iAugmentor: Ushering a new wave of tech-congruity amongst students
With progress of time, materialization of data-driven education technologies has triggered essential changes in how school and college students as well as professionals seeking new skills approach learning. Digitization of content and hyper augmentation of teaching tools has ushered in this revolution, with eminent institutions eschewing the features of digitally powered education into their curriculum.
India forms an important faction in the global education industry and has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. Unfortunately; the nation witnesses an ongoing divide between education and employment. In fact, Unemployment rate in India has shot up to a five-year high of 5 per cent, proving that we are in an all-time high when it comes to lack of jobs. This can have its origins from the undue emphasis on rote learning, propagated by our preaching’s of our learned Brahmins. The lack of practical knowledge and sensitized work skills lead to this dearth that is burgeoning as we speak. Learners of the millennial are born in an age of abundant access to information and services, enabled through technological innovations like smart phones. It is really important to provide the need to reach one step ahead and also burden with unnecessary readings or activities
iAugmentor, with its programs to enhance the development of students, comes as a life saver here. Started by two friends, Arindam Sen and Pratik Marwah, observing a yawning gap between the poor education system and high demand for skilled employees, iAugmentor is a technology-enabled assessment and learning platform for personalised, adaptive and experiential learning.
Initially worried by the magnitude of the problem, the duo decided to meet faculty from the various engineering colleges and take stock of the situation. Their findings were concentrated on the lack of progress on the employability graph of graduated students, despite institutions already running personality development programmes.
They brainstormed, with a couple of other friends to reach to the root of the malady. The lack of tailor-made inputs was the focal cause; rather the student population was subjected to general tips on personality development. Soft skills are integral to an overall development, alongside providing the mandated edge over competition. Due to its all encompassive nature, Arindam and Pratik decided to bridge this gap with the aid of technology. Thus, in February 2016, the duo, along with three other co-founders ‑ Sarvangya Mishra, Ankit Ruia and Sameer Sikka ‑ launched iAugmentor, with determined efforts to make a significant and impactful difference in the sphere of education and skill development.
“The idea behind this platform is to provide personalised mentoring to individuals in a tryst to boost their skill sets,” says Pratik, 28, COO and Co-Founder of iAugmentor. He further adds that, this platform is the marriage of technology, human intercession and a whole array of learning activities under one- roof with an objective of making learning more effective, immaculate and accountable.
It enables learners to upload their videos, on which personalised inputs are provided. Earlier, college curriculums were largely about theoretical lessons without much attention given to grooming and other life skills. The platform creates immersive learning that interacts with the learners’ real world and context, enlisting a thorough use of graphics, haptic feedback, video, animation, movies, theatre, quizzes, games, simulations and instantaneous feedback. An annual subscription of login is sold to College students where they can practice the interview and presentation skills including assessments and personal interviews, based on which apt feedback is doled out. Its target audience is formulated to be students in tier II and III colleges across India and other developing countries like Egypt and more .The platform follows a B2B model and has collaborated with around five colleges, where it has registered around 3,500 students; with registration charge is Rs 1,000 for each student.
The progress so far
The platform has so far invested Rs 20 lakh, with revenue doubling in a short span of time. In fact, within 7 months of inception, the organization clocked revenue of almost $150,000 (Rs.1 Crore) with 5000 subscriptions, alongside expanding into Dubai & Egypt, respectively. Its major investment goes into developing specific content for various learning mediums such as videos, animations, stories and cartoons to make it more engaging for the user. These features have been implemented in the field of education for the first time in India. The other area where this investment came of use was in development and deployment of technology like facial and audio analysis to simulate real time inputs to learners. iAugmentor had received seed funding from individuals across India and Egypt, as of recently.
The success of the platform can be gauged with a simple numeric that users have been provided close to 3000+ quizzes and are seen to spend an average of 12-15 minutes on the application. One of the biggest accolade that iAugmentor has received was being selected by the International Telecommunication Union as one of the most innovative start-ups in capacity building and were called to present the concept in the world convention in Nairobi, Kenya.
Post success in the educational world, the organization has been exporting the entire program to the corporate factions to assess and appraise the workforce using the iAugmentor application, where they have diversified themselves, targeting specific skill sectors like Call centres, Hospitality and Retail.
“We will also lay emphasis on fine-tuning the analytics and inputs provided by the system to ensure precise and personalised mentoring for every learner,” says Pratik.
Comes with its share of challenges
According to Pratik, as the attention span of an average learner is minimum, along with the abundance of social mediums to distract, the platform needs to pursue the path of constant innovation, developing varied ways of increasing customer engagement through a bounty of personalised learning mediums. Owing to the symbiotic reliance on technologies like AR/VR/audio and video analysis/big data analysis/AI, the platform requires to be updated on a daily basis, considering developments in these domains.
In the education sector, digital divide is often seen in its prominence, with students of certain sections lacking in access and consequently, expertise of internet. Its chief focus is to implement a positive learning environment through eliminating the gap. It is very important to create a safe and apt online environment where students can learn and implement the teachings successfully, making it iAugmentor’s primary responsibility to aid the educational system in whichever way feasible.
Another major drawback is the insufficient time spent on the poorly developed learning experiences. This builds an important space for collaboration amongst the platform, industry specialists and College faculty or trainers to be facilitated through iAugmentor’s invaluable TTT (Train the trainer program).
Eying the future
In the upcoming months, iAugmentor intends to focus on launching more learning modules to develop the employability quotient of learners. In addition, it will continue to focus on enhancing the depth & expanse of existing modules by introducing new learning mediums and technological features. Through these efforts, they aim to provide a more wholesome learning experience to both, learners and enablers. Geographically, the organization is aiming to expand its footprint across India by selling logins to more Colleges, apart from strengthening its touch base in Dubai and Egypt.
iAugmentor’s next target is to setup an Research& Development lab where most brilliant minds from the tech space shall be invited to work on the organization’s technology roadmap of bringing in Augmented Reality and virtual reality in learning, while successfully commercialize learning through the application, extensively.