As technology advances, we see education progressing towards a better phase. With an increasing number of students now possessing smartphones and laptops, education has become more affordable and accessible for the learners, allowing them to gain knowledge at their own pace and capability. In one of our previous blogs on applications of Artificial Intelligence in Education Sector, we discussed how learning is gradually shifting towards the digital platform.
Online education has started overtaking the conventional classroom approach. When we think of Online education, particularly in the Indian context, there’s a handful of platforms that cross our mind from Udemy, Unacademy to Vedantu, and of course the platform leading the Indian EdTech sector. That’s right, I’m talking about BYJU’s!
The Origin of BYJU
Hailing from Azhikode Kerala, Byju Raveendran had originally been an engineer in a UK based shipping company. Upon attaining a 100 percentile twice in his IIM’s, the man realized the depth of his intellect and started tutoring students for their Maths exams. This was just the beginning of a long fruitful journey ahead which would play a crucial step in revolutionizing the education industry.
From starting out, 15 years back, by setting up free maths workshops to train students to crack their college entrances to founding the world's most prominent and favored Ed-Tech company, Byju Raveendran, has indeed come a long way.
And thus began Byju’s, the rapidly-expanding Indian EDTech company which has set up a profitable business by seeking advantage of the zest of Indians for high-quality education.
Founded in 2011 as Think and Learn Pvt Ltd with the plan to facilitate online lessons to students, in 2015 the company launched an app, "BYJU's The Learning App" which has over 4.7 million paid subscribers i.e, students who pay $170 a year for accessing maths and science tutorials as well as game-based practice tests, to assist them in mastering the academic curriculum for years 1 to 12 and also competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, and IAS.
The company operates on a “freemium” model, which basically implies that the students can download the app and access some limited content on their phones for a certain short period before needing to subscribe to gain full access. Recently BYJU'S has also collaborated with Disney to launch the Early Learn App in June 2019, which is a special offering from BYJU'S for students in classes 1-3 and features Disney’s timeliness characters. After acquiring White Hat Jr back in August 2020, the EdTech firm is presently in talks to acquire Aakash Educational Services.
Speaking of Disney, you can also check out our blog on how Disney uses Behavioral Analytics.
What makes BYJU different?
BYJU’S learning method aims at making its users fall in love with learning. BYJU’S – The Learning App serves the most effective teachers, technology, articles, media for ensuring a flawless, fascinating learning experience for every student. Below are a few aspects which make BYJU'S different from other such platforms, from an IBEF report.
What makes BYJU'S different?
The company specializes in providing a personalized learning experience for each of its users based on their size and style of learning. The app blends videos, interactives, and teachers for bringing concepts to life. About an average of 40 minutes is being spent by a student on the app every day.
Developing a new section of self-paced as well as active learners where the students are encouraged to gain knowledge by themselves, made possible by the providing of content, media, and technology.
BYJU’S use of technology
“We don’t allow learning gaps to fester. Corrections, actionable feedback, recommendations, and custom learning paths are created for the user. With technology as an enabler, we focus on developing learning programs that will cater to the unique learning requirements of every student in India and abroad,” - Byju’s Chief Product Officer Ranjit Radhakrishnan
In the video added below, Ranjit Radhakrishna, Chief Product Officer - Byju's talks about the critical success factors for product leaders.
1. Inculcating Artificial Intelligence
The company has recently taken an early initiative in this direction by acquiring a firm that brings them a small team that specializes in this. Back in 2019, Think and Learn acquired a Palo Alto-based company - Osmo, that developed educational games for young kids. The $120 million acquisition deal fetched Byju’s a whole group of experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning, under the leadership of Osmo’s co-founder Pramod Sharma.
This initiative promises a hopeful AI future for the BYJU's where the firm can even experiment with Augmented Reality as well as Virtual Reality to observe how these technologies can be inculcated onto the BYJU'S app for making learning more useful for the end result student.
BYJU’S use of technology
2. Leveraging Deep Knowledge Graphs to develop personalized learning
As per an interview with Byju Raveendran conducted by Forbes India, he emphasized that the heart of the BYJU’S personalization engine would be its extensive learning profile. This is made possible through deep Knowledge Graphs of over one lakh concepts and relationships which have been developed to create personal learning journeys through elements like videos, questions, adaptive flows, quizzes, flashcards, and so forth.
In addition to this, the learning content also depends on various other parameters. For instance, whenever a student embarks on their learning journey, an extensive learning profile is created for every student to help customize their whole experience. This enables Byju's to personalize the learning experience on the basis of the strengths and weaknesses of the student, the student's pace, and his/her needs.
The learning content is identified at the sub-micro concept level which assists the algorithms in developing a flawless learning curve for the student so that the student feels challenged, yet also feels encouraged. If they commit a mistake, BYJU'S detects the correct remedial approach to bolster the learning experience of the student. This largely resembles how a personal tutor would attempt to tackle the learning gaps of his students, but this becomes even more useful as it is led by deep insights and is also customized.
3. Employing Data Analytics
The content creation process in Byju's is highly based on the data analytics at work since a lot of data and insights are generated in house. For instance, If a sizable section of students is committing errors in a specific concept, Byju's can go back and affix easier videos, additional content formats, and simpler questions to enable the system to develop a smoother learning curve. The students end up grasping the difficult areas of the concept but they absorb it slowly and without getting discouraged.
As emphasized by Raveendran, the company also observes the particular learning content identified to those concepts and continuously updates the criteria so that learning paths for new students are easier in the future. When the firm notices any common patterns emerging across a segment of students, it is able to facilitate those insights and the content team alters or affixes new content for dealing with such scenarios. The usefulness of all content modes and modules are continuously being examined to undergo improvement.
BYJU'S in-house analytics systems seize millions of data points each day. The insights assist in areas like improving the company's features or developing highly contextual recommendations. The variety of student profiles also gives the company a plan on what can be improved or added to the overall content.
The company employs information gathered from the app as the primary data, with logged-in web usage to add to it, for enhancing the user experience. The interactions of the user with websites, emails, etc are kept track of by a separate system that is used for enhancing marketing automation as well as customer behavior analysis.
As the company expands its operations to include more towns and cities as well as overseas, its founders now have the necessary means for investing in developing an entirely new model of education, by employing Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, cloud-based analytics as well as Augmented and Virtual Reality And with a massive level of subscribers and further expanding, Byju’s will definitely have the information it needs to feed its AI attempts. We can anticipate a future version of Byju’s app which customizes itself for each individual learner-student.