“mPowerO has carved out a place for itself in the B2B space, with a current focus on the K-12 segment”

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By Education Today

Posted on January 13, 2021


6 min read

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“The pandemic has been a game changer when it comes to ed-tech. We no longer have to evangelize about the benefits of e-learning supplementing traditional classroom learning”, says Mr. Jerold Chagas Pereira, Executive Director and CEO, mPowerO. Excerpts from his email interview with Education Today.

Please give us a brief overview of the Indian education sector and growth potential of distance learning.

According to Techonpak, the Indian education market is currently estimated to be USD 180 bn, with K-12 schools contributing USD 94 bn. Online education, pegged at USD 0.27 bn in 2019 (Omidiyar-Redseer 2019-20 Report) was projected to grow 6x by 2022. Pandemic-induced tech enablement has fuelled rapid adoption, which is likely to continue as e-learning becomes more mainstream.  

How was mPowerO’s journey so far? How does mPowerO contribute to Indian edu-sector?

SkillPro has been in the learning space for 12+ years (till date), impacting 300,000-plus learners. Our experiences showed that technology was critical to deliver consistent, scalable, high quality learning. 

Hence mPowerO (earlier iShiksha), which today is enabling educational institutions to deliver uninterrupted, high quality online learning in a comprehensive and measurable method. With more and more educational institutions migrating to tech-aided learning, the onward journey for mPowerO looks very promising and exciting. 

Could you elaborate more on the concept of online schooling?

From our mPowerO experience, we have seen online schooling or e-schooling broadly fall into the following three buckets:

1) live lessons: i.e. instructor-led virtual classes happening through video conferencing, 

2) asynchronous learning: i.e. students using e-learning platforms for self-paced learning -from e-learning resources as well as for project-based learning, and 

3) assessments: where formative tests and summative exams are taken online, which help gauge learning progress and measure learning outcomes. 

mPowerO is an end-to-end e-learning platform addressing all the three buckets for educational institutions. 

How do you describe mPowerO’s competitive position in Indian market compared to its contemporaries?

mPowerO has carved out a place for itself in the B2B space, with a current focus on the K-12 segment. mPowerO is possibly (and most likely so far) the only e-learning  solution that can be customised to digitally reflect an institute’s learning pedagogy and philosophy in addition to delivering a school-branded mobile app (on Google Play store) and web browser. Further, mPowerO comes loaded with Board-aligned learning resources, to which schools can overlay their proprietary e-resources to build a digital repository which is secure. mPowerO has also been designed for mobile-first usage, keeping in mind that most of elearning is now happening off smartphones. 

How is mPowerO set up to adapt to new, innovative technology and strategy to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the education industry?

mPowerO as an e-learning solution will always be ‘work-in-progress’, i.e. it is a dynamic platform with regular product upgrades which are automatically made available to its customers. 

mPowerO has been developed in partnership with Microsoft, and its roadmap ensures that, in addition to staying abreast with newest technologies, mPowerO will be first-to-market with value-added features that enable online learning to become easier, more effective and personalised. 

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the fastest-ever shift of education to the online platforms. How is mPowerO going to reap this opportunity?

The pandemic has been a game changer when it comes to ed-tech. We no longer have to evangelize about the benefits of e-learning supplementing traditional classroom learning. 

Stakeholders who might have been fence-sitters rushed to adopt solutions like mPowerO overnight, and we have capitalised on this Black Swan event. We continue to witness ballooning enquiries, shorter sales cycles and an ever-increasing user-base, and are confident that the efficiencies that our customers are witnessing by using mPowerO will only strengthen our relationships, leading to greater usage and advocacy. 

What are your views on NEP 2020? What, you think, are its takeaways for the e-learning sector?

NEP2020 addresses pain points with the current system, primarily related to board exams and rote learning. Similarly, it incorporates missing elements like 21st century skills (coding for example) and life skills, both essential for better adaptability into real life situations.  

NEP2020 refers to building digital infrastructure for education, which will elevate e-learning platforms, digital libraries, higher quality e-content, distant learning opportunities, etc. Learning pedagogies across educational institutions will (need to) be modified to incorporate e-learning as a mainstay. 

Please tell us about your major clients and how these collaborations fit into the company’s growth strategy?

mPowerO’s primary client base comprises K-12 schools – standalone, regional chains and a few education trusts. 

mPowerO’s approach has been to stay focused on select states, currently heavily skewed towards South India, where we are going deep as we expand our footprint. We have recently ventured into a couple of North Indian states and are optimistic that we will get the same traction as in the South. 

Other than schools, mPowerO has clients in higher education, skills and enterprise, who use the platform to engage, communicate and train their user-base.  

What are the major challenges you are facing and how are you gearing up?

One of the earlier challenges that we used to encounter was ‘why mPowerO’? With pandemic-driven adoption, the narrative has shifted from ‘why’ to ‘how best’ to leverage mPowerO. 

We are now building our support teams to ensure faster ‘Go Lives’ as well as to make the transition to mPowerO-led learning as smooth as possible for our growing customer base. Fortunately for mPowerO, given its visual and intuitive UI and UX and mobile-first interface, and that it is built using proven and scalable technologies, we do not encounter platform-related issues due to hanging, log-outs, low network issues, etc like some of the competition.  

How do you intend to steer the growth in the years to come? What are your future projects and plans?

Growth will be primarily organic, since the online learning is at a nascent stage. Habits formed during the pandemic are likely to continue as schooling eventually moves back to classroom-led sessions. Hence there is ample headroom for us to grow our territorial footprint as well as move into adjacent e-learning segments. 

We also keep scouting for inorganic opportunities that can value-add to mPowerO – be it content, product enhancements using AI, etc. 

What would be your advice to budding edu-preneurs?

I would say that the market is maturing, with online learning boundaries starting to mirror those of traditional learning. 

Hence, anyone getting into ed-tech should be clear about what problem she/he intends to solve using digital tools, and for what specific segment.