The Indian education system is infamous for being one of the most competitive and stressful times of a student’s life. When you consider all the testing, examinations and the mark-oriented structure that it enforces on its students, it is no wonder why it has garnered such a reputation. In light of such a scenario and the arrival of the NEET exams in 2013, the future of the formal education sector in India looked all but bleak and drove students and concerned parents alike to sink most of their life savings and countless hours into tuition, training and other forms of exam preparation in hopes of giving their child a shot at a better future. So, it is quite the understatement to say that a solution was much needed, and that solution presented itself in the form of BYJU’S, an online learning platform that turned the tide of education and training in the country as we know it.
The Beginnings: Where It All Started
The online learning platform was the brainchild of Byju Raveendran, a former engineer turned CAT (Common Admission Test) tutor. He started this venture after he found his passion for teaching during his time as a tutor where he helped some friends clear their CAT exams. This cultivated his interest in teaching and slowly the frequency and the size of those classes grew. This prompted him to take a better look at the structure of the syllabus and the education sector in its entirety. Upon seeing the severe gap in what was being taught and what was being retained by students, he took it upon himself to do something about this ever-growing distance between education and learning.
BYJU’S was founded in 2011 under its parent company ‘Think and Learn Pvt Ltd’ with a special focus on the K-12 segment (Kindergarten to 12th Standard). Initially, when the platform was launched it was primarily focused on test preparations, which is a far cry from where it stands today with its vast network of teaching staff, multiple scholarship and training programmes and immersive quality-oriented content. Soon after its launch, BYJU’S launched the ‘BYJU’S Learning App’ in 2015 alongside a re-structured syllabus from 6th to 12th grade and better accessibility to experienced teachers to carry the content forward.
Looking at it today, you might have to think twice about putting it into the start-up category as it currently stands at the top of its league in the Edtech sector. The reason for such a large-scale success is the brand’s approach to education dissemination, which puts all the focus on the content rather than the business aspect of the company.
BYJU'S goes beyond just being another learning app and actually offers a sound, structured syllabus and proper training to prepare students for the trials of the Indian education system.
What Makes BYJU’S So Special?
No doubt at some point or the other you would have come across names such as Meritnation.com, Vedantu, Teachable, Khan Academy, Simplilearn, Schoolwise, and Toppr. These are the names of BYJU’S top competitors in the Edtech sector. Now, in terms of what makes BYJU’S stand out from these industry titans is, as stated before, the approach to how the brand delivers the content. Most Edtech businesses are exactly that, a business before anything else. Yes, the bottom line does matter at the end of the day, but it is not the only way. BYJU’S took the path less travelled and placed education above all else. Despite being a giant in the Edtech industry, education serves as the primary element while the technology is merely the vehicle through which students and teachers understand and share that information.
While adaptive learning is good, necessary even, considering the state of the world in the post-pandemic era and how it has fundamentally altered how we communicate, it is more important that the content being delivered to students is worth their time and energy. Thanks to this way of operating, BYJU’S can compete and even lead the pack by giving students content they can understand and deliver it to them in a fun and engaging way. This improves their levels of information retention and contributes to the learning process rather than relying on the rota system that we have come to know and despise in the Indian education system.
The Core Benefits Of BYJU’S Learning App
The BYJU’S Learning App which was launched in 2015 is a cross-functional online platform more than just an app with a syllabus loaded onto it. The learning prospects cater to two broad categories: exam preparations and grade school subjects for Math and Science related subjects.
In terms of the exam preparations, the students can use the platform to prepare for some of the country’s toughest and most competitive exams like CAT, NEET, IAS, ICSE, CBSE, Government exams and even the State Board exams.
When it comes to the grade school arena, the app covers subjects such as Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for classes 4 to 12 with the recent addition of Social Studies for classes 6 to 8.
Additionally, given the fact that many of these topics can be a little daunting to take on your own, the app acts as a platform that connects aspiring students with some of India’s best teachers including Byju Raveendran himself. The lessons and the syllabus are centred around a comprehensive delivery system that is carried out through an approach that combines engaging video lessons with personalised learning methodologies. Each and every student can adapt their learning process as per their preference and pace as the application also offers adaptive practice, revisions and intensive tests to make sure that students actually retain what they learn.
With that said, let us have a look at some of the features that this wonderful app has to offer:
Easy learning and engaging videos
As mentioned above, the diverse range of subjects and the complex concepts are made easy for students to understand by heavily incorporating visual aids in the form of videos. These video lessons can be customised as per the learner’s convenience and pace. This visual forward approach helps in both learning and retention thereby ensuring a higher level of success as opposed to the traditional verbal dissemination and monotonous classroom setting that students have become accustomed to. Apart from the videos, the app also provides learning and testing in the form of fun games and interactive quizzes that stimulate the mind, rather than numb it with lectures that go on for hours on end.
Repetitive adaptive testing is presented in a fun, gamified form to let students test and reassess their strong and weak points at any point in time. Users can also opt for a chapter-wise test which allows for a compartmentalised understanding of a subject as learners can stop and re-learn a particular chapter that they might find challenging. If they have not understood it, they always have the option to revisit chapters and gain a good understanding of that particular section.
Mapping the learning curve
The application offers a comprehensive analysis of the user’s progress through the learning of any particular subject. It highlights areas of strength and areas where there needs to be improvement through real-time reports. Additionally, the learning curve is mapped relative to the student’s grades and the syllabus in question, be it in the K-12 segment or competitive exams. To help in the mapping and growth curve tracking, each and every chapter is broken down into small and simplified concepts that as a whole make up a comprehensive knowledge pack.
As learners make their way through each lesson, there are bound to be mistakes as is commonplace with the process of learning anything. To address this, the BYJU’S Learning App provides lesson prompts that help learners identify and correct their mistakes through the countless practice sessions.
With the exception of the earlier mentioned video learning approach, the app has also recently added visualised graphs known as ‘Knowledge Graphs’ which is also accessible through the BYJU’S web portal.
Looping in parents
BYJU’S recognises how invested parents are in their child’s education and they know the lengths parents are willing to go to see their child succeed. That is why BYJU’S introduced a relatively new feature called ‘Parent Connect’ on their learning app. This feature helps parents track and understand what their child is learning, the growth curve they have achieved and the areas that need improvements. All this monitoring and feedback happens in real-time.
Addressing gaps in information
Now the question remains, “What if there is a doubt that cannot be clarified through standardised videos or structured chapters on the platform?” Not to worry, BYJU’S has thought of that as well. Since the platform is already connected with such a vast network of highly-qualified teachers, it recently added a feature for one-on-one mentoring in which teachers can instantly clear any and all doubts that learners may have.
This also has the added benefit of learners getting personalised guidance on a subject from a dedicated mentor.
With all these features in-tow, the app stands as a strong and reliable platform on which students can gain a foothold for their future. Beyond all these digitally enhanced features the syllabus side of things stands just as strong. BYJU’S provides a wide range of free study materials, the latest in question papers and even aids in preparing students for school level exams and classroom projects (relative to the subject of course).
BYJU’S Early Learning App
Aside from the main app which generates about 90 per cent of the traffic for the brand, BYJU’S also released an early learning app specifically designed for young minds. The app which was launched in June of 2019 was a project done in collaboration with Disney India. This sub-platform makes use of the beloved Disney characters as vehicles to reach and pique the interest of young children. With the aid of thousands of animated videos, games, stories, interactive quizzes and experimental/workable study sheets, it gears young children up for the trials of student life down the road.
One of the reasons BYJU'S is so successful is that it caters to the entire spectrum of learners, right from kindergarten and all the way up to adults preparing to take competitive exams.
Other Noteworthy Qualities
Something that makes BYJU’S so attractive to such a large audience of parents and students is the freemium approach of the platform. This makes it a very democratised and accessible medium for everyone, whether they want to just try it out and experiment or if they are thinking of investing a considerable amount of time training and preparing through the apps or platform.
For learners who wish to delve deep into the features and benefits that BYJU’s has to offer there is a membership fee that is charged in the form of annual ticket packages which amount to roughly Rs 24,000 a year for class 4 to 10 student and anywhere up to Rs 160,000 for class 11 and 12 competitive exam packages.
Though it may seem high at first glance, it is actually less than the average cost parents spend on tuition classes and with double the results as per their stellar track record. The proof is in the pudding as they say. The BYJU’S learning app itself has been downloaded over 50 million times since its launch.
Another good sign that this platform lives up to the hype is the investors it has backing its venture. Some of the biggest names like General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital India and even the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative have stepped up to the plate and invested a total of $ 2.48 Billion, bringing the total valuation of the company to $ 12 Billion.
Having said that, the most noteworthy aspect of the BYJU’S platform is not the clout, the funding or even the massive growth it has seen over such a short period. It is the fact that despite it being relatively new to the game, it was able to penetrate the Indian Edtech sector like no other before it. The reason behind that is the focus of the brand, which is giving students a chance at an affordable course that prepares them for the gauntlet of exams that the Indian education system will throw at them and helping them rediscover a love of learning that traditional schooling has all but crushed. This just goes to show, there is no compromise when it comes to a quality education and it is for this reason that the BYJU’S platform stands as one of, if not the largest platforms in India today.
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