Digital India will lead to a glasnost of disruptive technologies: Aditya Malik

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Published: July 13, 2015 12:02:33 AM

As Indian audience evolves, their needs will become highly individualistic and thus the product offerings will become proportionately niche. E-learning will progress the way e-retail has in India, and ‘online’ will become the operating word

The e-learning space in India is still at a nascent stage. However, with Digital India now formally launched, this segment is expected to grow at a rapid pace. Aditya Malik, the CEO & MD of Talentedge India, believes the growth could even be 100% year-on-year. Talentedge is an interactive education provider which, Malik argues, “now has a solid understanding of how to make technology scalable and is developing content tailored to match the learning curve of the taker.” In an interview with Vikram Chaudhary of The Financial Express, he adds that today ‘live interactivity’—which empowers high engagement and social collaborative learning—has rendered the conventional format of e-learning led by recorded lectures and courses inadequate. Excerpts:

How can companies such as Talentedge contribute towards the realisation of Digital India?

Online education players have a critical role to play as far as realisation of the Digital India dream is concerned. In fact, at Talentedge, we have taken a step further and are now providing interactive education—i.e. going beyond conventional online learning to offer virtual interactive platforms. I must add that we now have a solid understanding of how to make technology not only scalable but also interactive, and are developing content that is tailored to match the learning curve of the taker—at affordable prices.

The vision of Digital India is to enable a digitally-empowered nation and expand learning to even the remotest corners of the country, hence it becomes critical that every relevant player contributes by raising its digital quotient.

How is the e-learning space developing in India?

The e-learning space is still at a nascent stage. The industry is fragmented and there is no player who offers a suite of courses to cater to the varied needs of learners. Today ‘live interactivity’—which empowers high engagement and social collaborative learning—has rendered the conventional format of e-learning led by recorded lectures and courses inadequate. At Talentedge, through live interactivity, we have enabled a learning experience that is better than the classroom experience for our course takers.

As the Indian audience evolves, their needs will become highly individualistic and thus the product offerings will become proportionately niche. I see this industry progressing the way e-retail business has in India, where ‘online’ will become the operating word with cutting-edge and distinct offerings.

According to recent reports by the UK-India Business Council, India is the largest market for e-learning after the US, and the e-learning sector is expected to receive a boost from the government’s R1.13 trillion Digital India initiative.

Hence, the e-learning market with its USPs such as affordability, flexibility, content from world-class institutions, empowering a now-you-can attitude for learners and the ability to be grasped from anywhere at anytime is poised for a steep growth curve.

What is the kind of ‘boost’ you are talking about?

If implemented as planned, the incremental impact of Digital India on the GDP of the nation will be in the range of 25-30% by 2025, according to a McKinsey report. Digital India will definitely lead to a glasnost of disruptive technologies in the e-learning market. Although at a nascent stage, this segment will grow at a rapid pace—I anticipate the market growth to be 100% year-on-year.

What are the immediate challenges facing e-learning players?

In India, a category leader is needed who raises the benchmark and continues to better it with differentiated learning products. At Talentedge, we are solely focused on this goal and our product offering is reflective of that. Further, generating multiple avenues for learners to adapt to technology and its usage is also needed. E-learning players have to build a digital ecosystem that is scalable, low-cost and reusable. Lastly, all of us have to empower an e-learning system that goes beyond the traditional e-learning mechanism of recorded lectures, is highly interactive, engaging and measures learning effectiveness.

Can virtual classrooms really enhance the productivity of employees in the corporate sector?

From our experience so far, I can confidently say that learners are far more engaged in online training than traditional training. Virtual classrooms have all the ingredients of classroom learning and so much more. Interactive technology solutions are the key in deriving engagement when it comes to virtual classrooms. Indians today spend a significant time online; hence online learning becomes operative if backed with collaborative tools. At Talentedge, our focus is on the use of interactive technology, which provides a better-than-classroom experience in a space and time of a learner’s choice. We deploy tools such as gamification, social collaborative learning, customised pedagogy and high-quality content that can take training to the next level.

How many people have you trained so far?

So far we have provided learning solutions to over 3 lakh people and are growing at a rate of 100% year-on-year.

Apart from India, you have also trained students in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia. What took you to global markets?

Our expansion is solely based on the requirements of learners. A substantial number of learners from the cited countries enrol in our courses from time to time. We also have learners from the developed world, including the US, and are looking to expand in other markets given the right opportunity. We cater to international students through our online platform called Direct to Device.

What are the training methodologies followed at Talentedge?

Our training methodology is technology-enabled and vastly interactive. Our four-week training uses a week-on-week approach that focuses on discovery, baseline analysis, design and validation. The process essentially is about defining the problem, determining the objective to be achieved and creating a project charter to achieve those results. With our interactive technology solutions—Direct to Device, Gamification, End-to-End Process Management, Assessment Techniques and Data Analytics—we are able to impart trainings that are niche and highly focused on impacting the bottom lines of a company.

Do you have any formal tie-ups with educational institutes?

All our courses are provided in collaboration with leading education institutions of the country. Our portfolio of tie-ups includes some of the renowned names in the industry including IIFT Delhi, XLRI Jamshedpur, IIT Roorkee, IIM Kozhikode, to name a few. The tie-ups essentially entail that the partner institute owns the content, pedagogy, assessment and delivery of lectures. The role of Talentedge is acquisition of students, course marketing and enabling the delivery through its technology Direct to Device to the students.

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