Taking learning to screens, across the globe

Taking learning to screens, across the globe

October 28, 2016 | Business Line

In times when MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) enjoy favour across the world, even full-time postgraduate degrees are being offered online in markets like the US and UK. However, what’s been missing in India is the delivery of high quality teaching to students in a way that they can access lectures even outside the campus.

Education in India

Higher education in India is still campus-based with some institutes offering distance learning as an alternative. With Impartus Innovations reportedly already helping more than 75 institutions in the country deliver teaching via video, many students enrolled at these institutions can access the company’s flagship product Lecture Capture on a range of devices.

Amit Mahensaria, co-founder of Impartus Innovations, says: “We’ve moved from zero to 75-80 per cent market share in India, but even that is small considering the larger base to tap is more than 10,000 institutes.”

Advantage institutes

Impartus has institutions paying a subscription fee on the basis of number of classrooms enabled with its solutions.

IFIM B-School, for example, has reportedly made investments of about a crore, in supporting infrastructure, including solutions by Impartus.

The institute’s relationship with the company is well over a couple of years old, according to a Sanjay Padode, Secretary (Centre for Developmental Education), IFIM B-School.

“Around 27 of the institute’s classrooms are enabled by video-based solutions. We’ve received higher enrolments from students outside the city, but beyond the impact on admissions, benefits are seen to be higher in the learning aspect of it all,” Padode shares.

He adds that while students don’t have to take notes anymore, they can also access the same lessons or modules taught by other teachers; they can also view old lectures before they choose an elective.

R&D partnership

For over two years, Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI) has been “developing technology for learning platforms” in its research lab.

According to Manish Gupta, Vice-President and Director, XRCI’s partnership with Impartus is still in early stages and the three-year agreement on a revenue-sharing basis is “reasonably open ended” in terms of R&D undertaken.

“We were focussed on the engineering education side of things, but on a quick survey of players in the higher education space, Impartus stood out. They already had a presence in institutions across India, while we’re strong in areas like machine learning and other unique capabilities,” Gupta says.

What’s already possible on Lecture Capture, thanks to the deal with XRCI, is automatic indexing so that students find the lecture of their choice; XRCI’s software reportedly also identifies sub-topics. Mahensaria claims that Impartus has enjoyed growth of 100-200 per cent per annum, as well as month-on-month growth of 10-15 per cent.

Meanwhile, IFIM B-School’s Padode sees that teachers are motivated to make lectures interesting; students get to give their feedback on lectures.

Funding

Impartus received Series A funding of more than $4 million from Kaizen Private Equity after bootstrapping the company for more than a year.

The funds are being used for further product development, international expansions, and sales and marketing.

“In Kenya, an untapped market for us, we’re working with a channel partner. We’ve started marketing in South East Asia and East Africa. In Malaysia, we’re investing heavily because we’re also looking at the country as a base for strategic investments in the larger region. But at the moment, more than 90 per cent of our revenues come from India,” Mahensaria reveals.