The pandemic has been a period of incredible challenges across sectors, economies, nations and societies. With schools and colleges being closed since the beginning of 2020, the Education Industry has had to evolve and give a new approach to the process of delivering education. Estrade Board Room had the opportunity to speak to Rengarajan M, Co-founder & CEO, Librari, who shed some light on the happenings in his line of business – Education Technology. Following are excerpts from our interaction with him,
- Tell us about Librari and your association with the company. What inspired you to create Librari?
I’ve spent about 6 months on everything related to Librari, and it’s now like a child to me. The first concept was born at the end of April; there was research, then a search for partners and team. Our team today is two directors and me. I prefer to do the maximum with minimum resources. And very soon, we will be able to show our work to the world and see how it reacts. I am very interested; it is very inspiring. Over the past few months, we have been making the platform itself, it’s content, and working on a marketing plan. As a result, we now have our MVP on the Playstore, content (about 150+ videos ), and a plan to attract first users.
It is not the money that drives us, but the trends, and a chance to help hundreds of millions of users to be better.
“Edtech is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9% from 2021 to 2028”
- Who is your target customer? Kindly give some details about your industry of operation – local, India and the world: market size, challenges, opportunities, key metrics, etc. How do you see the future growth of this market?
Our target customers are Gen Z—people born from 1995 to 2010—are true digital natives: from earliest youth, they have been exposed to the internet, to social networks, and to mobile systems. Gen Z learners share many characteristics with their Millennial counterparts—but the younger generation is a distinct cohort with unique learning needs. The newest generation also gravitates towards personalized, self-paced learning.
Keeping digitally-absorbed students involved in learning activities is not about surrendering to a technology “free for all,” however. The technologies and social media apps students use in their everyday lives—from Alexa to TikTok to YouTube—weren’t necessarily designed for learning engagement.
Here’s the good news: Librari is built with learning outcomes in mind. Librari is a mobile learning platform with short insightful user-generated content.
- User-generated contents are composed of short clips or images that operate like building blocks of knowledge.
- The forum is meant to provide learning materials for any topic.
- Our users, experts and influencers create the content.
- Librari offers an exciting, engaging and easy way to enhance your knowledge in tens of different categories from business to food and art to technology.
Edtech is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9% from 2021 to 2028. Education technology (EdTech) solutions are expected to evolve in line with the advances in the latest technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), and contribute significantly to the market growth. The integration of AR and VR in EdTech solutions helps offer an interactive experience to the learners. It allows learners to explore and seamlessly connect with abstract concepts, and subsequently driving student engagement. On the other hand, integrating blockchain technology will enable end-users to store and secure records of students and learners, thereby enabling educators to analyze the consumption patterns of the material offered to the learners and make data-driven decisions.
“…platform specific to education for content gurus, we can leverage AI to customize it according to the user.”
- In the day and age of fake news, propaganda propagation on the mobile phones, can mobile really be a good learning platform?
The importance of mobile learning right now is undeniable. Not only does it make learning flexible and accessible, but it also makes it available Just-In-Time.
Microlearning courses go hand in hand with this approach. So, you get to deliver bites of content, which can be quickly accessed by the users. For example, you can empower learners to learn a skill on the job. Or, you may want to help them improve soft skills, like how to better interact with customers.
Above all, such bite-sized mobile Learning vidoes will bring higher engagement while they’ll also increase completion rates as well. Frankly, the possibilities are endless.
- How has the market received your product until now? Where would you place Librari’s product in comparison to other mobile learning apps and the existing desktop apps/learning products?
We are focused on “learn & earn on the go”. We are giving the user the best experience to learn something in 180 seconds without any distractions. By answering the quiz at the end of the video, they gain a sense of achievement and feel productive, unlike other players in the same segment. This product also forces the content creators and brands to stick to the 180 seconds, removing the unnecessary prolongation they generally do on other platforms. The points earned by answering quizzes can also be redeemed by getting discounts from various brands. So, the benefits are two-fold – learn & earn. Librari app combines all trends in education: micro-learning, social learning, adaptive learning
“We take privacy seriously. We do not ask for unnecessary permissions within the app and collect only the data that is needed to improve the experience of the app.”
- How has the pandemic affected your industry? How do you see the market and general sentiment of Indian consumer evolving as the pandemic slowly recedes?
The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
- What do you feel is the future of Librari with evolution in technologies like Big Data, ML and AI? How these are augmenting your market reach and enhancing customer experience?
With the rapid developments happening in the AI/ML space, it is becoming possible to give the user a personalized experience within the application. It could be recommendations for the learner or a platform specific to education for content gurus, we can leverage AI to customize it according to the user. It has become a top priority at Librari to improve the customer experience and since data speaks volumes, we monitor the patterns and take necessary actions.
“One of the main limitations of our education system is asymmetrical learning. In a typical classroom, the pace of teaching cannot adapt to different learning capacities and learning levels of the students.”
- Privacy is a major concern world over. How is Librari addressing this?
We take privacy seriously. We do not ask for unnecessary permissions within the app and collect only the data that is needed to improve the experience of the app. Any user data will be stored securely in our encrypted data centers and the clients use secured channels while passing data between our servers. We have authentication mechanism in place for all our systems.
- Who is your competition? How do you perceive the threat from your competition? What is the biggest challenge faced currently by your industry?
Librari endeavors to hold to our core purpose of creating a Learn in 180 culture and focuses on co-creating productive, engaging, inspiring content and in this journey. Our focus is to create an behavior alteration rather looking at a competitor and improving our forte.
In this journey, there are other short video apps in the industry which are focused on anything but learning. While, we don’t perceive a threat from them, as we stick to our niche from our Day one, we are looking at the simplification of various topics – fun, involving and inspiring. The only challenge or rather opportunity is to transform billions of learners from various streams or skills to micro convert their learning into 180s.
“Librari is likely to become a market leader, so I recommend downloading the app and creating videos on this platform.”
- What are your expectations (policy direction) from the Government for your industry?
India has one of the largest student populations in the world. As per IBEF’s Indian Education Sector Industry Report of August 2020, India has already become the second largest market for e-learning in the world, after the US.
With widespread availability of budget smartphones and inexpensive internet plans in India, the massive potential of digital learning platforms is not lost on investors, entrepreneurs and the government. The recently published National Education Policy 2020 also stresses on integration of technology across classrooms and proposes creation of an autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum, to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on use of technology to enhance learning.
One of the main limitations of our education system is asymmetrical learning. In a typical classroom, the pace of teaching cannot adapt to different learning capacities and learning levels of the students. However, educational technology (EdTech)—the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the education system—can bridge the gap between delivering education and making learning effective.
Moreover, COVID-19 has changed the debate on EdTech from a question of if to how. The current crisis has made online learning and homeschooling more pertinent than ever, and it has accelerated the adoption of online learning by almost a decade.
Often, EdTech is mistaken as ‘tech-ed’, focusing on technology rather than education. There has been no structured and focused approach by the government and EdTech players in meaningful engagement with all the key stakeholders such as parents, teachers, students, educationists, nonprofits, and technology-based organisations within our education ecosystem.
A National EdTech Policy can set a roadmap for the stakeholders of the education system such as policymakers, educationists, teachers, and private players. It should also address issues of infrastructure, ecosystem development, assessment, learning, and teaching—alongside the systemic issues of access, affordability, and collaborative outcomes.
- What is your vision for Librari, in terms of, (1) Near term, over the end of FY 2021, (2) Long term, over a 4 years horizon.
Soon we will see the next big thing in online education —short, engaging videos you can watch anytime and anywhere. This format will likely take a fair portion of the educational market, forming an entirely new niche.
Librari is likely to become a market leader, so I recommend downloading the app and creating videos on this platform. As we know, the first creators grow as the app grows —it’s the next big thing you don’t want to miss.
“EdTech is often mistaken as tech-ed” – Rengarajan M