Newer technologies such as virtual reality can help improve learning experiences in the $100-billion education sector in the country, panellists at the News Corp VCCircle Education Investment Summit said on Thursday.
“We have been always working on a model to better online classrooms. What we look at is if we are able to offer a similar yet better environment to students in an online platform as compared to offline traditional classrooms,” said Aditya Malik, managing director and CEO at TalentEdge, at a panel discussion on re-imagining education. The company is also working on a new artificial intelligence-oriented approach to measure learning outcomes, he said.
TalentEdge is an ed-tech platform that offers online certification courses and online professional certificate programmes for working professionals. The company has forged partnerships with top corporate houses, business schools and universities in the country to expand its offerings.
Raman Talwar, CEO and founder of virtual reality-based startup Simulanis, said newer technologies such as VR will assist institutions and teachers in explaining theory or concepts better, enhancing students’ learning experience.
“Imagine if it was possible to demonstrate deep-sea drilling in class or teaching students how to fix a satellite in space. The possibilities are endless and VR, AR will lead the innovation in this space,” Talwar said. He added that augmented reality (AR) might see more uptick as it is cheaper and accessible via smartphones.
“AR, sometimes called mixed reality, can go a long way in helping kids with their education. Parents can also invest in it as AR is available via smartphones,” Talwar said.
Amit Mahensaria, co-founder and CEO of ed-tech startup Impartus, said students are more open to attending virtual classrooms and taking online courses than before.
“There is a fine line of distinction between must-have and good-to-have products. Virtual classroom experiences are better for some students and once we get a foot in the door, people buy it as an experiment. Later, as students adapt or see its potential, they become lifelong customers,” he explained.
However, ed-tech startups using newer technologies haven’t seen much investor interest.
“While the number of investments has decreased in the $3-4 billion segment, the ticket size of the investment has increased. Education is a game of patience and exits can only happen much later than seven years,” said Rohit Manglik, CEO at EduGorilla.
Malik of TalentEdge was of a different opinion. “Most companies lose out on investor interest as they lose focus on sales and revenue generation. These companies are so busy perfecting their technology that they forget about the marketing budgets of the sales team. If your business is not making money, no investor will invest,” he said.
Echoing Malik, Talwar pointed out that hardware for newer technologies generally takes a longer time to reach Indian shores compared to the US. “This is why we are always lagging behind,” he said.