Mohd Ujaley for Financial Express writes: For the past 26 years, Aakash Educational Services has been providing training to students, who are preparing for medical, engineering and other competitive examinations. The institution has a country-wide network of more than 110 study centres, and over 150 exam centres—it has a collective annual base of over 100,000 students. Over the years, the institute has seen a steady rise in the demand for its educational services. Recently, Aakash started the initiative called “Aakash Live” to cater to the needs of the growing number of students.
The Need for Aakash Live
Initially the company was of the view that it must develop its own solution for “Aakash Live”; it was felt that a simple plug-and-play kind of solution could suffice. The institute’s management also thought of using a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. But after a thorough research on all the technology related issues was conducted, the management decided that it is in the best interests of the organisation if they focussed on their core strength, which is teaching. The task of creation of IT solutions, they decided, could be handed over to IT companies.
The company was in need for a Learning Management System (LMS), but they wanted to ensure that the solution that they ultimately opted for should be cost-effective, accessible to all, and built specifically for imparting education.
“We were looking for an education platform solution, which could enable us to leverage the real-time online learning technology that mimics the traditional, face-to-face classroom environment. It was important that the solution should result in the maximisation of student engagement—it should deliver complete learning experiences on all the devices with full mobile functionality, give insights into student behaviour, performance, and progress using analytics tools and expert assistance,” says Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services.
Tryst with WizIQ
After considering diverse options available in the market, Aakash zeroed in on to the cloud based learning platform developed by WizIQ. The Virtual Classroom solution from WizIQ mirrors the physical energy of the traditional classrooms; it is most suitable for creation of online academy. It enables the instructors to deliver engaging, intensive online instructions to students.
“The Aakash Live launch marks an important milestone in our mission for providing expert coaching to students anywhere in the country. The live online sessions completely mirror the energy you find in an Aakash classroom, and our students can choose to use any device—desktop, laptop, tab, or mobile—for seamless learning experience,” says Chaudhry.
WizIQ claims that it has helped over 400,000 instructors and 4.3 million learners from 200 countries across the globe succeed. And, its ‘Virtual Classroom’ software, ‘Online Academy Builder’ and ‘mobile learning applications’ offer solution that gives teachers and trainers absolute control and ownership of their brand and enterprise with a range of benefits.
With the installation of Virtual Classroom solution, the Aakash instructors are able to conduct polls during online sessions in real time. They can receive instant feedback and responses from students. This system enables them to keep track of the progress that the students are making. By constantly analysing the performance of the students, the teachers can refine their pedagogy and get better results.
Benefits of Online Teaching
The solution comes with interactive whiteboards, which allow the instructor to keep the students engaged while the course material is being presented. The students and the teachers can use the whiteboard as a writing tool—to write notes and highlight important points during the course of the class. The virtual classroom uses multiple whiteboards, so one whiteboard can be used for writing notes, while the other may be used for opening PowerPoint presentations or YouTube videos. There is facility for switching effortlessly between different whiteboards.
The text chat tools that WizIQ has developed are a key feature of this online solution. These chat tools can be used by the instructor to not only assess the understanding of the students, but also to encourage their participation in the live class sessions. It is possible for the students to quickly type out their answers in the comments box. This facility ensures that the online environment is not too different from the interactive atmosphere that is generally there in traditional classrooms. Along with text chat, WizIQ also offers audio and video chat facilities.
With WizIQ students have access to activity feed, with which they can participate in asynchronous discussions outside the classroom. This facility can be especially valuable for students who are unable to express themselves clearly within the classroom. Also, the students can download the session on their computers for later viewing. Perhaps the most useful feature of WizIQ is the recording facility. This ensures that no student ever misses a class.
“Aakash instructors and administrators love the fact that WizIQ is device-agnostic. Learners can attend classes from any device—desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile. They can use iOS, as well as the Android devices,” says Harman Singh, Founder and CEO, WizIQ. The cloud based library in the solution allows Aakash instructors to store the courseware online, so that the same can be easily accessed by the students and the teachers.
“Our ‘Online Academy Builder’ empowers education service providers like Aakash to set up their own customised academy within minutes. This evolutionary leap in education technology is designed to increase learner engagement with its cutting-edge features like mobile learning, video streaming, live online classroom, discussion boards, assessments, and insights and analytics tools,” says Singh.