CEO & co-founder of eCoursys Solutions Private Limited, Manjunath Rokkada has 18+ years of experience of IT industry in various MNC companies including over 7+ years in USA. He has rich experience in building industry-ready products with latest technological advancements. His passion towards education industry & the use of technology to bring in positive changes with far reaching impact, introduced Skoolbox, a start-up company based in Bengaluru. Rokkada in conversation with Ekta Srivastava, Education Technology, elaborates on the benefits of e-learning and roadmap ahead
Please tell us something about Skoolbox. Its concept and journey so far
SKOOLBOX is a subscription based Learning Management Platform (LMS) for K12 schools in India. This platform enables institutions to centralize, share, communicate, collaborate and evaluate all aspects of learning and teaching at school.
It comes with fully functional mobile App for Anroid and IOS platforms to enable learning continuity on and off the campus. In order to help the school to get started and also make the platform effective from day-1, we have in-built complementary learning content which includes videos, NCERT e-books, over 29,000 objective questions, solved question papers and many such features into our system.
Our journey started in the late 2014, when we looked at how schools are adopting latest technology especially mobile phones and tablets, most schools leveraged them for support functions like GPS enabled school bus tracking system, light- weight communication app to share alerts, notifications, calendar events with parents, etc. There was no specific focus on leveraging technology for imparting learning. If you see, there is enormous amount of high quality free open educational content available on the internet in the form of Khan Academy videos, YouTube Videos, free content from publishers, educational and scientific institutes. However, we observed that the schools are unable to take advantage of these due to lack of simple and effective LMS. Skoolbox bridges this gap and equips schools and teachers with effective tools to impart quality education and leverage on the contents available on the internet.
In short, SKOOLBOX platform complements the school’s present education system by empowering teachers and students take full advantage of the high quality educational resources available on the internet on a single mobile App. Simultaneously, we provide simple tools to organize, share and control learning content and activities based on their personal pedagogical approach.
What solutions do you offer?
SKOOLBOX is our flagship LMS for K12 schools in India.
We also offer E-learning consulting services, E-learning content authoring and all other E-learning platform and Support services catering to all sectors.
Do you think India has adequate technology usage and adoption in the education sector? What more can be done in your opinion?
According to an article published by Business Standard, Internet users in India will cross 500 mn in 2016 and India as of May 2016 has over 1 billion mobile subscribers. If you study closely, students are always ahead of the curve in terms of adopting technology for learning and schools are always catching up.
It is unfortunate that this has resulted in students subscribing to or paying for learning content on commercial platforms even though there is quality educational content available for free on the internet. We believe that in the 21st century, teachers should be enablers of learning process and this requires change the in the mind-set & approach to teaching. The best part is awareness & inclination to change is growing everyday due to multiple external factors. It is an inevitable change with great benefits
The transformation from classroom learning and tuitions to non-traditional online learning aids is not easy. What challenges did you face?
Change is always difficult & challenging. It is more so in an academic setup. But change is inevitable given the technological advancements in external environment. As I said earlier, resistance to transformation can be due to comfort in using traditional teaching methods, management inclination, risk-reward factor, etc. Change needs to be incremental, smooth & effective.
When we go to schools to present our platform, we spend considerable time & effort to understand their present learning process, roles & responsibilities of all concerned with learning. Based on these inputs, we create awareness on benefits of using our SKOOLBOX platform which will complement, simplify & bring-in effectiveness in their functions.
Training is imparted to the users & we work very closely with stake-holders in effective implementation of the platform.
What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for Corporate Training, Vocational Education & Skills Training?
Every corporate, big or small, has to invest in employee training and more so in learning technology. Today, we don’t see many instructor-led classroom training. They are expensive, time consuming, ineffective & difficult to organize. Success of any corporate learning/training management platform is measured by the quality & effectiveness of the courses and their relevance to the job function.
If you look at current trend, training course is delivered in “bite” size with scenario-based multimedia rich content & animation followed by quick evaluation. These courses are light-weight, created once & delivered across multiple device form factors with flexibility for learner to enrol & take training anytime, anywhere and on any device.
The “bite” size is well-suited for skill-based training also. Using the right content authoring tools (with support to HTML5, responsive design), these courses can be made engaging & effective.
Do you think eLearning can help in educational progress in a vast country like India?
India is presently home to 1.2 billion people and we feel this is the only way forward. With penetration of internet & mobile devices to every nook & corner of India, it logical to deliver educational content to the fingertips of learners in a most personalized, cost-effective manner without any logistical barriers.