Interview

eLearning is Breaking Down Geographic Barriers and Provide Quality Education Without the Need of Physical Infrastructure

Believes, Gaurav Vohra, co-founder & CEO Jigsaw Academy.  Voted as one of the top 10 analytics academicians in India in 2015, he has over 10 years of experience in the field of analytics and has worked across multiple verticals including financial services, retail, FMCG, telecom, pharmaceuticals, and leisure industries.

With his firm belief in the power of analytics for business growth, Gaurav founded Jigsaw Academy in 2011 as an avenue to meet the growing demand for talent in the field of analytics by providing industry-relevant training and education to develop business-ready professionals. Gaurav Vohra in an email interaction with Education Technology

Please tell us something about Jigsaw Academy, its concept, and journey so far.

Jigsaw Academy was founded with the idea of simplifying the field of analytics, which is generally perceived to be complex. The importance of analytics in business processes is critical, and the idea was to teach analytics the way it is used in business, rather than as an extension of statistics. The focus of training at Jigsaw Academy is on the application front, not academia. We want our students to be job ready right from the get go.

What began as a niche institute in 2011, is right now the top analytics training institute in India. We have steadily and consistently added courses to our offerings that are in line with the industry requirements. We now offer courses across the areas of analytics, data science, big data, machine learning, and internet of things.

While Big Data is on the forefront of enterprise, do you think that Education can also benefit from it? What is public policy doing to leverage this technology?

Big Data is proving to be extremely useful in the education sector. It is helping educators and policy makers understand the learning needs of the students to create better learning environment for them. Big Data has been instrumental in tracking student learning behaviour and has allowed for the creation of mass customized programs (MOOCs being a great example of this). It has enabled us to assess how students learn, figure out where they are having issues, and reach a much larger audience.

A lot of education data is currently being made publicly available and this has led analytics companies such as Gramenerto perform some interesting analysis and present usable insights for students.India’s Department of Science and Technology, of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has launched the Big Data Initiative, which in their own words is “To promote and foster Big Data Science, Technology and Applications in the country and to develop core generic technologies, tools and algorithms for wider applications in Govt.”

What will be the existing opportunities in implementation of technology in healthcare?

Healthcare is probably one sector which is heavily technology dependent in the current era. We have seen the shift from physical paper records to online/digital records, use of data for research, and capture and analysis of complex data among more such advancements. The reach of healthcare will continue to grow with the present technology scenario. With the advancements the field has seen, the future only presents a lot more opportunities.

Some achievable opportunities are reduction of costs, reduction in medical errors, improvement in the quality of healthcare, robust healthcare information systems, integration of big data and analytics into healthcare management.

Do you think India has adequate technology usage and adoption in the education sector? What more can be done in your opinion?

Adoption of technology in the education sector is surprisingly high, compared to what was expected. For example, a sizeable audience for our online courses are from from non-metro and smaller cities, indicating that people are increasingly open to using technology for educational needs.

But we still need the Indian academia to catch up with the industry, as what is being taught at colleges and schools is lagging by what is needed on the industry floor by a good 10 years. We are teaching our young minds outdated skills, and the effects of this can be seen in the AICTE report which said 60% of engineering students in India are unemployed due to lack of relevant skills.

People don’t have access to the high quality of education and tech is helping bridge that gap. It’s the age of internet and learning to has gone online. If we can provide stable power supply and internet access, along with the right pedagogy,we can look at lot more people learning what they need, the online way.

What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for Corporate Training, Vocational Education, and Skills Training?

Online learning is becoming the mode of choice for corporate and vocational training. The medium makes is easy for anyone to access information from wherever they are, and for working professionals this becomes a boon as it is not easy to upskill while you are at your job and you must go to a brick and mortar academy to get trained.

With the rapid rise and adoption of smartphones, mobile learning too has taken off. Learning on the go is the mantra and in the long run, this will be what makes the training feasible, cost effective, and easily accessible.

Do you think eLearning can help in educational progress in a vast country like India?

Absolutely! The size of geography of India makes traditional education setup fall behind the needs of the people who need to learn. With the propagation and penetration of internet and wireless services to even smaller cities, eLearning makes it possible for people to have access to resources which were hitherto out of their reach.

eLearning can breakdown geographic barriers and provide quality education without the need of physical infrastructure setup, which we know puts a burden on the government, is cost heavy, and is a time taking process.

Does Jigsaw Academy do certifications for technology? What kind of market do you see for it in India?

Yes, we do. We focus on key technology skills and areas like analytics, big data, data science, machine learning, and internet of things. Upskilling is the way to grow and sustain, seeing how the IT sector is facing a crunch. It’s time for India to move on from IT services and focus on the more core technological advancements that we are seeing worldwide. Our courses are the bridge for that and we see the market opportunity only growing in the next five years.

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