Paid, Earned, Social, Owned are an integral part of our media strategy: Anand Dani
Educational Initiatives (EI) is a leading edtech company in India and one of the largest assessments companies in the world that provides diagnostic assessments and personalised learning solutions to schools. Founded and started in 2001, the vision of Educational Initiatives was ‘to create a world in which children everywhere learn with understanding’. The company strives to achieve this by expanding its reach across different strata of society, which includes the kind of education that children are receiving or the curriculum.
Leveraging cutting-edge educational research and technology-based solutions, EI aims to revolutionize the quality of learning in school (K12) education. EI strives to make difference in education through personalised learning and ensuring that students learn with understanding through their exclusive program.
Pioneers in emphasising the need for assessment for learning, EI has been making relentless efforts to ensure children learn with understanding through systematic and scientific ways so that the results are replicable and scalable.
Adgully spoke to Anand Dani, Chief Business Officer, Educational Initiatives, to have a deeper understanding of their business and their future plans.
Educational Initiatives has been in the market for close to two decades. How has been the journey so far? Did you see more enrolments happening during the lockdown period especially with external students?
Educational Initiatives (EI) is an edtech company that leverages the twin levers of cutting-edge research and technology-based solutions approach to revolutionise how children engaged in the K-12 education space learn. Our vision is to create a world in which children everywhere learn with understanding. Our goal is to reach a multitude of children across different strata of society, irrespective of the kind of education they are receiving today or the curriculum they are following.
With the onset of the COVID pandemic, EI has introduced multiple courses. With more and more programmes being offered online, EI has seen a 10X growth and the number of students availing the offerings are over million.
The various programmes being offered by EI includes:
Core Learning Solutions through Assessment and Learning
ASSET, the assessment tool of Educational Initiatives provides students, teachers, schools and parents insights into the learning loss and provides them the information on how to start the process of teaching, remediation and enhance learning. Detailed Assessment is an option for schools and parents, which assists in deep diving into subjects and improving topic specific learning outcomes.
Mindspark adapts to each student’s individual learning pace in sync with school curriculum and provides instant feedback that clears incorrect understanding.
Mindspark Navigator, it has been designed to help student set goals, learn content aligned to those goals and monitor progress towards those goals with actionable insights for improvement
Teacher Impact Programmes (TIPs), which is designed to help Teachers Bridge the gap between teaching and learning. As an assessment TIPs help teachers to identify their strengths and weaknesses and provide insights to help improve on those. EI also offers In-School Assessments where EI is responsible for running all assessments for the school.
Blended Learning Solutions
EI is hosting Live Classes to assist students for learning Maths and clearing their doubts. These live classes provide students with classroom experience that clears misconceptions, and are loaded with individual attention and without any peer pressure.
We at Educational Initiatives wanted to make sure that assessments happen on a regular basis especially in the current scenario. Hence, we are launching a weekly test series – ASSET SUPERTEST. It is aimed at enabling both students and parents, with a tool to evaluate learning gaps in a timely manner.
Solutions for Gifted Students
ASSET Digital Learning Programme (ADLP) offers courses that prepare gifted students of classes 5-9 for a life beyond classroom and are offered by world class instructors. ADLP aims at creating independent learners, encouraging students to take charge of their own learning and helping them create habits to achieve excellence.
ASSET Mentorship Programme (AMP) is an online mentorship programme for gifted students that will focus on building skill sets, with the support of personal mentors. The programme is crafted to guide aspiring students through the crucial years of academic development and help them make informed decisions about their higher education.
ASSET Talent Search (ATS) is a talent identification programme that identifies, acknowledges, and supports academically talented students. It is Asia’s largest skill-based diagnostic and benchmarking test. Rather than testing rote learning, it uses multiple-choice questions to focus on measuring how well SKILLS and CONCEPTS underlying the school syllabus have been understood by the student.
Who is your potential audience that you target? Are parents key influencers in making a decision and how do you reach them?
In both B2B and B2C segments, consumer remains the student, whereas the customer differs. In case of B2B, customer is the school while in B2C, customer is the parent. When it comes to schools, we are in touch with them through our network of sales professionals across India. To ensure that there is no disruption in a child’s learning journey, we had started a campaign, #LearningNeverStops, and offered our solutions free for 60 days to more than 1,000 plus schools and nearly 1 million students. This helped us reach out to the right audience and provide them our products’ experience. Additionally, we reached out to parents through a mix of direct communication channels and digital communication platforms.
There are enough online educational companies who are trying to be top of mind and capture the market. How are you different from your competitors and what are the compelling reasons for someone to join your educational programme?
EI offers Assessment & Learning solutions which work for both schools & individual parents/ child. With our unique way of assessing the students, we are able to highlight the learning gap of students and help schools/ parents remediate these problems. We have clear differentiator Vs other edtech companies, wherein we focus more on diagnostics and then remediation. Whereas many of our competitors are only delivering the content without much focus or measurability of learning outcomes. With our products, we have been able to demonstrate the impact in both Public & Private School space.
Our diagnostic assessment solution – ASSET – is a test mandated across UAE by the relevant departments, which help the governing bodies benchmark various schools and also measure the learning outcomes.
In the learning category, there are a number of players working in the B2C space. In terms of the specific product offerings by EI, research is incorporated into learning where there aren’t any direct competitors. Though in education domain, anyone who offers any form of learning is a competition, including coaching institutes but EI by means of its offerings stands apart from the rest through its focus on changing the way of learning in schools.
You have collaborated with a lot of schools across the country offering your curriculum. What is the value that you bring to the table that the school is not able to offer?
Educational Initiatives is not a replacement for classroom learning, but we provide personalised solution to children, which is in addition to the regular education process from grade 1 to 10. EI gives importance to assessment and with our product ASSET, we benchmark schools with other schools, identify the critical learning gap of students and also help with what should teachers do to improveclassroom instructions. Nobody apart from EI offers assessment on such a big scale.
Now with Live classes, YouTube Videos and Online courses, how much is the child actually learning? Hence, the need for assessments to determine actual learning progress has been raised by many.
In a study conducted on 15,000 students by EI, it was found that students who are assessed methodically on their basic learning concepts in every class, demonstrate greater engagement towards learning, apart from receiving feedback on their levels of understanding and standing compared to their peers. As self-learning gains more prominence in the new normal, EI has introduced an assessment solution – ASSET SUPERTEST – aimed at enabling both students and parents with a tool to evaluate learning in a timely manner.
What is the process that you follow to enrol students? Are there any criteria that you follow like an entrance test for admission? What is the most popular content or syllabus the institution and the external students ask for and subscribe?
For our flagship programme – ASSET Summer Programme – we have 2 level of exams – ASSET and ASSET Talent Search that identify, acknowledge, and support academically talented students.
ASSET Summer Programme brings together students from across the nation for a 3-week long residential academic experience like no other. We challenge students in a new environment – with new friends, cutting-edge technology, contemporary science, 21st century skills, values needed in a technology-oriented society, academic content, and most importantly, learn how to be self-motivated learners. Students who attend ASP not only enrich themselves in terms of academic exposure to new topics but they also learn through extra-curricular activities like dance, sports, improv, dramatics, arts and crafts.
For our other products like Mindspark, ADLP, AMP, ASSET SUPERTEST, Live classes there are no criteria or entrance exam, the offerings can be availed through an online subscription.
You are also present in Tier 2 and 3 towns. What has been your strategy to penetrate these towns? How has the response been from these towns?
EI products are available across India. Our first step to penetrate in Tier 2 and 3 markets has been through schools. However, now with our presence in the B2C space, we have started reaching to parents as well. A mix of direct and digital communication has been our approach to target these regions. So far, the response has been very encouraging, we have students using our products from Guwahati, Siliguri, Vadodara, Nashik, Vellore, to name a few cities.
How do you manage your content for the syllabus? What is the process you follow to keep generating fresh and relevant content and maintain the momentum?
Our platforms cull relevant and customised intelligence from over five billion data points to deliver content in the form of questions, activities, games and videos to assess students‘ learning levels and provide explanations, feedback and learning inputs for all stakeholders. This data treasure has been built over two decades and is one-of-its-kind in the education industry. We believe in a scientific approach to conceptualising, designing and building our products.
How have you been promoting your company in the market? Is there any specific media strategy that you have chalked out to engage with your desired target audience?
We have a policy of ‘Different strokes for different folks’. Paid, Earned, Social, Owned (PESO) are an integral part of our media strategy.
A mix of direct communication channels and digital communication platforms enables us to get the desired results.
Our media also includes activation programmes like conferences, seminars and various in school programmes and contests.
What has been your pricing strategy? How do you differentiate your pricing when it comes to institutions and the external students who want to enhance their knowledge?
Our pricing have always been such that even students from the lower income group can also benefit from our products.In case of B2B, customer is school while in B2C case customers are parents. Parents have a choice to opt for a half yearly or annual subscription, for schools it is always a yearly subscription. The annual subscription plan for Mindspark Maths is priced at Rs 6,740 and for half-year, it is offered at a price of Rs 3,499. For schools, the offer differs based on the number of students across grades.