By Chethan Reddy
Education has always been one of the most valuable investments a person can make in his life as the returns of a high-quality education are vast and include not only higher earnings, but also higher likelihood of being married, owning a house, having a job and much more. Through education, a slum-dweller’s son can become a Fortune CEO. A chai-wala can become the Prime Minister. Education is what allows people to largely take control of their own destiny and shape their lives the way they see fit. It is a basic human right.
Despite how important education is and how all humans should be entitled to as much education as they want, high-quality higher education has largely remained out of reach for the great majority of the population. Consider that in India, only 10% of the population has access to higher education. Additionally, tuition rates for college have been skyrocketing and further pushed education out of the reach of the common man and into the clutch of the elite few.
MOOCs were supposed to change all this. Until they didn’t. Using the highly democratic internet as a distribution platform, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were once thought to be the great equalizer when it came to making education accessible to all. The idea was to allow University Professors and other experts to publish their class material and lectures online to allow anyone who wanted to learn from these reputable instructors to have that freedom.
Unfortunately, however, these online courses were thoroughly underwhelming. At first, these were simply classroom lectures from University courses that were posted online for anyone to view for free or a very low fee. The idea was very popular-thousands and thousands of people would register for the courses. These numbers didn’t tell the whole story, however. Despite the high enrollment rates, most MOOCs have incredibly depressing drop-off rates nearing 97%. Even the most popular online learning platforms like Udemy and Skillshare average around 80% drop-off.
Furthermore, these online classes fail because they are highly impersonal. Teachers rarely, if ever, interact with their ‘students’, so there is no way for students to receive feedback to ascertain if they are learning the material correctly. Feedback is crucial for effective learning. Other than the most talented and brightest students, most students need help to understand difficult, university-level academic concepts and gain mastery over them. They do not allow for this type of interaction and are thus not effective in truly educating the students.
The second phase of MOOCs included platforms like Coursera and Udemy which tried to increase the interaction and feedback provided in these online classrooms by introducing features like quizzes and homework, as well as encouraging the students to “follow along” with the class in real time during a set window of dates. As mentioned before, these types of online classes also have abysmal retention rates and still are lacking in the level of customized feedback and instruction that is essential to help students of all ability levels to succeed. There is simply no way for even the most capable and well-intentioned instructor to be able to personally manage thousands of students who are enrolling in the online classes and give them a personalized education.
This chasm between the need for a highly scalable and affordable online education model that would allow those who were previously priced out of higher education to attend and learn and the need for a personalized classroom learning environment like what you find in a University left a gaping hole in the market which is now being filled by a truly disruptive EdTech startup called Talentedge.
Talentedge takes what is good about the Internet and modern technology and blends it seamlessly with what is great about traditional classroom learning. The platform has partnered up with institutions such as IIM Kashipur to ensure high-quality course material is produced that will provide its students with a first-tier educational service. This, in and of itself, is nothing new, however. Where TalentEdge really takes it to the next level is in its brilliant use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to closely simulate the classroom environment and make personalized learning available around the world.
Talentedge’s AI is able to intelligently identify every individual student’s strengths and weaknesses and recommend remedial coursework that would increase the student’s aptitude. Additionally, students are able to get individual help on lessons and coursework through the use of Talentedge Avatar, which is an intelligent chatbot which can respond to the most frequently asked questions that students have. This greatly reduces the workload required of an instructor hoping to take his teaching to the world. In the case that a question cannot be satisfactorily answered by a bot, the question is then routed to a real instructor to be answered. The AI can also track a student’s attendance and level of engagement. The software takes advantage of the computer’s camera feature and snaps a picture of the student every 5 seconds, which is then analyzed to measure levels of engagement, confusion, etc to help modify the lesson to be able to maximize the student’s learning. By combining the strengths of traditional learning and online learning, Talentedge can boast a staggering 95% course completion rate.
The barriers in the world today all seem to be crumbling down. Whether it is female equality in the workplace, gay rights, interracial marriages, or anything else, what once seemed like insurmountable hurdles are now giving way to a “flat” world where everyone is at liberty to guide his own destiny, regardless of the circumstances of his birth. Talentedge continues that trend by promising to revolutionize the education space and bring top-tier education to people all over the world.
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