Avan Goel, Business Head -Southeast Asia, Eduten wears several hats, a serial entrepreneur with a passion for travel. He has travelled to 36 countries, set up businesses in education and retail with zeal. Armed with a BE in Electronics Instrumentation and Control. He is also a skilled businessman who has an uncanny knack of getting things done. He speaks to T P Venu about his plans for Eduten and digital learning in present times
Tell us about taking students to different countries for international programs to digital learning. Was it a natural progression given the present times?
I have been in the field of education for over a decade and have great satisfaction by touching the lives of over 4,500 students and connecting to more than 1,500 schools across India. Edvour, my first company was able to take students to over 30 countries.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck, online education became stronger and foreign trips were a big No No. Digital learning became a necessity and that is when I teamed up with Eduten, a Finnish Edtech Company that has made a name for itself in the educational firmament. It was in a way a natural decision as I wanted to stay connected and be a part of the educational system.
There are a number of Indian edtech companies. Any reason why you chose Eduten?
It was a conscious decision backed by a lot of research and burning midnight oil. I spent months researching products by edtech companies, a lot of Indian ones included and zeroed on Eduten. I found that many Edtech companies in India dished out content in a hurry. There is urgency in selling the product. On the other hand, Eduten digital learning platform Eduten Playground is used in 56% of Finnish schools and supported by the government.
Firstly, Eduten is backed by academicians from the University of Turku who are passionate about their work. Secondly, they are into digital learning since 2005 when the idea had not gained ground in several countries. Thirdly, Eduten Playground has been in use in 65 countries and reached out to over 7 lakh students. Above all, the team at the university is always looking to better the product doing research.
How is Eduten different?
Eduten believes that every child is unique and has different capabilities. Students have different learning needs and we have developed specific learning tools to suit different styles and preferences.
A lot of emphasis is laid on building metacognitive skills. Eduten’s digital platform is all about personalized learning. The focus is to help children solve problems. It is a well-established fact that rote learning cannot take one far. Creativity and innovation are key words. The Finland Math module promotes metacognition, creative problem solving via a gamified math.
The pedagogical premise is making the teaching and learning Math engaging and a fun-filled activity by placing students at the center of the learning process. A lot of importance is given on learning outcomes by keeping a tab at every stage and age.
How is Eduten doing in India?
Eduten is expanding at a fast pace in India. We have already given presentations to over 300 schools in the country and 90 schools are already using the product. We have 15,000 subscriptions and 7 lakh globally. The Indian market is huge and potential immense. These are early days and Eduten is surely going to make a huge foray.
A large section of the population in India cannot afford to spend in digital learning. The government schools too are found wanting in this aspect. Your comments
Even people from the lower income group can go for Eduten’s personalised modules. There are several practicing tools that students can opt for.
There are several state governments that have or are in the process of ramping up infrastructure and keen on digital learning. There is a lot of promise and hope. Also, an advantage of this platform is there is no time restriction so that helps.
What are the plans of Eduten for India?
We have given proposals to several Government boards and are in talks with several private universities as well. Eduten is presently working with several education boards in several countries and are in touch with international boards as well. In India, we have a presence in 16 states.
How do you see the role of the teacher in the context of digital learning?
While digital learning is making inroads and has a lot of advantages, the role of the teacher is and will be as important. Digital learning will come to the aid of the teacher as well as the student and would be a medium between both the learner and the learned. The role of the teacher is immense. Physical presence, eye contact, personal interactions are important. The student would learn concepts with the teacher by the side.