Digital learning; an auxiliary to JEE classroom coaching

The progressive
impact of the technological industry is global. Today, there is a presence of
virtual money, smart phones are packed with features, and computers are getting
faster. The JEE coaching industry of India is slowly transforming itself to
benefit from this technological boom.

Gupta
Tutorials, one of the major JEE coaching institutes in Indore, endorsed virtual
education in 2013, after 15 years of classroom coaching. Another institute,
Motion Education Pvt. Ltd., is gradually shifting from classroom learning to
digital learning. Other players have started operations only in the digital space,
like Kshitij Education India, Plancess Eduventures, etc.

Students face several problems while preparing for the JEE.
Some students change cities in search of a better coaching institute; they leave
the luxury of their houses and move to hostels or rented accommodation. They make
an effort to survive on mess food, miss celebrating festivals with their
families, and try to find comfort in unknown cities. However, not everybody has
the option of joining a coaching institute, because of the expensive fees. In
digital learning, students can subscribe to the available coaching packages and
study as per their own schedules.

Sundeep Gupta, Founder of M Learning, a digital-only
coaching startup, spoke to PaGaLGuY about his shift from classroom to digital
coaching. “In my 15 year teaching career, I saw that sometimes even promising
candidates failed as they became over-dependent on coaching. Students spent a majority
of their time in travelling to school, home, and coaching and got less time to
do self-study. To reduce all this stress, I started to focus on digital
learning.”

Students have different reasons for joining digital
coaching. Tapan Kumar Sur is a retired IAF officer whose son, Tanmay, is
preparing for JEE through M Learning’s digital coaching programme. He said, “Local
teachers were unable to guide my son properly, as most of his queries always
remained unsolved. But with the way M-Learning is patterned, my son is able to
understand and decipher all of his queries.” Another student, Ateeba Basit
Qadri, a Class 11 student, enrolled for digital coaching because of the unavailability
of good classroom coaching in her hometown, Srinagar. “It is not feasible for
international students to move to India for JEE coaching, digital learning bridges
this gap for them,” said Yash Vardhan, Head of Sales and Business Development
for Kshitij Education India.

Classroom coaching fees vary from Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 80,000
per annum. On the other hand, digital learning kits vary from Rs 8,000 to Rs
30,000 per course only. Another plus point for digital learning is the ease of
expansion available to them. For classroom coaching, expansion is limited due
to space and resource constraints, which do not apply to digital learning
companies.  

On a sobering note, not all students are comfortable with
digital coaching and its format. “One of the major hindrances of online
learning in India is internet connectivity. It is not about rural areas but
even some urban areas don’t get good internet speeds, which restricts students
from using online coaching,” Vardhan explains. Shoeb Khan, a resident of Dubai who
uses digital coaching for JEE preparation, said, “Digital learning is quite low
in cost when I compare it with JEE coaching in my city. But many digital
learning kits require an activation license for the software they are based on,
like Adobe or Office. They have certain restrictions, which means the files
cannot be copied to other devices, and they come with an expiry date of 2 years.”

On grounds of adaptability, digital learning is still way
behind classroom coaching. “Parents feel that online preparation is ambiguous
as there is no direct or physical interaction between teacher and student,”
said Ankit Kesarwani, Affiliate Marketing Manager at Plancess Eduventures.

“We want IIT aspirants to have equal opportunities and
chances unlike classroom coaching. There is an imbalance in classroom coaching,
some students get better teachers and others don’t,” said Kesarwani.

Nav Pathak, an IIT aspirant from Bangalore, joined both classroom
coaching and digital coaching. He said, “I use digital coaching for a sort of
associate learning, which helps in making my basics strong. That then helps me
to prepare myself for what is taught in the classroom coaching.”

To come up with better infrastructure facilities for
classroom coaching in villages or tier-II cities will be costly. But with the Digital
India campaign in full force hurdles like poor penetration of internet, low
internet speed can be resolved certainly. Digital coaching can boost the
learning standards of students across the country.

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