Data is Driving our Lives, as well as our Education System

We often associate data with the professional world and think that it is only useful for experts. However, data usage and interpretation is not limited to any specific industry, it is everywhere!  Be it in office, be it in learning institutes or be it in our daily transactions, data is driving our daily lives.

Importance of Data Analytics

The decision-making involved in our daily lives is driven by data analytics. Today, we are dependent upon a plethora of applications and web-based services for our daily transactions and our routine. Now think about it! Google can complete your search before you’ve even typed the third letter, and Netflix predicts which television shows you would like to watch. Facebook suggests that you should add a new friend and a dress that you missed purchasing on an e-commerce website can appear in another search. How do you think all this happening? Each activity, transaction or shopping done online is recorded and mapped and the result of this reflects in the choices that the digital world serves in front of you. Hence, not just in workplaces but even in personal consumption habits, data is predicting our behaviour and our options even if we are unaware of it.

Efficient Learning Through Data Analytics

In the realm of education, thanks to digitization, data analytics has had a pivotal as well as a constructive role to play. Digital services such as E-books, learning management systems, applications, and web-based content are assisting instructors in a powerful manner. This digital landscape allows educators to curate, develop, use, and reuse digital learning objects. One of the useful aspects of data in digital technology is the ability to track usage and predict the potential of each user. Data can be used to provide insight into students’ engagement with the teaching module as well as mapping their patterns of performances. The report thus generated can be useful for teachers and parents alike to gain deep insight into individual student learning needs, thereby facilitating informed intervention. The great thing about data is that it helps each student pursue his/her own unique learning curve.

In Extramarks as well, we have evolved a system where we track the individual progress of each child and generate extensive reports which clearly delineate areas of strength and possible improvement. Extramarks has also developed a robust testing system which is adaptive in nature. This implies that our tests progress in levels of difficulty along with a student’s progress in comprehension of a certain concept. These smart algorithms help prompt users to either go back and learn more rigorously or to jump on to the next level of testing. All of this put together helps enable an independent ecosystem of learning; with data acting as the modern-day mentor.

Technology, Pedagogy and More – The Core Drivers of Extramarks

As early movers into the Ed-Tech domain, we have seen first hand what technology integration can do to make the same old textbook concepts engaging, interesting and even fun for a child. What happens when a child starts enjoying the process of learning is that he does not need any external motivation. The students then are self-sufficient learners, drawing motivation all by themselves, and gradually, they become aware of their strengths and improvement areas themselves. Extramarks has been working on bringing alive this entire spectrum of services so that through a click, a tap, a single download button, the entire world of knowledge comes alive in front of a child.

Extramarks has certain core beliefs, or you can say, we have some core domains which we invest heavily into to ensure our learning platforms are useful for students everywhere. The first is a solid, researched pedagogy, which our experts have diligently worked on and is now globally recognized and validated. This is the three pronged pedagogy of Learn-Practice-Test. Under this simple but seamless education delivery model, a child first thoroughly learns text book concepts through rich, visual modules. They then go on to practice all the learnt knowledge through a variety of tools and then, there comes out Test feature, the ultimate paradigm in the LPT pedagogy, where all the learnt and practiced knowledge is put to test to make a child exam ready. Always.

Our second core belief is in technology and its potential to completely make learning child-centric. Extramarks has built a thriving team of animators, graphic artists, designers, developers, tech experts who are researching, implementing and even evolving newer modes of technology platforms and services which can infuse joy in the process of learning. Our visual modules are a product of the combined hardwork of subject experts and visual artists who make even the most complex thought appear simple – like a story being told through rich graphics. This storification and visual representation aids in complete retention and engagement.

Technology intervention does not end here. Each child has a unique learning curve which tends to get overlooked in traditional classroom set ups. But that’s not the case with what Extramarks offers. Technology helps us understand where each student is placed. Through our adaptive and layered testing, we are able to predict if a child has successfully understood concepts and is able to apply them as well. Our intelligent algorithms are constantly studying the patterns which emerge out of a student’s consumption of our learning modules, and thus, we are able to predict a course of studies which surely and steadily drives towards improved student outcomes.

In short, Extramarks is here to address the needs of any and every student. With over 9 million learners trusting our methods and content, I am glad to see our beliefs bearing fruits.

Extramarks – The Vision and the Journey

Extramarks Education India was a seed conceptualized in my head, but nurtured together by our 2500+ strong team of competent experts for close to a decade. We celebrated out 11th Foundation Day this year, and the occasion set me thinking, and forced me to revisit the entire trajectory of our existence and accomplishments. We have not just grown in size and numbers, but also in vision. As the one stop solution for filling all gaps in education delivery space, we have learnt much about how to make learning a process full of joy along with ensuring academic excellence.

It is such a joy to see the company accomplishing goals after goals that were set eleven years ago. I am really proud of the fact that we are the only company in ed-tech space in India that has gained so much popularity amongst schools and students and has attained huge success in a market where the competitors were struggling. This success belongs to all those who have put in their best for the company.

We are a company that has not only innovated technology solutions for schools and students but also continuously pushed its own boundaries. Our approach towards pedagogy and technology has earned us many accolades. This could be achieved only because we have with us the most capable team of academicians, animators, technologists, engineers, professionals and sales persons.

Today, with our presence in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia, we have joined the league of multinationals and are the first company out of India to reach global geographies in the ed-tech space. Almost all technology giants are very eager to work with us. In the coming future, we will be going to more places, and continuously work on introducing new products.

This 11-year long journey has been exciting, but the real excitement will actually unfold on the road ahead. The coming years are likely to witness a drastic change in almost everything related to education delivery. This is a huge opportunity, and everyone is looking at us with expectant eyes. We’ve been known for setting standards for the entire industry, and it is my sincere belief, that with continued motivation and commitment of each member of the Extramarks family, we will continue to do so. With the drastic changes in the landscape of education, Extramarks is ready to not just update and adapt, but also drive some of those changes. Watch out for some exciting updates from our side!

Going Live: Education’s Tryst with Digital India

Textbooks will no longer exist in the classroom within 10 years’ time.” – believes Prof Neil Selwyn, Faculty of Education, Monash University.

The government of India has embarked on the task of transforming the face of India and of bridging the digital divide between the rural and urban India. Mr. Narendra Modi, the Honourable Prime Minister of India launched the Digital India campaign with the objective to connect the entire country with high-speed internet networks and was also able to secure commitments from national and global business heads for an investment of US $ 3.3 trillion. A major chunk of the investment is in line with the government’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy – and driving on this momentum the education sector is poised to witness major growth in the years to come.

The government recognises that the ‘Gen Y’ of India is always connected and lives a fast-paced online life. A recent study clearly reveals that Indians are amongst the most aggressive users of massively open online courses (MOOCs) and with over 200 million of the one billion population being connected to the internet, the need for a rapid digitization of the sector cannot be ignored.

The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) scheme aims to leverage the potential of digitization for learners. The mission has two major objectives, generating content for digitization of education and to provision access to connectivity and devices for learners. Under the NMEICT mission 419 universities and more than 25000 level colleges and polytechnics have been envisaged to be transformed into digital learning hubs empowering the youth.

As an avid follower of the digital revolution in the educational sector, I am quite impressed with the swiftly changing times where the government and the education industry experts are now accepting that the days of the chalk and talk is slowly ending and that the time has come to shift to a blended learning atmosphere. The digitization of India and the strong backing of the government acts as an accelerator for the sector that aims to make learning accessible, interactive and immersive.

The modern day students are connected and influenced by the world around them and are no longer only textbook oriented. The steady influx of the Internet of Everything (IoE) empowers them to experience anytime anywhere learning.

The changing times demand for a more pervasive teaching methodology which will be a radical shift from the teacher-centred rote learning system to a facilitator based immersive learning curriculum. The classroom of tomorrow will not be limited by boundaries of school and colleges; it will be an open world learning environment which allows the learners (a broader and more relevant term for students) to learn what they want and when they want.

The ubiquitous green board in the classrooms is being replaced by modern age technology (and I am not referring to the projector) – the new age syllabi will be delivered over powerful handheld devices, high-speed broadband connection and will be monitored by learning management systems (LMS). The methodology of imparting knowledge will see a dynamic shift where the learner takes centre stage and the teacher changes roles to become a facilitator instead of being an instructor. Learning will be highly personalised where the learners are not limited by time and space or regular class hours – this shift from the linear learning model will not only make it more interactive and engaging but will also allow the learner to access videos, podcasts and other related online content at a later stage.

As a student, I had faced a lot of fear when asking doubts in the classroom and in my later years I constantly observed that though the batch and years changed but the fear of ridicule while raising a query remained. Understanding capabilities differ person to person – a widely acknowledged fact – but has been seldom used in the education sector. The digitization of education will provide the much needed solution and will allow the learner to ask questions, raise queries anonymously and confidently.

Another important aspect of learning is assessment, I firmly believe the use of technology like analytics and LMS will allow the facilitator (the new role of the teacher) to keep track of the individual learners understanding and grasp. Online tests can be monitored at the end of a session to assess the takeaway from the class – reducing the time taken to evaluate papers. Feedback for the learners will be immediate and personalised rather than general.

We all know that technology is ubiquitous – digital education is a pathway to harness the energy and the inquisitive spirit of the youth enabling them to be the heralds of development. In simple words, it is time to ride the technology wave that is set to radically transform the education sector.

Why Technology is Important in Furthering the Quality of Indian Education

Education, as we know, is designed to help children grow up to become well-rounded individuals. The combination of subjects, interlaced with hands-on training, is aimed at helping one imbibe various qualities and skills, ranging from civic sense and etiquettes to morals and a scientific attitude. While the study of social sciences enables a student to participate in a nation’s progress, courses in Math help one approach every problem analytically. Similarly, a study of moral science helps a student imbibe essential values, even as an in-depth study of science encourages rationality and a penchant for innovation.
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