When in school, our class interactions would generally be limited to the 30 odd students with no chance of interacting with the other sections simultaneously. The teacher would always be in a hurry to finish the portions in time, setting homework and so on. It used to be quite dull at times.
MyKlassRoom invariably solves that problem. Granted that solving this particular problem may not have been its main priority, but it does add a different dimension to the classroom experience.
“Myklassroom.com is a powerful blend of social networking and e-learning, which transforms the traditional classroom education to an online collaborative platform for teaching and learning,” says Natraj Thuduppathy, Co-founder of MyKlassRoom.com. “In other words, it’s a smart space for smart learning.”
The founders started this initiative with the aim to widen the horizon of learning by bringing in more students to collaborate, allowing a greater variety of perspectives and a larger platform of discussion, including people from different geographies and cultures.
YourStory spoke to Natraj to find out more about his startup.
YS: Where did you get the idea for MyKlassRoom from?
NT: The idea for MyKlassroom came to me during my MBA programme. We realized that though a lot of the best institutions have used the concept of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), just a handful of these institutions collaborate with one another.
The primary motive behind starting something like this was to increase the learners’ exposure by connecting them with like-minded people around the world.
We wanted our platform to be learner-centric rather than content-centric, to promote active engagement. Learning is a conversation and an experience!
YS: Who are founders?
NT: Soundaran Natarajan and I started this. Soundaran has over 22 years of experience in the technology sector. He started his career with Oracle Corporation and later went on to found a technology consulting firm called Quest America Inc.
I was a software architect developing large scale content management solutions for the US federal government agencies like the FAA and the EPA along with institutions like George Washington University.
We have known each other for more than ten years now. I used to work with him in the early days of my career before starting out with an MBA.
YS: Where do you work out of?
NT: We’re an eight-member team working out of Coimbatore and Bangalore. Most of the development operations are carried out of Coimbatore.
YS: What is the focus of MyKlassRoom?
NT: MyKlassRoom has three main elements which it harvests for maximum value creation of its platform:
YS: What is your target market? Can you give us some insight on the e-learning industry?
NT: We are currently working with the higher education segments with a few pilot initiatives with the K-12 segment. We partner with the institutions to get their courses online.
In 2011, it was estimated that about $35.6 billion was spent on self-paced e-learning across the globe. Today, e-learning is a $56.2 billion industry, and it's going to double by 2015.
YS: What success has MyKlassRoom seen till date?
NT: Since our launch in July 2011, we’ve had 30,000 students use our platform. In 2012, we signed a MoU with VTU e-learning to provide MyKlassRoom services along with streaming of EduSat video content to VTU student community in 175 affiliated institutions. We had also organized a Faculty Video Lecture contest last year to award the top video lectures from faculties across the country. Early this year, in February, we were awarded the ‘National Education Excellence Award 2014’ by ASSOCHAM India.
YS: What are some of the challenges you have faced till now?
NT: I think our biggest challenge has been to scale up our marketing and sales. We are concentrating on reaching out to a much larger audience and to different educational institutions. The market is very fragmented so penetration becomes hard. Finding talented people to work with is still a challenge.
YS: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt?
NT: We need to change constantly. There’s something to learn every day; strategies need to be reviewed to adapt them to changing scenarios.
YS: Are you currently hiring? Are you looking for funding?
NT: We are always on the lookout for talent to work with us. We are looking at scaling up our sales and technology team. On the funding side, we are looking to push for it sometime next year.
YS: What is your happiest moment with the startup?
NT: I was extremely happy when testimonials talk about our impact on the learners.