Do you think Online live tuition is the next big thing?

Img2Kota, an otherwise dull town in Rajasthan, is best known for two things – JEE coaching and the high suicide rate of youngsters studying in the coaching institutes there. But that’s set to change. The Government of India is encouraging technology in all the fields, including education. With the rising of EdTech in India, we are sure it will cater to students who need the extra push, rather than have them submit to the coaching factories of Kota, which have become notoriously synonymous with the suicide rates of IIT aspirants.

Live online tuitions are the easiest solution to the menace created by the tuition and coaching industry in India over the time, which requires children as young as 11 to travel hours to attend lectures that are supposedly JEE focussed. Is it imperative that students take such coaching at all in the first place? That’s not easy to answer. But is it possible to reduce the burden created by the brick-and-mortar institutes? Absolutely yes! Digitization of the learning process is possibly the biggest leap in the education sector, and likewise, it is so in the unorganized Indian tuition sphere as well. Students can opt for live online tuitions rather than travel great distances. Also, the biggest advantage with such a service is of customizing the tutoring as per the needs of the student. During a live online tuition, a teacher interacts with a student real time and can see the facial expressions as in any offline class. The teacher can easily depict if the student is following what he/she is being taught and can change the teaching methodology accordingly.

At present, the industry is very limited in its scale in the market. Also, there is a whole lot of behavioral change required in the area from both parents’ and students’ side. Firstly, parents prefer the tried and tested methods of extra classes. Parents are the last ones to even try something remotely seeming to be a new concept in the market as they think it would be risking their child’s ‘career’ (assuming that cracking an exam builds a career, an idea that’s questionable). Also, students themselves might lack confidence, as is the case with anyone who veers off the beaten track!

Secondly, and significantly, parents believe online tuitions and the distracting online social media will be tough to keep separate for a student enrolled in such a class. Facebook, Quora, YouTube, etc., are huge distractions that interfere in any student’s productive good day. As most of the parents are themselves guilty of logging into Facebook ‘only for two minutes’, after which they end up spending close to two hours on it. No wonder they’ll think such an environment is toxic for serious studies. But, it is also true that there are N number of apps available for students that can help in blocking such websites during their study time. It’s not impossible, and such restraint is also built-in features in some online tuitions provider platforms, such as Vedantu.

Thirdly, parents believe that personal touch only comes when the teacher is teaching face-to-face and this will be absent in online education. Live online tuitions are here to change this perception. As we said before, a live online tuition happens between a tutor and a student real time and although the teacher is sitting miles away from the student, but teaches the student as he/she is sitting right next to him/her. Studies show that a student is at more ease in interacting with an online tutor than the teacher face-to-face. And, online classes can be more flexible in terms of time & schedule.

Last and most importantly, the lack of peer pressure might deter students from staying at home and preparing. This is especially so for students who ‘drop’ a year to prepare for exams. But even this can be countered. Students will have enough peer pressure in school after all! And in the case of students who drop a year, they can actually have a study group on online tuition portals where they find like-minded students who are preparing for similar examinations and can collaborate often to learn from each other, compare assessment scores and exchange notes. Do you still think this is a deal breaker?

How does an online tuition change the student-teacher dynamic? The lack of face-to-face rather the physical interaction between students and teachers is still a challenge that needs to be addressed by online tutoring platforms. Still, teachers are slowly and gradually moving towards this new form of technology-enabled teaching where they stand to gain more. In term of time saved and of course in monetary terms, as the platforms offering online tutoring services have little expenditure in comparison to their conventional counterparts (electricity bill, classroom rent, etc.).

As per Vineet Arya, CMO of Vedantu, “live online tutoring will prove pivotal in organizing the tuition market and I can clearly see more and more players entering the segment soon”

All said and done, the online tuition phenomena is here to stay. It will! Maybe in the initial period, be a supplement to the conventional tuition classes/institutions (because we know that our parents prefer to be super secure). In the long term though, we envision online tuition to be becoming mainstream in the tuition market.

Don’t forget to share your views in the comment section below.

 


Content Sharing Reimagined @ Vedantu

Learning is a lifelong process. For most of us who believe in formal schooling and supplementary education, learning can never be completed without assessment. For enabling great learning, periodic assessment  is equally important. If we can pinpoint to the strong and weak areas of a student, customizing a study plan to suit his/her needs becomes much easier. We at Vedantu, strongly believe in solving everyday problems for learners and teachers and thus, we created our own Learning Management System (LMS) recently.

It has been 2 months since we launched our LMS (Learning Management System) and it has been an amazing ride to see the product being used in unique ways by our teachers and students.

Why we built the LMS? In our user research, there were few Key problem areas that we identified with Content Sharing and Tests/Assignments:

  • Content Creation – Teachers did not have any easy tool to create  personalized content (tests, assignments, notes) and share with the student on Vedantu
  • Content Sharing – Teachers could not share tailored content as per the requirements of the student and the topics taught, which resulted in students  not receiving enough tests, assignments to practice on time.
  • Content Consumption Interface – Test/Assignment sharing, attempt and evaluation interfaces were not intuitive and had very few options that led to offline sharing and submissions with no tracking.
  • No Tracking and Reports – Students and teachers did not have the progress tracking and reports at one place.

Tests and assessments play an important role in the entire learning cycle for a school student. Assessments inspire teachers to ask these important questions:

  •  Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?
  • Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?
  • Is there a better way to teach the subject, thereby encouraging better learning?

Hence, we came up with the following solutions to address the problems and concerns:

  • Completely new LMS for teachers – Teachers can now create their own personalized tests/assignments/notes to suit the learning needs of their students. Teachers can unleash their creativity and create interesting tests and assignments for students.
  • All Types of Tests/Notes – Students shall now get objective, subjective and mixed tests along with Assignments and study material from their teachers for practice
  • Easy interface for the attempt – Students can now easily attempt tests/assignments from desktop or mobile. Students can type answers, take a photo of the written answers, add attachments, record audio or video answers. This helps students in reinforcing the concepts they have learned and also help them in gauging their learning.

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  • Track Progress – Students can now attempt and track all their tests/assignments/notes from a single page. Now they can view the report of each test and assignment attempted, anytime!

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Now that we have our awesome teachers using our LMS for more than 2 months, we have some great practical stories to share…

4777426902056960 “LMS was something I always wanted as I was not really happy with the kind of ready-made tests we had before. I wanted to create my own tests. Initially, it took a little time to understand the process but now I am very comfortable. 

Tests and assignments are integral part of teaching – learning process. With subjective test, I am able to check the student’s’ ability to comprehend whereas objective tests are the best way to test learning outcome in a quick, time-saving manner. Auto evaluation of objectives is such a boon that combination of objective and subjective test helps me to handle assessment of a number of students at once.” –  Sweta Rai

Bhavdeep “I have used LMS enough to be able to use it in a very effective manner. I am very comfortable with it now.

During a class, I set the expectation to complete a test by the coming weekend. Weekends being a little light, are the best time that they can attempt the test with full enthusiasm. Even though I set the expectation to finish a test by the coming weekend, I set expiry date to at least 2 weeks. Due to unforeseen circumstances (school load, sick, travel, guests etc), a student might not be able to get time to finish test on time. I don’t want them to complete it just for the sake of it. If they can’t finish it by the weekend, they can finish it later.

Student reaction is positive. Many students and parents remind me if I fail to provide a test on time. Attempt ratio is very high. Its not 100% because there are students who are taking class for casual learning right now and want to take serious classes later (eg. one student based in Toronto paid for OTF, never attends it, gets the video and watches later. He has plans for serious Physics studies starting in a month).

In case of OTF, it also helps me gauge myself. If a few students in a batch have performed poor, then I have to improve them. But, if most of them have performed poor, then I need to improve myself. I did a poor job in explaining the concept to the class.LMS helps me gauge the level to which a student has understood a concept.I can then plan to either revise the concept with student or move on to the next one.

I do see a few shortcomings and have suggested a few enhancements. If they are implemented, my productivity would increase. But the current product, as it stands now, is a good tool in itself.” – Bhavdeep Sethi

Santoshi “LMS is very comfortable for me as I can prepare my own question paper and assignments for my students depending on their individual capability. I am having freedom to choose questions for designing a question paper which consists of all type of questions varying from easy to difficult. I am including reasoning type questions, concept based questions and HOTS questions.

Students are very eager to take test as they want to evaluate themselves. Most of the students attempt shared tests and assignments within 12 hrs, this shows their willingness in taking test.

Evaluation is very easy, in case of MCQ, True/False, Match their is an auto evaluation option, and also I can add a comment for wrong and correct answers, because of this student will get to know their mistake once they finish their test.

I share a test with my students after every topic completion.  From their test results, I get to know how clear are they with the concept and what topics they are facing difficulties with. I discuss the difficult topics in my next session and clear students’ doubts. This makes the student and teacher self satisfied. Student will be very confident in taking test at their schools.” – Santoshi Gururajan

manisha “Prior to this tool, it was difficult to send tests, assignments, notes and similar tasks through mails or phone. It was equally difficult to keep the track of them.This process has become relatively convenient and easier now. This tool is very simple and easy to use. Though there is one time effort to create tests and assignments but once we create them, we can use the same with many students that s reduces my workload by leaps and bounds. Students are also very enthusiastic and zealous to learn via this tool. Though the attempt ratio is little less, but I must say it is increasing day by day.

Moreover, interesting fact is that students are asking me to share the homework without fail. This tool is really helping me a lot to set the goals for my students. They can see their grades and they can improve their grades by keeping track of their marks.” – Manisha Bhala


Take up a sport and be a sport!

Sportsmanship is an expression of seeking to excel. We all have been through the phase in school when our Physical Education Teacher told us that we must also focus on sports, apart from studies. But how many of us took him seriously? By not paying attention to such advice, today our adults suffer illnesses that they could have summarily avoided otherwise. Not to worry. We can salvage the situation. Let us pledge to do so.

In this post, we will examine the benefits of taking up a sport more closely. We hope this encourages you to put on your shoes and pull up your socks. Like, literally.

 

Sports teaches you to strive to be excellent, and not just the best

When one plays a sport, the initial goal is to beat the opponent. But eventually, the only worthy desire is to improve upon one’s own game. For instance, an Olympic swimmer would have competed fiercely with his childhood nemesis in the swimming heats, but as an Olympian, his goal is to improve upon his swimming itself, to break records, etc. This yearning for being excellent is a direct manifestation of the hard work and positive frame of mind that sports inculcated in us.

Sports teaches you how to lose gracefully

Life is not a bed of roses. The ability to walk through the bed of painful thorns that life throws up is, in part, derived from the tenacity that sportsmanship gives you. To lose gracefully is something that we need to pick up early in our childhood. Everyone loses, but to sulk over it is not something that a sportsman will do. True sportsmen learn from their mistakes and work to correct it. True sportsmen become stronger every time they fall.

Sports makes you a better team player

When one is a good team player, one is a cog in the wheel, and that’s what gets the wheel rotating, and the momentum going. Being a good team-mate is quintessential to being a good participant in a sport. Sometimes, even very talented sportspeople have been benched (not allowed to play), in Favour of a mediocre player who is a better team player. Thus, being a good sportsperson also makes you a great teammate. It helps you build relationships better, be it with your fellow teammates or even people in general.

Sports helps you become a better leader

Some notable examples of exemplary leaders among sportsmen are Rahul Dravid, Prakash Padukone, Anil Kumble, Bjorn Borg, and many more, who have done well at and outside their sports too. This is an exemplary quality in sportspeople that cannot be understated. It comes with building a rapport with the people they lead and by being able to get the pulse of their fans, coaches, and teammates. Leadership is the ability to motivate people, and for motivating others, it is very important for the leaders to be self-motivated and to lead by example. The best sports people are the most motivated individuals. Since motivation is infectious, being a good sportsman also will make you a wonderful leader. In fact, many top business schools in the world explicitly state that being a sportsperson is an added advantage during their admission process.

Sports inculcates discipline

Discipline is the only elixir of sports. Taking up a sport lends you the virtue of being a more organized, more driven person. This, in turn, makes you a disciplined individual. As a sportsperson, one can never miss training. Excuses are anathema. Discipline is the only way, there is no other. Hard work and discipline go hand in hand, towards success.

The examples illustrated here are limited. There are infinite benefits of being a sportsperson. More importantly, it makes you physically and mentally very strong. To be a sport is to be fun. Who doesn’t want to be? Go on, now. Be a sport, and take up a sport!


Can Video Games Improve Learning?

When we talk about the video games, an image of couch potatoes, teenage quarrels, scolding and a lot of crazy activities come to our mind. For most of the people, the video gaming hampers the brain growth of the children and make them less attentive and lazy. Has anyone ever thought of the positive side of it? It can be a real trailblazing when taken up in moderation and with an optimistic approach. Video games can be used as a teaching tool to strengthen the learning. These games train the brain to think quick, build a few qualities and develop intellectual skills that improve the learning efficacy in the children.

 

 

Let’s take a look at the advantages of the video games in improving learning outcomes for kids.

  • Games like Cityville gives the aim to complete various targets in a defined time period.  At any given point of time, players have to build the city and maintain the welfare of the citizens. Player(s) need to manage the finances and upgrade the activities. Such tasks incorporate the accounting and strategic planning skills in the children. A child’s interest in such games shows his aspirations in economics, engineering, designing, etc.

  • Most multi-players games require a coordinated action to achieve the goal collectively or players have to compete against each other to finish the stage. It tests the social responsibility and team spirit of the child. Such games encourage harmonized communication among the peers and refine the child as a social person. While competing against another player, kids experience the virtual competition, which promotes the urge to excel and the spirit of winning.

  • NFS, car racing and other games that are based on speed and time, advance the integrity of the visual reflections and mental command. A child with such skills greatly reduces his/her reaction time and becomes a better performer with quick thinking and disciplined working.

  • Games encourage introspection and enhance self-worth in children. Away from the sight and instructions of parents, the child performs at an individual level. It makes them more responsible for the actions and the decisions they make.  They take up challenges and a victory in those activities boosts their confidence. On the other hand, losing the same challenge prepare them for critical thinking and re-evaluation of the previous actions. Altogether, a child becomes a good decision maker and a fine analyst.

  • Just as examinations, games also provides instructions in the beginning to direct the player about the working of the system. Gradually, it becomes a practice for the child to read the instructions and move forward accordingly. This help them increase the grasping and analyzing powers and makes them concentrate more on their studies.

  • Some virtual quizzes and tests give a detailed analysis of the child’s performance. The data helps in finding the weaker section, as well as the strengths of the child, which help identify the possible steps can be taken to work on the problem areas. It is an effective tool for both the parents and teachers to understand the difficulties faced by the children that retard his/her performance.

  • Games also have a calming effect on the mind. It keeps the child away from the stressful environment and inculcates the positivity. It boosts the concentration, sharpens the mental ability and also maintains the physical well-being. It is basically a bi-directional learning. It brings the play and work at balance.

  • Games also improve the reading, technical and problem-solving skills. Educational games also develop spatial thinking and enhances mental coordination. It makes the entire learning process easy and entertaining for the children.

we have only listed some very basic advantages of video games to help you clear your mental block. There are many others to explore.

We, as parents, should definitely encourage our children to occasionally spend some time on video games, but make sure that this doesn’t become an addiction for them. We need to make sure that a child is not spending too much of his/her playtime on a video game. Excess of anything has a deleterious effect, so as this. We need to make sure that we know the boundaries well and keep our kids healthy and safe.

Let your children learn in a playful mood and gain wisdom!

 

 


Importance of Holistic Education

Teachers have multiple roles. They teach, they inspire and they motivate children. Often, all these functions are concentrated towards achieving higher marks in exams. This often burdens those children who are capable of being creative and are skilled at pursuits that are not examined through report cards. There is a famous TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity.

Among his musings is one that has stuck profoundly, which we paraphrase: “teachers try to create more teachers”, not dancers, not singers, or not even engineers! We were therefore inspired to create this post, to remind our teachers the importance of activities that fall outside the curriculum.

Schools typically have two classes for co-curricular activities. Even that is often cut short on, during exam days, citing the need to ‘completing portions’ and for ‘course revision’. This has a debilitating effect on the children’s perspective on education. When the fun in school is taken out, education systems stand as roadblocks to children’s creativity. We must work towards bringing down those barriers. Let’s examine why, and how.

Co-curricular activities make education delightful!

What is the point of reciting a poem, if children are unable to create some of their own? Co-curricular activity should invigorate and stir the creative conscious of children. What is the use of knowing different forms of speech, if children are unable to piece together their opinions in debates? Co-curricular activity should make use of the curriculum at hand. Introduce poetry in English class, encourage children to write stories, ignite debates in class, and watch as children pick up the art of speaking boldly, clearly and smartly.

Extracurricular activities are a window to the world out there.

What would school be without a science exhibition? A shell, that’s what! Science exhibitions, English plays, Olympiads are wonderful ways of exposing students to greater heights in fields of their interest. To this end, we must also consider scholarships, which not only are the result of extracurricular interests shown by the students but something that will also help them in their higher studies. For example, prestigious scholarships such as Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) are awarded to students who take the time out to pursue extracurricular studies in basic sciences.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Playing a sport, dancing to the tunes of classical and/or popular music, singing soulfully, drawing caricatures, enacting plays, and so much more are activities that jolt children into the wonderland of studying the world around them! The pursuing hobbies is a lifestyle choice for people, and it would best be realized when encouraged throughout childhood. Hobbies such as dancing, sometimes, can even lead to careers in dance! Such offbeat careers are very much possible today, with guaranteed success. Similarly, our classrooms are probably hosting little Tendulkars who are discouraged from taking up a hobby they love. It’s the duty of us, the teachers, therefore, to allow children space and time to explore their interests and to pursue it with all their heart.

The best kind of education for the children should be a holistic one. Every child has an all-rounder in him/her. It is up to the teacher to harness the talents hidden in the children, without rules or prejudices about what constitutes education and what doesn’t. We aren’t saying all-rounders are those who can extempore with flair, who can read fiction for hours together, who can enact Shakespeare with panache, and who can score a goal in a football match are rare to come by. All-rounders are those who can enjoy all these activities, without feeling in any way less smart than children who can score centum in exams!

Let’s celebrate ALL our children; the painters and debaters alike, the toppers and footballers alike. Let’s ensure our children grow into excellent adults, with the education that’s holistic and well rounded. Let’s always remember that every child is a shining star in his/her own right. Let’s celebrate that awesomeness!

 

 

 


What to Expect on Your First Day

Tomorrow is the first day with a new organisation, and I carry a lot of dreams with me. The dreams to flourish with prosperity & growth.

But still there are a lot of questions unanswered : How is the culture of the company, what are the people like, who will be my boss & how is he as a person, what will be my roles & responsibilities? Is there a friendly environment, do people respect each other’s thought process & welcome the differences? We are sure that all of us have been through such anxieties on our first day with any organisation.

Then, why not design an orientation program that is welcoming, that reinforces a newcomer’s belief that she/he has taken a correct career decision of choosing the organisation?

We a Vedantu believe the orientation process should be designed to cater one simple need for the employees– “I want to belong to.”  

For us, the orientation process starts way before the employee joins in. we feel, that it’s essential to share a regular update regarding the business via emails, company newsletters, etc. Also, once the offer letter is accepted, within the first 24 hours, the new employee’s manager should call, congratulate & welcome the new team member and send some sort of personalised goodies, which the manager should have enquired during the interview. (For ex.: Kindle for those who are fond of reading). This will not only surprise the newcomer but will also show a lot of personalised attention. Also, the appointment letter & the other written formalities should be sent via email, to not only save the time post joining, but also the boredom attached to it.

Be ready to make the first day as the most seamless and most memorable day for a newcomer: (the first & the last day of any employee creates the brand of any organisation)

To create a collaborative, fast-paced, innovative & fun culture – educate the newcomer with the vision & history of the company. Develop short stories about the core values of the company and help the newcomer to participate through some interesting games & quizzes about the cultural pillars of the company.

Run him/her through the various departments & the organisational hierarchical chart. Make him/her understand the cutting-edge technologies (in the case of a tech company) that are essentially being used in the organisation.

Each new member’s immediate team lead should be his/her mentor for the coming week. The lead should take complete responsibility to mentor him/her to achieve great clarity and results. The HR should present him/her a welcome kit, comprising of customised company products like a diary, bag, pen, t-shirt, etc. Assist him/her in adjusting & resolve any questions or concerns in an informal environment. Also, help him/her define the goals & development plans. The HR should take a regular feedback from the newcomer.

Capture the voice of the new joinee & analyse it at regular intervals to initiate process improvements.

  • Day 1: Take a feedback to understand the onboarding experience of the employee ( about his comfort level)
  • Day 7 : take a feedback with the aim to understand how well has the employee settled in the organization.
  • Day 15 : This feedback would allow you to understand – how well the employee understands the overall functioning of the organization and how will he/she like to execute his/her KRAs
  • Day 30 : The employee completely settles in the organization. A feedback at this point takes input on work environment, supervisor, communication & work culture.

At Vedantu we think, if we can act robust and pro-active, we can gauge a lot of openness, alignment & innovation in organizational culture. We constantly strive to achieve healthy work-life balance for all Vedans and are very sure your comments would help us do something even better. Do comment your suggestions.

 

 

This post is contributed by Garima Bhandari

Garima Bhandari  is working as Manager – HR & People Strategy at Vedantu and strongly believes in nurturing leaders to create a strong organizational culture. During her free time, she likes to read and hone her blogging skills.


Do Students Look up to Your Assignments?

Assignments are usually dreaded by students, be it at the primary school level or during postgraduation. Few teachers manage to make their assignments interesting enough for students. Such a trend has made plagiarism rampant in many submissions. It is also not uncommon for children to seek the help of older members in their family to submit the assignment on time.

 

The top complaint from most children is that assignments are akin to copying texts from reference books. Most students wish for assignments that are not time-consuming and do not require lots of expertise. They also fervently wish that assignments ultimately ‘mean’ something and are not just given for the heck of it. Perhaps it is time for us teachers who have trouble with late or incomplete assignments submissions to have our assignments relooked at.

Here’s a checklist to find out if the quality of assignments given is good, bad or otherwise:

Is the assignment personalized?

Children love to give a personal touch to assignments. Hence, assignments that ask for their point of view on topics, or assignments that ask them to write a poem or story tend to arouse interest in the students. The assignments that require students to conduct home experiments are considered some of the best, as these have a personalized touch and incite learning by doing.

Are the assignments the same for all students?

Students are smart. Often, they are smarter than the teachers expect. Common assignments are thus easily copied by everyone in the class, without any regrets. Such a habit must not be encouraged through assignments that are given en masse. Students should be given different topics as assignments. This may even prompt a discussion among them, on the given topics.

Do students learn from each other during assignments?

Two minds are better than one. Therefore, when more than one student works on a given problem statement, the solutions are noticeably better. Teachers must hence try to involve as many students as possible in the projects assigned to the class. Examples are science projects, plays, etc., which require a group effort. If this is not possible, teachers can also give marks to groups, according to the aggregate marks secured by the members of the group. This will encourage students to peer review their assignments and projects, something that’s very effective in the learning process.

Are assignments time consuming?

Assignments should not come in the way of daily studies and daily play. They should be a healthy part of the day, and should typically be around a half hour to one hour long. Beyond that, the tired minds of students will not work at their optimum capacity. But that’s not to be the case for secondary classes, where assignments are week-long. In such cases, time management is up to the children themselves. But even then, students must not be burdened, lest they grow a dislike to the subject itself!

 

 

 

Are they meant for students or experts?

Science experiments and projects are the usual suspects for an involvement of outside hands in the students’ assignments. This is simply because the expectations of the teachers from these projects are too high. Gone are the days when a student could bring lenses to class to explain phenomena of light, now the student has to come equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, a huge chart with explanations, and thankfully the lenses too. Such work requires expertise, which is expected of graduate students, not primary or secondary class goers.

 

 

To sum it up, assignments should be in the interest of students. They should not overburden them, and neither should they pressurize the children to stretch beyond their capacity. Also, assignments should be made more fun, so that the children respond to the demands of the class in a way that is encouraging to the teacher as well as fun for the children! Assignments are not meant to be dreary. They are a way to take back the fun and warmth of classrooms to home, in keeping with the fact that education is a never ending process.