A firm believer in transforming lives through education, Rohit Jain is the Co-founder and CEO at DUX Education – an e-learning platform that fulfils the end-to-end after-school tutoring needs of K12 students. In his role at the company, Rohit spearheads growth, operations, and product. With his focus on providing affordable and engaging education to all, Rohit envisioned DUX to be the one-stop destination for all after-school education needs of students. Rohit’s goal for the platform is to make it the biggest after-school tutoring platform in the country. In a conversation with K12 Digest, Rohit talks about hybrid learning in the K12 education system, quality of education in online learning, trends that will shape education and much more.
How did you come up with the idea to create an online substitute for after-school tuitions? What are the loopholes you feel that need to be addressed?
55% of Indian students in the K12 segments opt for after-school tuitions. This number is one of the highest levels across the globe. However, our analysis pointed out that 99% of the market is still unorganized and that called for an effective solution. We looked at this problem from the ‘first principles’ point of view. We found that the only major limitation in the physical tuition space is the lack of quality tutors. As a parent, we are always geographically restricted over the choice of tutors. We can’t go beyond a 2-3 km radius to find one and so, most of the time, we end up compromising. That’s the main problem that we aimed to solve. We remained conscious of the fact that the solution we arrive at needs to have all the goodness of the physical tuitions while being delivered digitally.
At DUX Education, technology plays a key role in helping us chart out the progress of every student over time. It provides us with multiple data points. For instance, it reveals data on which student needs to work more on geometry and who needs to focus on algebra. We can then use this data to modify their learning paths with intense personalization. Thus, technology can help maximize efficiency and drive the best results for every student.
What major advancements do you observe have come after the hybrid learning in the k12 education system?
In the prevalent structure, online learning has both added to and reduced the impact of the offline education system. With the power of technology, we can create learning platforms where teaching can be customized as per a student’s specific needs. It has also given students the ability to attend class from anywhere at any time.
However, engagement turns out to be the soul of education, which, somehow, has been ousted. Students are now learning from recorded content or attending classes in groups of hundreds. They even need to send emails when they have doubts. It can’t be called an effective system of learning.
At DUX, our idea is to bring back the teacher into the spotlight again and make education more engaging digitally. We aim to accomplish this with as much technological influx as possible. In short, we combine the best of online and offline learning in one place.
How do you find the quality of education in online learning?
As mentioned previously, while the quality of lectures has gone up, the quality of education has spiralled off on a different trajectory. We have to remember that education is much more than just a lecture. A teacher needs to guide, push, motivate, and inspire students. Unfortunately, EdTech hasn’t focused on these aspects for a long time. At DUX, we intend to work on these parameters to enhance the quality of education. Our classes have a maximum of 10 students and are live and interactive. A student can boldly raise his/her hand to ask questions when in doubt. Engagement is one of the foundational pillars of DUX Education.
What makes DUX Education different and unique from other existing startups?
Our focus on engagement separates us from every other EdTech startup today. Our classes are live and interactive, with a maximum of 10 students in every class. Plus, we closely follow the school syllabus and prepare students for their unit tests and midterm exams. Our idea is to become a substitute for traditional neighborhood tuitions. Another pillar that’s very critical to the DUX ideology is affordability. Unlike other platforms, our packages are extremely pocket-friendly. We charge ~INR 500 per subject per month which is lower than what a neighborhood tutor would charge in a Tier-3 or Tier-4 city.
How can students build a self-learning module when it comes to online learning?
Irrespective of the amount of content you provide students, they need to be inspired to study on their own. Although there are exceptions, this turns out to be the thumb rule. Gamification can play a small part, but teachers need to remain at the helm. A good teacher in an engaging environment can inspire the students to start learning by themselves. That’s where technology needs to intervene and provide adaptive learning platforms, checks and balances, testing modules, and so forth to help students not just study but enjoy the whole process.
What are the trends that will shape education in the coming five years?
Some key online trends are going to change the way students have been studying so far. A student in the remotest village can gain access to the best teachers across the country. Teacher training and upskilling/reskilling will also play a crucial role since they are the true drivers of change. The government’s focus on NEP will pave the way for more analytical and logic-based learning rather than rote-based learning.
How effective do you think virtual learning is for children in primary education?
Students who are just starting their academic journey need a lot more attention. Building a strong educational foundation is vital at that age. They require constant guidance as well as an environment in which they can interact with teachers. Especially when it comes to writing skills and other basic learning values, the offline approach has to be at the level required. Taking this into consideration, the start of their educational journey should happen in an offline world and gradually move to an online setup. A very tight student-to-teacher ratio is also critical in lower grades.
Your views on union budget 2021 for the education sector, how do you see it in the long term?
The budget did not have much as far as education is concerned. In terms of the government’s initiatives, the New Education Policy is the game-changer. The whole intent is so positive and that shows in how openly it was welcomed across the length and breadth of the country. Execution will happen in its own time but for now, it’s a major boost for the whole ecosystem.
Tips for students opting for online education, how they can utilize the ed-tech platforms available?
We would say ‘stay curious’. Their ideal platform isn’t different from the way they have been studying so far. It just has better teachers and a more structured learning path. We would also encourage students to ask more questions and don’t stop till they get their concepts straight. Also, there is so much content available online. Being a tech-savvy generation with easy access to mobile devices, they should go ahead and take a deep dive into it!
How technology is supporting education on a large scale according to you, how do you see affordable and accessible learning for all?
It’s so good to see affordability and accessibility being a key focus here. We have mentioned some of the pillars on which DUX’s ideologies are based. There are three pillars in all, i.e. accessibility, affordability, and engagement. Quality of content and good teachers are imperative for everyone, and there should be no compromise on these fronts. Affordability becomes important because education is also a right and should never become the privilege of a few in society. This is one of the key reasons our package starts from INR 500 per month. We even aim to reduce prices shortly if required. The agenda is to reach every nook and corner of the country. Remember, none of this matters if the child is not learning on an engagement-based platform.