July 1-2020
E-learning, the new normal?

The pandemic has entirely changed the way we approach things. Every sector — across the spectrum—  has been affected by the ongoing lockdown — in some way or the other. With social distancing being the norm today, a major chunk of our daily lives — has moved towards digital.

Digital workspaces — are a common thing now and have made it easier for people to continue their work. As a result, digital classrooms are becoming more commonplace as well. E-learning — was already gearing up parallel to the traditional form, but with the —pandemic-induced lockdown in place, e-learning is becoming the choice for —many students and parents alike.

To get a better understanding of the scenario AnimationXpress, in association with Autodesk, brought together some of the leaders from the e-learning industry in a virtual round table.

Present in the panel were:  Testbook  CEO and co founder Ashutosh Kumar, Next Education India CEO and co founder Beas Dev Ralhan, upGrad president of corporate development Gaurav Kumar, BYJU’s director of product Kaustubh Khade, Brainly CEO and co founder Michał Borkowski, Aptence CTO Prabhat Pankaj, Autodesk sr.technical sales specialist, M&E Samit Shetty, Imarticus Learning COO and founder Sonya Hooja, YuppTV  & YuppMaster founder and CEO Uday Reddy and the session was moderated by Indiantelevision do com group CEO and editor in chief Anil Wanvari.

Explaining the calibration of their fundamental strategies as — an e-learning platform —post Covid-19, BYJU’s director of product Kaustubh Khade shared: “Content has always been our main suite, on 13th of march we put out our courses live. We made it all live for all the 4th to 12th graders across the globe. That was like the first piece that went very well for us.”


“All of us are in this black swan event but the sector has been blessed to have had some positive impact with the live classes”


They also gradually understood the exigencies of the situation as to how the schooling landscape has been affected by the pandemic-induced lockdown. He further informs: “Shortly after that, what we started understanding is that schools are going to be hit for example, exam dates were being postponed and we started understanding that there is lack of structure that parents and students will both feel. We knew that teachers are going to be facing a problem just scaling up online which means there are going to be large portions of time when kids are going to be just sitting at home not learning”

According to him, all of us are in this black swan event but the sector that has been blessed to have had some positive impact with the live classes.

Speaking about streamlining their e-learning systems and its myriad challenges, he shares: “For the first month and a half, we were putting out one product every two weeks. With iterations, we were making sure the funnels are up and running. Logistics took a hit so lot of our went in just equating how to get that back up and running and what are the alternatives. It’s been an interesting time but we are now reaching back to the space where we are doing interesting R & D and seeing what the future is.”


“Personalisation is very important for students who operate at their own speed and explore academics on their own”


Discussing the varied offerings of his service, Brainly CEO and co founder Michał Borkowski shared: “Brainly is an on online community for students, parents and teachers. Whenever a student struggles with any school-related question, they can help each other and what we do as a service is add expert supervision to the exchange that is happening between students. We also have thousands of experts answering questions that are particularly popular or super tough that they can not answer on their own.”

Commenting on the current situation vis-a-vis the current market and the burgeoning problems that afflict it, Borkowski said: “We see four primary problems. On one hand, students lack the face-to-face interaction that they have at school. What happened to parents over the last month is that parents had to become teacher looking for education material so that their kids are engaged that they are developing their educational path. Teachers had to figure out technology as to how to engage students who may not have access to a device or couldn’t join online classes. there are many problems from their end”

He added: “The main problem is that there is a huge group of students all across the world and in India who are excluded from learning right. He believes that the he opportunity is that personalisation is very important for students who operate at their own speed and explore academics on their own and many online educational services that are here need to allow them to do that.

Speaking about the tangible solutions to the pressing challenges faced by the education landscape across the world, Borkowski illustrated: “For example, If they want to spend more time learning linear equations they can totally do that even if the class would like to move forward faster.”


“The accessibility challenges can be solved with a very concentrated partnership between the public and private agencies.”


Delineating the difficulties — that we need to overcome— to ensure the smooth functioning of the e-learning space in the post pandemic age, upGrad president of corporate development Gaurav Kumar shared: “Learners always have had a preference for traditional models of learning and delivery. If this (Pandemic and the lockdown) continues for longer, the adoption curve will be far sooner than what we anticipated. So that’s a shift in the overall e-learning space. However I think the problem will become far more glaring in the coming months when the content and platform comes to test because what will start with the forced adoption will eventually come to being selective and the customer will become more intelligent. The customer will look for right platform, right content and right learning experience. That will also see a bit of consolidation going forward in the way we see.”

He adds: “Maybe the accessibility challenges — can be solved with — a very concentrated partnership between the public and private agencies.”   

Explaining the services they provide in the modern education sector, Imarticus Learning COO and founder Sonya Hooja shared: ” We are a B2B and B2C player in the professional education space so what we do on the B2C side is we offer learning programmes anywhere from four to six month long where they will be upskilling or enrolling for placement-oriented programmes in a very specific age skill sets whether is finance or tech or any new age skillset.  From the classroom perspective we got all of these canvasses across the country where learners used to go and undertake these programmes and used to offer the same thing online for those who didn’t want to actually walk into a classroom.”

Highlighting how they had to quickly adapt after being hit by the crisis triggered by the current crisis, she recounts: “All was going well until the COVID hit and our classroom business took a royal beating essentially in March when the order was to shut all of the classrooms and I think that’s when we got hit the hardest and actually we were one of the few players in the industry that were frankly hit for that particular time frame but like everybody here we adapted very very quickly.”


“The online education system has been expedited by two three years in just last two months.”


According to Hoorja, online education system — is always seen as the the way to — augment the traditional learning and the adoption of the online learning — was coming along even before COVID-19, what the pandemic did was— accelerated that e-learning adoption, leading their company to move online within 15 days.

Discussing the way forward and his vision for the country, YuppTV  & YuppMaster founder and CEO Uday Reddy elaborated, “Since I hail form a tier 2 city, I can say that there are students who are still not able to go to the top coaching institutions and get access to the top faculty. These are the challenges I have seen from the day one. We are launching something together with BSNL in India with the vision that the faculty should be available to all the students in the country and then technology we will sort it out.

Having identified the need gaps in the education system which range from lack of affordability and good faculty, he envisioned YuppMaster the streaming platform and the online coaching with the top-notch faculty at affordable prices which his team put together in a span of a month. Echoing the observation advanced by Hooja, he stated: “The online education system has been expedited by two three years in just last two months”


“E-learning is a golden era right now”


Throwing light on initial challenges induced by the Covid-19 crissi and the importance of e-learning platforms, Testbook  CEO and co founder Ashutosh Kumar who believes that we’ve entered into the golden era of E-learning said: “After the lockdown there was a bit of drop in the engagement as most of the students were adjusting with the new normal. But after that we got a very good engagement and enrolment in the course. In the last two months, we have seen more than 18 lakh course enrolment by almost two and a half lakh students. E-learning is a golden era right now”

Aptence CTO Prabhat Pankaj believes that screen time should be less and within a limited screen time, students should benefit as much as possible. Speaking about the solutions they provided during the crisis, he shared: “To help the schools facing the Covid-19 problem, we also created new applications that was based on online conferencing to test engines so they can check their assignments and see their results.”

Next Education India CEO and co founder Beas Dev Ralhan shares that they have always endeavoured to create technology-based solutions for the schools ‘whether it is trying to digitise the books, changing the blackboard to a digital board or helping them to automate some of their processes in their school’

He shared: “We have to make them understanding that conferencing solution is not a classroom solution. Soon they will have to adapt”


“As it was suggested, a lighter version of a Unity 3D on mobile phone and all is being looked at. Even Autodesk is coming up with solutions which will not be like multiple products but everything hand in hand”


Autodesk sr.technical sales specialist, M&E Samit Shetty shared that more emphasis needs to be put on the investment that is needed to ease the creation of content. He elaborated: “The new normal is what we’re hearing these days. In the past four months everyone has adapted to something new including school teachers who were absolutely zero in technology are now taking Zoom classes and Google Meet classes for the kids and they’re pros. Within two weeks’ time, they became pros in handling all these activities.”

He informed that they as a technology company also know the challenges that companies or their employees who are creating content are facing. Speaking about the advancements of technology, he noted: “As it was suggested like a lighter version of a Unity 3D on mobile phone and all is being looked at. Even Autodesk is you know coming up with solutions which will not be like multiple products but everything hand in hand. We at Autodesk are trying to club everything together so we provide a solution to the content creators. You don’t really have to invest tons of money  or look at different software. That’s going to changes in the next couple of months. Unity is game engine because you don’t have to render as the game engine performs in real time.

Shedding light on the way Autodesk aims to provide solutions, he explained: “For the past two years, we have been going to the end-users and asking what they want and what sort of challenges are they facing. Based on that feedback, we’ve brought in new technology and upgraded our tools to meet the end-user requirements”