and available to a large sector of people,” concludes Uday. 

About Uday Shankar, CEO, Buddi.life

Uday is a Technology Entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in software, hardware and IoT. Held senior leadership positions in CSC/ Xchanging, Infosys, Capgemini / Kanbay. He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science and Indian School of Business. He has built startups in the USA and India and successfully exited them.

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