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Tackling competition, the digital way

The Indian education system is an example of what happens when overpopulation exerts unnecessary strain on the resources available at hand. Students have to compete from the youngest of ages to stay on top of their game.

Zishaan Hayath        Last Updated: April 26, 2018  | 17:58 IST
Tackling competition, the digital way

The Indian education system is an example of what happens when overpopulation exerts unnecessary strain on the resources available at hand. Students have to compete from the youngest of ages to stay on top of their game. As a result of managing this overpopulation, competitive exams come into play.

Government education institutes and private schools are not equipped to handle to prepare students for these exams. Enter - coaching classes. Over the last two decades, the popularity of coaching classes has increased dramatically. Now, the idea of students taking help from coaching class has penetrated deep into our society. But we hardly see anyone analyzing their effectiveness.

Saying that coaching classes have absolutely no advantages would be incorrect. At a coaching class, students learn from the best brains in the area. Often professors from elite colleges end up coaching students from average ones. Moreover, coaching classes are often stricter than colleges and students are not allowed to bunk lectures.

However, do coaching classes do more harm than good? Can digital learning platforms actually solve the problems raised by concerned students on the evils of coaching classes?

Let's have a look at some problems with the coaching class mentality, and if digital learning philosophy can surpass them.

Breeding a generation of rote learners:

With the amount of stress that is given to score higher percentages, coaching classes have developed methods to help students rote learn. Mnemonics to remember concepts can get dangerous if these concepts are not clearly explained first.
How can digital learning platforms help: With digital learning, comes self-paced learning. This means that e-learning platforms can focus on getting the concept understood in their video lectures. The student can go back to the lecture any number of times to understand and remember it.

Dramatically increasing the cost of education:

Coaching classes cost anywhere between 30,000 to 1,00,000 per subject. This, with increasing academic fees burn a hole through the pockets of parents. Talking about the pressure this puts on the student's shoulders needs another discussion altogether.  Often when parents cannot afford these fees, children end up dropping that career choice in its entirety.
How can digital learning platforms help: Since the cost of creating and deploying digital learning for a large audience is far lesser than classroom learning, e-learning costs far lesser than coaching classes. This has ensured that digital learning is affordable across socioeconomic groups. Some digital learning platforms offer a "freemium" structure in which the student can access some parts of a topic for free, and must pay for the rest.

Lack of personalization:

Even though the student teacher ratio is smaller at coaching classes, every student does not receive any personalized learning. A group of students is still expected to understand the same concept in the same method of explanation and in the same duration of time. Also, all students are given the same set of questions as assessments. Some students might find these difficult, while others might find them extremely easy. Those who find it difficult may end up losing inspiration to study. Those who find them easy might stop growing.

How can digital learning platforms help:

New age digital learning platforms use Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence to analyse the study patterns of every individual students. Tests are tailor made for each student  based on his/her strengths and weaknesses. This ensures that students do not lose hope, and face the right level of challenging questions to keep them growing and improving.

Not allowing time for extracurricular activities:

Since most coaching classes happen directly after school, students do not have time to plan any extracurricular activities. They do not have any respite from studying and their minds are already tired, lowering their grasping capabilities and attention spans. Students end up stressed and tired throughout the day. This increase in stress level has also led to an increase in depression and student suicides across the country.

How can digital learning platforms help: With e-learning, students can plan their day according to their convenience. They do not need to rush anywhere before or after school, but have time to take a breather and relax before they begin studying again. This time is essential in giving the brain time to de-stress.

Since digital learning platforms are facilitators of helping students according to their time and convenience, they provide support and comfort for a student during a time of stress and anxiety. The internet has made information extremely accessible to both coaching classes and e-learning platforms alike. What makes or breaks the deal is how that information is delivered to the student.

Zishaan Hayath is the CEO & co-founder at Toppr.com 

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