Technology to the aid of students

Debarati Palit
Sunday, 10 September 2017

Zishaan Hayath, co-founder of Toppr, an app for students, says that the beauty of technology is that it allows them to mobilise education across boundaries without the need for physical resources

The biggest concern for parents today is giving their children the right education. As school education is becoming competitive with most students scoring anything between 80 to 90 per cent, it becomes even more challenging for parents.

Zishaan Hayath and Hemanth Goteti founded Toppr, an app that provides personalised learning for students. It does so by organising learning through four modules — video lectures, practice, tests and clearing doubts on chat. These modules are built on more than one million learning pieces. Toppr gives students access to more than 1,000 hours of video lectures, concepts and study material created by teachers, and lakhs of questions curated by rankers and academic experts.

Toppr won the Best Educational Website Award at the Indian Digital Awards 2017 presented by IAMAI. IIT alumnus Hayath is an entrepreneur and active investor.

Excerpts from a chat with him:

Tell us about Toppr and how it helps students?
Toppr is India’s best learning app that provides personalised learning to students. It enables students to study comprehensively and perform their best in CBSE, ICSE, and State boards along with JEE, NEET and other competitive nationwide exams. It emphasises on adaptive practices through machine learning algorithms, personalised tests, and goal-based pedagogy. It provides students with accurate, personalised feedback to pinpoint areas of improvement.

With every question students attempt on Toppr, their speed, accuracy and goal completion is measured and taken into account to give them the next best question to attempt. It eliminates a lot of steps that don’t add much value such as searching for more questions, matching answers and calculating scores. Around 1.8 million students have registered on Toppr to take advantage of our deep structured content and powerful adaptive algorithms.

What was the thought behind launching Toppr?
We came up with the idea of Toppr after realising that students in India were spending enormous amounts of money on coaching classes, where the student-teacher ratio would be highly skewed and every student would have a different pace of learning. Following thorough research, the learning app aimed at personalised coaching, was brought into existence in 2013.

When it comes to board and competitive exams, students and parents blindly follow coaching centres. Is it a challenge reaching out to them?
Parents want their children to learn well and work hard. That’s why they send them to coaching classes to supplement their learning in the classroom. This works to our advantage, when parents see the merits and benefits of using Toppr. Every parent wants their child to receive complete personal attention which is impossible in coaching classes but is the core of Toppr. We don’t give them a similar experience but an even better one. Our platform analyses the strengths, weaknesses and overall learning ability of students to customise the content it offers them. It ensures that no two students study the same way.

The app takes care of the tuition fees but what about study materials? How do you provide the latest material to students?
Toppr’s educational content is comprehensive with 10 times more depth than our competitors. It covers subject curriculum for classes 5 to 12 across all major boards in India. This is made possible by our large community of over 8,000 academic experts across India. They curate, create and update content for each subject across all classes and boards. Whenever a new syllabus is released, it is immediately reviewed and updated on our adaptive platform.

Smart phones and internet are yet to reach our rural areas. Doesn’t the app become restricted to cities then?
Smartphone consumption in India is on the rise. Today, India has over 300 million smartphone users. It’s the same for mobile internet; with 3G and 4G services spreading to cities, towns and even the hinterlands. Students from all over India are using our platform to score well in major competitive exams. With a mobile app, they can access quality educational content wherever they are. They can even do it on the move. That’s the beauty of technology as it allows us to mobilise education across boundaries without the need for physical resources.

What’s next in the pipeline?
India has over 350 million children in the school-going age. So many students are still in need of quality education to realise their dreams. We have barely scratched the surface and there are many more students we can reach out to. Our goal is to cover as many of them as
possible.

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