Technology has brought with it sweeping changes to virtually every sector and business, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the field of education. Over the last decade, the process of learning has been completely overhauled. Resources and learning material have shifted to the cloud, classes have gone digital, and pen and paper have been replaced by smartphones and laptops. At the forefront of this change have been a wave of edtech apps.
But while plenty of these services focus solely on providing a supplementary educational experience, there are a select group of trailblazers that stand above the pack. Through the incorporation of unique features and options, they go beyond the classroom and provide a more holistic learning experience to both students and working professionals, offering an entire new suite of possibilities while setting the stage for a lifetime of learning.
Here are four of the leading edtech companies reshaping the field of online learning through their pioneering offerings:
Cambly was founded in 2012 by Kevin Law and Sameer Shariff, two former employees of Google who realised the impact that talking to native speakers of a language had on their own language skills. To that end, Cambly provides a two-sided platform through which individuals interested in learning English can interact directly with native language tutors through a conversational video chat. Through the press of a button, users can instantly connect with a tutor online or through their mobile phones or tablets. What truly sets the app apart is the opportunity for cultural exchange that it offers through its relaxed and fun learning environment.
By having organic conversations that focus on the flow of dialogue over grammatical niceties, users have an opportunity to put their language skills to active use. The ability to speak with tutors from different English-speaking nations also provides an opportunity to absorb the nuances and idiosyncrasies of their speech patterns, components that often go lacking in more traditional systems. This is especially useful for individuals seeking to immigrate to other countries, who are required to speak English fluently as part of their immigration procedure. Many of Cambly’s users have gone on to score highly in standard language tests such as IELTS and TOEFL.
Cambly is currently used by students from over 130 countries, with the largest proportion of users coming from the Middle East, China, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, and Korea.
iAugmentor is a technology-enabled assessment and learning platform for personalised, adaptive, and experiential learning. Launched in 2016 by Pratik Marwah, Sameer Sikka, and Arindam Sen, it aims to augment the skills of students through a process of continuous assessment and feedback via the generation of a real-time, on-the-go learning roadmap. The spark behind the business was the realisation that the vast majority of India’s engineering graduates were unemployable – they either lack soft and cognitive skills, analytical and quantitative skills, or communication skills, especially when it came to English.
In order to address these issues, iAugmentor brings together technology, human intervention, and a wide array of educational activities in order to make the process of learning more effective, intimate, and accountable. Key to these goals are the incorporation of its AI-driven and gamified Learning Management System (LMS) with a dedicated human mentor. Learners are encouraged to upload videos of set goals and tasks, on which they receive personalised inputs specific to their needs. This is reinforced by an immersive learning atmosphere that incorporates graphics, haptic feedback, videos, animation, movies, quizzes, games, and simulations.
Gradeup is an online preparation platform for competitive exams, helping aspirants prepare for a wide list of tests including the SSC, Banking, Railways, Teaching, JEE, GATE, NEET, UPSC, Defense and State level exams. By establishing and overseeing exam-specific communities of students and mentors, and providing them with a platform through which they can share doubts and queries, interactively learn, and compete with each other through quizzes and mock tests, it has proved itself invaluable to millions of individuals across the country.
Founded in 2013 by Sanjeev Kumar, Shobhit Bhatnagar and Vibhu Bhushan, Gradeup also utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide live online courses from some of India’s best faculties. This method of peer-to-peer learning integrated with structured learning options has seen Gradeup build a userbase of over 20 million exam aspirants, with a success rate for its users that is approximately two to three times greater than the average.
Describing itself as a multilingual instant doubt clearing app, Doubtnut offers free solutions to math and science queries to users who send snapshots of their doubts to the platform. Based in Gurgaon, the app helps students between the sixth grade and high-school levels in solving and understanding any questions they might have. After students share a picture of their problem through its app, website, or WhatsApp, Doubtnut uses ML and image recognition to deliver a short video which shows the answer and walks them through the steps to solve it.
This allows Doubtnut to directly tackle the lack of individual attention and doubt resolution that plagues the Indian school system, allowing it to acquire over 13 million monthly active users on its platform. Over 90 percent of these users come from Tier-II and –III cities and towns across India, as a result of its availability in 11 regional languages. As of 2020, Doubtnut has provided answers to over 250 million doubts across subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.