India needs to rethink the brick & mortar classroom model

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Sep 15 2014, 06:52am hrs
We need to rethink the brick and mortar classroom model and start building an alternative education platform that is more accessible, more detailed, interactive and engaging, says Lovleen Bhatia, CEO & co-founder, Edureka, the largest online education provider in the field of IT globally. In an interview with FEs Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that our educational institutes should give far more importance to project management than they currently do. Excerpts:

How are your learning techniques different from the general MOOC model

The general MOOC model consists of free, recorded, instructional videos uploaded on the website of the provider with no live training sessions with industry experts. The fact that the courses are free, designed for ease, and do not have to end in a degree means that the MOOC model compels supreme levels of self-discipline to complete a course.

On the other hand, the real-time instruction-based learning techniques that we have come with offerings such as (1) live, interactive training sessions, (2) expert guidance, (3) queries resolved with the experts, then and there, (4) industry-relevant content, (5) projects for hands-on experience, (6) interactive environment, (7) opportunity to mingle with like-minded people, (8) 24x7 support, (9) access to training sessions on updated topics in a course, (10) flexibility to choose comfortable batches and more. In fact, I must add that this model also leads to a 70% course-completion rate against the general MOOC models 4% rate (among IT industry professionals).

A 70% course-completion rate is quite high

The real-time instruction-led live classes allows the instructor to share knowledge, provide details about the course and interact with the students. This makes the teaching-learning model interactive and engaging. Further, the 24x7 on-demand expert help provides additional space to clarify doubts on individual basis in case there is a learner who wants to have a one-on-one doubt clearing session even at odd hours of the. Accessibility to study material for lifetime with no extra charge also adds to people wanting to complete the courses.

Can your platform address the acute skills-gap problem India is currently facing

Our delivery methodology has been modelled to address the acute skills-gap issue and challenges being faced in the talent space across industries. The fact that the Indian higher education, currently the third largest in the world, is likely to surpass the US in the next five years and China in the next 15 shows that there is no dearth of institutions to impart knowledge here. But, the question is, whether the process in which knowledge is being imparted is strong enough to combat the challenges that have been grappling the industry for years Skills-gap is the biggest issue today because accessibility to education is limited. India needs to rethink the brick and mortar classroom model and start building an alternative education platform which is more accessible, detailed, interactive, individualistic and engaging.

Can the Indian higher education system meet the immense need of skilled industry-ready professionals

I am afraid not. By 2030, India will be amongst the youngest nations in the world. With nearly 140 million people in the college-going age-group, one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian education system. This is time to provide them with a education platform where they will be happy to engage, learn and deliver. We need to invest far more into the higher education system than what we are doing right now.

What are your growth plans

There is undoubtedly a huge market for our courses and we have plans to add 36 more industry-ready courses. This will take the total count of our courses to 50; making us the largest online education provider in the field of IT globally. These courses would be a combination of short-term and long-term with offerings ranging from mission-critical ones on Big Data, Data Science, Analytics, NoSQL, Cloud Computing, Hadoop, Mobility and to several other key industry-paced courses. We will also focus on building up our portfolio on courses around diversified streams where there is a global skills-gap. Recently, the Project Management Institute named us as a registered education provider. But here I must add that Indian educational institutes are not giving as much importance to the project management curriculum as they should. We have witnessed a mammoth 30-fold increase in our revenues since 2011-12 and have registered a CAGR of 430% in the last over years. In the next two years, we aim to surpass this achievement.