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.

 


Will Online Education change the face of India?

It was just another awesome day at Vedantu. We were working continuously for one vision of making Education Democratized and I was planning to take some carbohydrates and proteins which will ultimately give me energy and keep me healthy to contribute in this one and ultimate vision of all Vedans. I was about to leave my desk and suddenly I heard something very familiar… 

दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

नज़र में ख्वाबों की बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

Ohhh! Suddenly I realized that  it’s my ringtone. A call was coming from an unknown number.

I received the call and the conversation got started.

Me: Hello…Good Afternoon…Abhishek here.

Student:  Hello Sir, I am Vikas Dewangan. You remember ???

Me: Dear, I am really sorry…but can you tell me a little more about you?

Student: Sir, I am Vikas from Raipur (Raipur is the capital of Chhattisgarh). Actually, just few days back I took few sessions on Vedantu. You taught me Inorganic Chemistry and important problems in General Organic Chemistry…

Me: Ohhh…Okkk…So how’s your preparation going on? (I was not even aware about the date of JEE Examination. Can’t believe on my own stupidity)

Student: Sir, JEE mains are over. I just left the examination hall. I just want to say you Thank you Sir, Thanks a lot. I am very positive for JEE advance and sir, definitely those 6 hours will have some contribution in this.

Me: (I was very happy, It was probably one of the best moments in my life. Thanks to Vedantu for giving me such a beautiful opportunity) Hey….it’s too good to hear that. I’m very happy for you. All the very best !!

I wished him all the best for his dreams and moved on for lunch. During my lunch, I just kept thinking about how much powerful this idea can be! If we harness the true potential of online learning, we can bring a lot of change in our society.

Let’s accept this bitter truth that a very few people in our country want to become a teacher. In our society, it is neither a highly paid job nor it is considered to be a very respectful one. Isn’t it an irony that we all want an extremely qualified teacher for our kids but we don’t want our kids to be a teacher?

In urban areas,  the situation is a little better but in rural areas we are facing a huge shortage of quality teachers.  We all have a teacher inside us and online education platforms can be used to connect the rural India with plenty of these awesome teachers across the country. They may be working professional or government employees elsewhere, but they can use their free time for the benefit of the society by imparting quality education sitting at their homes.

Definitely there are few hurdles in the conceptualization of online education. The biggest hurdle is of the infrastructure that includes a Computer/Mobile, Internet access and Power supply. Let’s take them one by one –  If we talk about computer, it is not readily available for rural/urban students in our country. Mobile is a beautiful solution to this problem. 

Whiteboard-Mobile

Also, mobile is cost effective and portable over a computer any day. Vedantu has worked relentlessly to bring the whole online education concept on mobile. Download the app and experience the comfort of learning on the go, specially enjoy one-of-its-kind whiteboard which is a shared interface between the student and the teacher. Now let s discuss about the internet access. As far as the internet accessibility is concerned, Internet users are growing day by day. If you see the data of last 3 years, it is indeed encouraging. In 2014, 18% of the total population was using internet which increased to 27 % in 2015 and in 2016, the penetration is near 35% of the total population. As the population is also increasing every year by 1.2-1.3 %, the growth is really humongous. In this image you may see a comparison in between rural and urban internet users:

Another big challenge is Electricity, but there is a good news too for all of us. In order to address the lack of adequate electricity availability in the country by the platinum jubilee (2022) year of India’s independence, Government of India has launched a scheme called ‘Power for All’. This scheme will ensure that there is 24/7 continuous electricity supply provided to all households, industries and commercial establishments by creating and improving necessary infrastructures. It’s a joint collaboration of center with states to share funding and create overall economic growth. Currently 18 states have joined this scheme.

Now here are a few more facts to justify why online education can go a long way to educate not only rural India but it can change the face of whole education:

  1. Literacy rate in India – Approx 75% (Still we are far behind the world’s average that is 84%)
  1. 79.39% of the population access mobile in our country (although not all of them are using a smartphone but the way technology is evolving and smartphones are getting cheaper, in near future a substantive population will be using a smartphone)
  1. Unavailability of good teachers in rural areas: As I mentioned earlier, we all have a wonderful teacher inside us. We all were good in at least one subject during our school or college time. We can teach those subjects. Also, we have world’s largest youth population, and we can harness this underlying potential for educating all. Through an active participation from all the sections of the society and with the help of online education, we can create a revolution in the field of education. Let’s spread the idea  ‘Each one teach one’ which is a very famous phrase originated in the United States where African slaves were denied education. In the first half of the 20th century. Dr. Frank Laubach utilized the same concept to help address poverty and illiteracy in the Philippines.

According to me the whole purpose of education is to uplift the society. Education (Includes moral education too) is a powerful  blow on awful, cheap and atrocious cruelties present  in our society. Through online education and the inherent teacher within us, We can teach from anywhere to anyone sitting in any part of the country – All we’ll have to do is, believe in ourselves and have that confidence to change the world.

Ohhh! Why only India and  not Pakistan or any other country? Why not, online education can really go beyond geographical boundaries and that is one of the most beautiful aspect of this concept. I am pretty sure, soon we’ll hear some heartwarming stories of Indian teachers imparting the elixir of knowledge to millions of kids deprived of education due to poverty or terrorism worldwide. I believe the scope is infinite. You may call me ‘too optimistic,’ but you’ll agree, harnessing the true potential of online education can bring a substantial change in our societal conditions.

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I want to conclude my thoughts on high hopes by  quoting a few lines written by Harivansh Rai Bachhan.

“लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

….

कुछ किये बिना ही जय जय कार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।”

Let’s DEMOCRATIZE EDUCATION together.

 
This post is contributed by Abhishek Kumar. Abhishek Kumar is a dreamer, a poet, an avid music listener and a Chemistry enthusiast. He works with Vedantu as Manager-Academic Research and makes students fall in love with Chemistry.

 


My Journey with Vedantu so far…

Via this blog I would like to share my experience as a teacher/educator/mentor on Vedantu.

For quite some time in my career, I worked as a full-time researcher and teacher. The amalgamation of both jobs was exciting, as well as demanding. Research has my heart while teaching has my soul. As both of them are my favorites, I wanted to pursue both of them, but time forced me to make a choice and I chose to follow my soul – I chose to be a teacher!

During my stint at research projects, I learnt a lot about my subject but the growth in my career was stifled and painfully slow. Since I  made my mind to teach, I joined as a Biology teacher in a school in Andhra Pradesh and as the time passed, I realized I am more content in the profession than everything I did before. I enjoyed teaching and it was a pleasure to solve problems of my students. I always made it a point that I clear their doubts and they enjoy my classes and eventually, learn about the subject. Realizing some shortcomings that the brick & mortar/classroom teaching has, I decided to move out of the school teacher’s job and took up more compelling online tutoring.

Since 2013, I have worked for quite some online platforms as a Biology tutor. Online tutoring not only gave me the flexibility, freedom and convenience to work from home as per my convenience; I could dodge the mad traffic, workplace stress, and travel tiredness and enjoy my time doing what I love, right from my ‘home sweet home.’

I joined Vedantu in Jan’15 and have been working as an online biology tutor since then. Vedantu not only reinforced my self-confidence and teaching skills but elevated my growth & earning potential as well. Their continuous support for tutoring sessions whether it is related to content, students or any other issues is outstanding!

The foremost thing that attracted me towards the platform was their respect for teachers. I have seen a lot of online tutoring firms not giving the due respect to the teachers on their platforms & treating them as mere revenue generators. But I must say that Vedantu understands the value of teachers and gives them the due respect.

I am sure you’ll agree with me, teachers work relentlessly to impart right education         and life skills to their students and all they want in return is to see their students             grow  and an acknowledgment of their efforts in making a great nation.

Secondly, I am a very fair person who loves thing black & white. The transparency that I have seen so far in Vedantu’s system is definitely worth praising. Tutors can talk to the parents or students at any time of the day and help them out with their problems, which I feel  lacks in a lot of other companies in the industry. A lot of companies don’t even share the details of the student and they mediate each communication between the tutor and the student.

Isn’t it the ‘trust’ that we all crave for? Somewhere I believe, a transparent system reflects higher degrees of trust that the management & system have in you – that of course boosts your confidence!

Before joining Vedantu, I was always skeptical of online tutoring & thought it would be a mundane and not-so-interactive work, but Vedantu has negated all my notions and proved me wrong by offering the best possible means to interact & engage with a student that a teacher can have.

Although I have talked a lot about my journey at vedantu already, but if I don’t mention these few incidences, I wouldn’t  be doing justice to this post.   

one day I got a call from a parent at 10 PM and he was jubilant that his kid scored very good marks in her SA1 exams. Now he makes sure to take my suggestions for preparing his daughter to score better in all her exams. I must admit, the bond that has developed over a short period of time and with just the virtual mode of communication is beyond comparison to any offline interaction with the students and parents. Also, quite a times I have felt that sense of pride of being a teacher and being recognized for what I love doing.

In another incidence, I got a call from a parent whose appreciation gave me a lot of confidence. She said, “ wouldn’t it be nice if you have your clones to teach other subjects.” She thanked me for my patience and was really happy with the improvement she saw in her kid.

A positive feedback from students/parents always encourages and motivates me to improve and contribute to their learnings at my best. The entire coterie of students and parents now gives me a homely feel and is more like a family to me.

I am thankful to the entire team of Vedantu for putting up a great platform and giving me this wonderful opportunity. I am thoroughly enjoying my work and appreciating every bit of it.  

The post is contributed by Mrs. Manisha Bhala, a Biology tutor at Vedantu.

Mrs. Manisha Bhala has been teaching since last 6 years. She is a postgraduate in Medical Genetics and actively pursued research during the initial phase of her career. Apart from teaching, she enjoys gardening and exploring the roads driving.


Making Group Learning Personalized & Interactive.

We, at Vedantu, have always been curious to do something new and better. So when One-to-Few (OTF) online batches were launched on Vedantu, we thought of finding the best ways to make it more meaningful and interactive for our students. One of the most engaging ways that we could think of, was making a group outside the class. This would be a kind of offline Vedantu group, where the students are still in touch with each other even if they are not in the class. After researching on what can be done to break the ice between the students and the teacher of a particular online OTF batch before the first class, we ran a student community building experiment using asynchronous interactions via a WhatsApp group. And lo, there we were. Creating our own WhatsApp experiment! we were sure it would work best in a small OTF group tuition where a focused group of 5 to 7 students learn in a common online classroom.

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The reason we did not exceed this number by 5 to 7 was simple, we didn’t want the personalized interaction to be compromised in any way. From our experience it appears that when there are more than 7 participants, the learning outcomes are compromised and the learner satisfaction goes down. Smaller group sizes make this phenomenon less likely to occur.

In launching such batches we ensured that the students enrolled for a particular class be comfortable with each other from the very first online session on Vedantu, as they are new to each other. The teachers are also guided to be sensitive to different communication styles and behaviors for various cultures to be seen in a learning community.

Here are a couple of pointers we kept in mind for a successful group interaction and meaningful learning of the group in an online environment.

1. Start WhatsApp interactions well in advance!

namo editThe course teacher creates a WhatsApp group a few days before the course starts. The teacher initiates the interaction by framing  a simple activity for the learners to introduce themselves to the rest of the focused group, by writing one or two paragraphs about themselves, their interests, hobbies etc. The teacher then have students respond to at least two of their fellow course mates in the forum. 

When learners feel connected, the barrier of the technological infrastructure comes down.  Learners feel they are part of a community and establish a social presence. The social presence, which is an important & intangible dimension in an online ecosphere.

2. Highlight the Purpose!

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It is vital to highlight the purpose of the group. This helps learners and their parents know that the WhatsApp group is a special group – A group that would help improve the learning outcomes of the entire online study group you are part of. Also, it is a great medium to stay connected with the teacher, fellow learners and understand  their academic needs, anytime and anywhere.

 

3. Early contacts lasts long!

0020.community hand image

As soon as the the group is created, the course teacher ensures that he/she induces some interaction. We saw some really amazing work from the teachers to break the ice. It involved sharing  ‘Question of the day’, ‘Thought for the day’ or a fun activity that engaged the entire group. Doing this early on really helped in ensuring that a bonding is created amongst the group members and learning became fun.

4. Profile pictures – Make it real

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The admin of the group also encourages students to upload a profile pictures of themselves in the WhatsApp Group. Although it is not a compulsion, but having a profile picture helps putting a face to a name. We are sure you’ll agree, this minor change of putting across a picture helps building and strengthening personal connections multifold in a student community online.

5. Utilize the Group Better

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The teacher, who is also the admin of the WhatsApp group, makes sure that it does not becomes a yet another place to chit chat, but also plays a key role in major announcements of online tests and assignments. It was observed that whenever a doubt was posted, not just the teacher, but fellow students do come ahead to clears the doubts. Here is where the magic happens and social connections get stronger with a whole new meaning. The key remains in striking the balance! Whenever it was possible, we ensured creating groups based on experiences and kept a healthy mix of experienced online students and first time online learners.

6. Be available at the need of the hour!
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The teacher makes sure the  concerns and questions of the students are resolved well in time. We observed, in most cases the doubts were peer-solved and the teacher remained a facilitator in the group. while this enhanced the peer learning amongst the students, teacher makes sure to go an extra mile to arrange for a one-to-one session for further doubt clarification. As a matter of fact, when a teacher is involved and supportive of his/her students, higher levels of learning outcomes are more likely to be achieved.

The entire exercise was so much fun and gave us some really great insights – How a small study group behaves, how the interaction amongst complete strangers can be achieved, and what enhances the personalization in a group of 5-7 students learning an academic topic. Overall it was a great learning experience for all of us. It also paved way to an awesome community at Vedantu – Our very own OTF student community!

Image Credits – Google Images

 

About the author:

Namo Kaul

Namo works with Vedantu as Product Research Manager and is a Physics enthusiast. In his free time he loves to explore new cuisines and restaurants.