Girish Sharma, a first-generation technology entrepreneur since the beginning of his career, is the founder of VISIONnet, the first in India to launch the CBT’s, which was founded in 1996. In the Year 2018, he founded EduBull, one of the largest e-Learning Platform and Learning App. He has been in the EdTech Industry for over 25 years, and he brings insurmountable experience and leadership to the team.
In the wake of COVID-19 crisis, India is witnessing eLearning boom. All around the world, schools, colleges, educational institutions, are leveraging online learning platforms, thereby continuing the teaching-learning process. This move has changed the concept of education overnight, and digital learning has emerged as an absolutely necessary resource for education.
The great thing is that India is well prepared with the extensive and robust 4G Network and affordable data, in virtually every part of the country. Even more impressive is the smartphone adoption, which further accelerates the adoption of learning infrastructure. The digital technology with easy access to the internet has brought remote learning opportunities, virtual classrooms, and access to high-quality education even in rural and semi-urban locations. In the current scenario, elements such as location, language and financial resources are no longer a barrier to avail excellent education. This is an ideal time for us to experiment and accept technology and make education delivery seamless for learning. Overall, eLearning holds excellent potential for India, and it may change the landscape of education forever.
The concept of eLearning has been around for decades. Over time, the idea and execution of learning using the internet have changed drastically, however, with these changes, certain myths have also developed. First being – online education is an expensive model. On the contrary, online learning is not high-priced at all, it depends on various facets that determine the cost, being the type of degree, certification, and so on. There is in fact far too much of investment required in conventional traditional classes, owing to the amount of its infrastructure, manpower and supplementary costs adjoining the same. Nowadays, even the remotest part of the country has access to smartphones and the internet, making online learning rather affordable.
The second biggest myth is that degrees and certifications obtained via online courses are not credential; however, this notion is far from the truth. In reality, degrees and certification obtained via online learning and offline hold the same value. It varies from institution to institution, and the platform is generally affiliated with them. However, thorough research is something that students need to do at their end, to check for all the accreditation and credentials before registering for a course.
For Schools, utilizing innovative technology shall play a huge role in enabling quality education, which shall be accessible to all. Schools should now start adopting VR and AR technology to evolve from the traditional model and build a robust online infrastructure. Currently, the pace at which people are gaining knowledge has been substantially growing, and so have the needs of students in today’s era. Understanding which, schools need to adapt accordingly. Schools need to invest more in teaching and learning technology and incorporate it, into their day-to-day working, that engages and helps students to better solidify and retain knowledge.
Responding to the Lockdown
Long before the Lockdown, Edubull has set a learning platform with content for every learner and teaching technology for every tutor and educational institution. We have been providing e-learning for schools, test preparation, skill development, and job preparation, with courses that cater from the Age 2 to 70. What stands Edubull apart from the cluster of online education platforms, is that we have a simplified and affordable model starting from Rs. 999/- that has made quality education available to everyone, everywhere.
Today, the sudden shift from classroom learning to e-learning has been quite challenging not just for the educational institutions and teachers but also for parents and students. Balancing the needs of all has been quite a mammoth task. Institutions have been grappling to get a hold of this new mode of learning, starting from conducting live lectures via third-party apps, to uploading study material, and the imperative need of connectivity. To bridge this gap, apart from our existing learning platform, we have also launched ‘E-professor’, an app that enables education institutions to go online seamlessly. The app facilitates both teachers and students with a platform where they can interact, however through the digital medium for further learning.
E-professor technology, the first-ever in India, shall empower Institutes with versatile online learning, administrating, teaching and communication tools. Under the app, teachers and institutions, can upload courses, create virtual classrooms for live teaching, share assignments, collect responses, create exams, and track progress/attendance all on one interface. The app blends learning and Live teaching in HD with an integrated virtual classroom, enabling 2-way video and phone call option, whiteboard teaching, screen sharing, chats as well as lecture recording. Designed with the individual dashboard; admin, teachers, students, parents, each of them having access to tools to moderate and monitor. Amid Covid19 crisis, the e-professor technology aims to simplify and digitize learning. We aim to create an opportunity and a more straightforward way for schools to function online, even post COVID19.
E-learning Trends to Follow
EdTech has always been a source of innovation, enhancing education. During this pandemic, it has put forth advancements that have not only transformed the classroom learning experience but have also changed the way lessons are conducted. AI has played the most fascinating role in enhancing and personalizing education among students. AI is also used in EdTech to automate critical activities such as grading and providing feedback on areas that need improvement. Another innovative technology used by EdTech platforms is cloud computing which has enabled access to high-tech education to all. The anytime-anywhere access to information stored in remote cloud servers of an EdTech platform has made it conceivable for students to experience advanced learning seamlessly. It has been one of the critical aspects of accelerating online learning.
The key trend of e-learning in 2020 would include the need for up-skilling courses with curated and user-generated content, which has been in demand with people learning and working remotely. This shall determine the most effective content that would match the student’s needs efficiently, resulting in positive user engagement and therefore, an optimum outcome. As technology develops, these new trends shall develop, but the pillars around which it will advance would be customized learning, accessibility, engagement, and user-centric learning.
India’s EdTech industry ranks the second largest in the world, and its penetration in the country has further increased due to COVID-19. Owing to this, even the post-COVID landscape, shall gain excellent traction and there will be no looking back for this sector, even if the graph smidges, with educational institutions re-opening. People are now more sensitized to the concept of e-learning, as affordability and a broader scope of quality education are the benefits that come along with it.
Overall, people are now more inclined to online learning. We at Edubull shall be working aggressively towards developing accessible quality education, via our platform along with foraying into working with the educational institutions who intend to go online or develop their own model.
My Advice to the EdTech Companies and Educational Institutions
The future of the EdTech market looks promising and shall be advancing in terms of technology. We do see a lot of new players entering the market, seeing its future. However, only the platforms that can adapt to the changing times and develop feasible solutions, that shall rightfully meet the needs of the evolving learners, will soar through. Traditional learning has somewhere created a constricted environment for students, and they want to explore a rather engaging content that is customized as per their needs. Further to this, technologies such as AI, AR, VR, MR, and use of voice interfaces shall gain immense momentum, thus, creating a space for collaborative learning in the ed-tech market.
Our advice to the emerging startups in this space would be to ‘rightly anticipate the needs of the future’. Ed-tech in India is a vast market which is growing every day; COVID has only accelerated the process of acceptance among people. So, the apt action for the startups would be to not just prepare for the demands of the present, but also to gear up aggressively for that of the future.
India has a dynamic education system, collaborating with new-age technology can be a useful tool to help increase efficiency and engagement among communities. Adoption of right tools would enable enhanced teaching, thereby raising student’s accomplishments. Hence our advice for the educational institutions shall be to digitize themselves, and get a foothold in the tech space sooner rather than later so that they can provide their students with the kind of education that enriches their quality of cognitive as well as vocational capabilities. For technology partnerships, institutions should look at it as an important investment towards their student’s future and not compromise on the quality and expansion in this area, as it has become a necessity in today’s era. (As Told to the Editor)
More About Girish Sharma
A post-graduate from IMT, Ghaziabad, Girish has interests across the key departments of education and Technology sector. He is considered a complete pro when it comes to product development. Over a period, he has identified and developed solutions for more than 2500+ institutions/clients. His vision for ‘Edubull’ is to make learning accessible to everyone, across age groups, at the most prudent prices.
In a short span, his adherence to innovation and driving business strategies has led the brand to be India’s fastest growing EdTech startup. His out-of-the-box ideas, managerial skills, and bullish approach to technology have been significant forces in strengthening the roots of Edubull in the Industry. His motto; “whatever you do, do it with the best of your ability and reach your potential” has thus crafted him into a rare combination of business acumen and a creative mind that inspires success along the way.
Being a true techie, Girish is highly interested in learning new technologies and advises several startups on business growth plans.