India has become the second largest market for E-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach US$ 1.96 billion by 2021, with about 9.6 million users from US$ 247 million and around 1.6 users in 2016, as per KPMG report.
Another report from a market research firm Global Market Insights indicates that e-learning is expected to surge at a compound annual growth rate of 21% through 2027 and hit $1 trillion. It includes academic, corporate and government use of e-learning.
In a recent chat with Akshay Munjal, founder and CEO of Hero Vired, discusses about how Hero Vired works with the Indian e-learning ecosystem.
“I grew up in Ludhiana and growing up, I wanted to be a historian, go on archaeological digs, and unearth ancient secrets. As a kid, I read Wilbur Smith and Ken Follett all the time,” Akshay said.
Hero Vired and its inception
“We pondered over how Hero Vired could be unique in an already overcrowded industry. After having spent about 14 years in the education sector, I also had the same traditional mindset that physical delivery of education is the only way forward,” Akshay said.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that online education today can be just as effective, if not more. I had been looking to address some of the problems that India is facing in terms of the employment paradox, he added.
I believe that it is not possible for just one company to be able to solve it. The pandemic and NEP have provided a tailwind for us. NEP has mentioned online universities, while recognizing the pivotal role they can help India in achieving the GER target.
Can you describe your products and programs elaborately?
We offer career-relevant programs, designed to develop learners' competence and industry-readiness for emerging fields, in collaboration with universities. We offer a variety of programs aimed at working professionals with classes over weekends, while others for young professionals who are looking for a more intensive full-time experience.
The programs are designed to provide a premium learning experience through highly engaged one-on-one interactive sessions with all learners for live online classes, doubt clarification and more personalized mentorship sessions.
The Hero Vired Learning Experience platform has been built to offer features that make learning impactful via gamification, interactive support, peer to peer communication, high-quality content and high-engagement-driven online instructor-led classes.
We offer a combination of full-time and part-time programs in Game Design & Development, Finance and Fintech, Entrepreneurial Thinking & Innovation, Full-Stack development, Data Science, AI and ML.
What type of tech and algorithms do you use?
We benchmark ourselves with the best globally. When we developed our LMS - Vlearn, we focused on creating the ability to look at how a student is learning and to measure that learning.
Our LMS gives us the ability to look at improvements on a weekly, fortnightly basis, how the learner is improving, and even for the learner to see whatever areas he/she understood whichever concept he or she is still weak in and whichever areas they need help with.
So, from our perspective, we feel that we have the best LMS not just in India today, but globally and we will continue to keep adding more features to it. We want to get to a level where the LMS suggests the industries one is qualified for once they attain a certain skill level.
Can you describe your business model?
Hero Vired’s model is to provide high quality knowledge and skills benchmarked with global standards at scale. We are trying to solve the problem of deep skills. We would like to provide a viable option for a low-quality master’s degree.
That's a segment where nobody is quite present today. In the future, we will be able to offer hybrid programs.
What are your views on edtech during the pandemic and can you give me your insights on the future?
Before the onset of the pandemic, online learning was supplementing the offline offerings. Usually, it complemented a traditional learning process or substituted live tutors whenever they were not available.
The pandemic accelerated this adoption leading to a swell in usage and subsequently the demand for edtech solutions grew at an extraordinary pace, fast-tracking the digitalization of education by five to ten years. Edtech could revolutionize education with its extra resources, as well as educators and students becoming more open to digital learning.
I also believe that it will blur the line between online and offline. Pre-covid, EdTech was considered as a compliment and not as a supplement to learning. Whatever one learns offline, one could watch those topics online and revise. That has evolved in the last 15 months. Today edtech is not considered a compliment anymore but a supplement to learning.
According to you, what would you like to change about this industry?
I would like to see more focus on measurable outcomes. The industry has grown rapidly, but if quality isn't maintained, people will lose faith, and success will just be a flash in the pan.
What are the recent developments at your company?
- In September, we announced the launch of our B2B arm - Vired for Business. This B2B vertical will assist enterprises in upskilling employees, sourcing talent, recruiting new recruits, implementing internal learning programs, and setting up internal knowledge academies.
- In August, we launched India's first industry-focused Post Graduate Certificate Program in Data Science, Machine Learning & AI, and another in Finance & Financial Technologies, in collaboration with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- Hired over 30 new faculty members for programs in Game Design, Full Stack Development, Data Science, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence and Finance & Financial Technologies.
- Announced the appointment of Dipyaman Sanyal is also the Head of Academics & Learning at Hero Vired, Satyajit Menon as Senior Vice President and Head of People & Culture at Hero Vired, and Srikrishnan V, Vice-President, Enterprise Business, Hero Vired