The Covid-19 outbreak threw a wrench amidst the cycle of a majority of the global trade, industries, and sectors. The lockdowns imposed as a response came with a lot of restrictions, and these restrictions seemingly brought the interconnected wheel of the world to a screeching halt. Faced with this drastic change, we dubbed this state of impasse as the “new normal”.
But humans are very adaptable creatures, as can be inferred from our six million long journey from quadruped apes to modern digital natives. We weren’t going to let things like ‘stopping of the wheel’ bother us too much now, were we? As businesses and industries were and still are collapsing all over the globe, we quickly started adapting our lifestyles and adopting new norms to function in this new world.
The education industry faced many challenges in the face of this pandemic as a serious doubt was cast on the effective delivery of knowledge from educators to learners. Online education had been gaining traction in the past decade as more and more individuals, institutions, and communities started to observe the benefits of this mode of education. But Covid-19 truly pushed it to the forefront as educators and learners all over the world had to set aside traditional learning mode, and pick up digital learning and blended learning modes. However, in a country like India, the widespread implementation of digital learning is still an uphill battle.
From when Indian schools and colleges closed in 2020 up until now, we’ve had a lot of trouble educating our children at home through online education. For children, parents, and schools alike, this is a novel experience. Due to lack of infrastructure, necessary skills, resources, and money, many schools started using the popular messaging application WhatsApp to provide education, send assignments, reminders, circulars, etc. by making one or multiple groups.
But asking questions, receiving, or submitting assignments, giving exams on WhatsApp has become a very tedious task for the parents. Finding the specific message or notices or assignments from unlimited chat flows in the WhatsApp group is tough. If chats get deleted, it becomes nearly impossible to find the previous messages in chats. And the major concern is privacy, every parent or student have the access to see the numbers of other students or parents. This is where the Kolkata-based SnapLearn comes to the rescue.
Learning through WhatsApp
SnapLearn launched ‘SnapLearn for Schools’ to address the aforementioned problems and study efficiently through WhatsApp. Through this platform, schools can manage teachers, students, circulars, tests, assignments on WhatsApp efficiently. SnapLearn facilitates solutions to doubts from experts and educators from around the world. The company always works towards updating their database, providing latest and distinct answers from different experts for the same doubt.
The software is free-to-use and operationally easy – just send image of your doubt to WhatsApp number and get answer within seconds with contact details of replying experts.
‘Snaplearn for Schools’ works on a single WhatsApp number. If a teacher sends an assignment, lecture, exam, or notice to a particular class or individual, only assigned students of that class receive that message in real-time. And when a student submits his assignments only the concerned teachers receive that. Moreover, parents can search the history of assignments, lectures, etc., on WhatsApp so they are not afraid of chats deleting.
It’s a chatbot on WhatsApp through which no parent or student can see other’s phone numbers, works, assignments. It is the first of its kind and is able to help thousands of schools in India which lack IT infrastructure and skills to handle e-learning.
Snaplearn also provides homework help, tutor search, answer search and doubt solving solutions on WhatsApp for school students in 13 languages. Millions of students and tutors can join, teach, share, and learn without compromising privacy, conflicting interests, or disturbing learning/ teaching of any other user on a single WhatsApp number.
SnapLearn even gives a facility to students and tutors to have private tuitions on WhatsApp. It gives ample opportunities to local tutors to earn livelihood and expand their tutoring business.
A Road Not Taken
The company’s journey started with the realization that though most schools and colleges have migrated to online mode of teaching-learning during the pandemic utilizing various platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, etc., these mediums require consistent high-speed internet which is expensive and often not available to the majority of students and schools in rural and semi-urban areas.
The founders thought of offering a platform which not only enabled teachers and learners to overcome this limitation but also tried to offer multiple language support for vernacular mediums. They chose WhatsApp, which is easily and cheaply available to most of the students and teachers, to overcome such issues and problems. They started Snaplearn – easing learning through WhatsApp without comprising the privacy of students and teachers. “We have hundreds of students and teachers on this platform already, are we are looking to expand further,” said the Founder and CEO – Shyam Manohar Singh. “Currently, we have been partnered with FuseSchool – a UK-based educator which teaches around 100 million students through digital modes like YouTube.”
The Inspiring Leader
The CEO and Founder, Shyam Manohar Singh, is a new age entrepreneur and has experience in many fields like equipment manufacturing, mechanical, and IT industry. He had a dream to provide the same quality of education to underprivileged students which high-class private school students get. So, he always does research and works in this area to explore the best models to educate them.
Dynamics of the EdTech Sector
The EdTech sector makes a major business sector in India as massive adoption of online education post the Covid-19 outbreak that brought with itself lockdown of most institutions including schools, colleges, and professional institutes. Though this is a massive market and many EdTech firms are contributing to this market, a large part of India is still untouched by this development. The major concern is the misbalancing of 4 Cs – Cost, Communication, Carrier, and Contents. Many EdTech firms focus on content and communication, but cost and carrier (device or gadget) are still a challenge for reaching rural or underprivileged children. However, the EdTech business is attracting big money from investors as lakhs of students – from schools to colleges – have moved to online classes due to this pandemic since last year, and it is unknow how long it will go. So, EdTech sector is expected to grow exponentially in coming years.
The Unique Solution
SnapLearn has developed two products, each being the first of its kind in the world. The first one provides content and learning management system on WhatsApp for schools and facilitates tutorials. The second one gives students the flexibility to ask questions in image or text form. If the student is not satisfied with the answer provided by the chatbot, he/she may ask for another answer for the same question and some of the most qualified tutors give the answer again or make a video to explain that particular question well.