Finding it tough to crack CA? This startup is for you
Using the power of technology, IndigoLearn is training hundreds of students for Chartered Accountancy exams.
Teaching is a tough job. And learning on the other hand can be quite boring. While there have been many initiatives to make Mathematics and Science interesting to study, not much has been done for other subjects.
But there is one website which is putting in efforts to make learning a fun process while helping students understand various aspects of finance and accounting. Driven by the core principle of bringing in conceptual clarity, IndigoLearn is India’s first finance and accounting focussed edtech startup.
Conceptualised by Sathya Raghu V Mokkapati and Sriram Somayajula, IndigoLearn creates educational videos with gamified assessments to make studying for CA fun. Sathya Raghu, who is a CA by profession, has been training CA students for over a decade. He has spent enough time interacting with students to understand how to improve his teaching abilities. Based on these interactions, Sathya, along with Sriram, decided to build an education module which would be interactive and engaging. Sathya and Sriram met in 2013. Sriram is a CA and a CFA; he completed his MBA from the Indian School of Business.They were soon joined by Suraj Lakhotia, an all India topper in CA and a tech expert Sarat Velumuri.With their former colleagues and friends, they founded IndigoLearn.
While the work on IndigoLearn was started three years ago, it took final shape only in late 2016. The first module was launched in April 2017 on IndigoLearn’s website and app, with the aim to help those who do not get access to quality education and good teachers.
Though the team has experience of training over 1,00,000 students in the last 10 years, IndigoLearn spent the first six months interacting with around 1,000 students to understand the gaps in learning.
The online education platform offers CA courses to students preparing for the entrance exam. It uses a combination of CA faculty and CA first-rankers to offer engaging and personalised teaching to students.
The team spent two months preparing videos, notes and assessment tests, showcasing them to over 600 students, and receiving feedback from them for improvement. So far, more than 3000 students have used the video lessons to understand various concepts of chartered accountancy. In the videos, the instructor explains the concepts along with graphics to make understanding easier.
Sriram says experience has taught him that the difference between those who succeed and those struggle to succeed, is conceptual clarity. “Learning has never been perceived as an enjoyable experience by students. In various tutorials, thousands of students study in classrooms for long hours, where they are made to learn short cuts and memorise instead of understanding the concepts. We wanted to change this,” he asserts.
For every video, a professional movie maker has been taken on board for shooting and post-production work. Special focus has been on ensuring that the learning process does not get boring. And after every video, there is also an assessment to ensure that students have learned what has been taught.
The integrated learning modules are generally 8-12 minute-long videos. These videos are followed by gamified assessments to comprehensively cover different scenarios that could be tested in the examination. Students are assessed through interesting ways such as solving crosswords, puzzles, and riddles. Based on their performance, a personalised assessment is given to the students. “When we compare our students’ success rate to the average, we are always better by 40 percent or more,” says Sriram.
But how is IndigoLearn different from the other online educational websites? Sriram explains that the content on IndigoLearn is easy to view and includes practical illustrations. He says, “We use high-quality animation and provide students with assessment tests to ensure higher levels of student engagement. Our focus on technology to enable better learning and examination experience has set us apart from other players in the market. Existing players focus mostly on content delivery, based on students’ capabilities rather than their requirements.”
He further argues that most of these online platforms simply shoot a classroom lecture and sell the video as an online course. And about 30 percent of the time spent watching the videos is wasted because of the inefficiencies of a real classroom environment.
Sriram explains that with the power of stories, even the most complex topic can be easily explained. “Once a student understands the concept based on the story, it makes him interested in its various aspects. That’s when we dig deep into critical concepts,” says Sriram. He adds that stories with animation, byte-sized modules, gamified evaluation and great analytics make the learning experience more enjoyable.
To teach the modules, IndigoLearn has 10 teachers including the founders Sathya, Sriram, and Suraj. Learning modules for accounting and auditing standards of CA Inter and CA Final are available and modules for CA Foundation are under preparation.
There are few demo classes and courses which can be accessed for free. Beyond that, students pay to get access to the modules. At present, IndigoLearn charges Rs 999 for the Standards on Auditing class for CA intermediate, Rs.1,199 for Accounting Standards for CA Intermediate, Rs 1,299 for the Standards on Auditing class for CA final, and Rs.2,999 for Accounting Standards for CA final.
Counting the achievements, Sriram says that the response received from students and parents has been the biggest achievement so far. “Many parents reach out to us and congratulate us for building something which has the potential to impact the lives and careers of thousands of children,” he asserts. Around 50 percent of students who access IndigoLearn are from non-metros who had no access to quality education, he adds. IndigoLearn was on top in the StartEDU 5 competition held by USF TiE in Bengaluru last month, in which more than 210 education startups competed.
In next one year, the team intends to launch modules for the entire CA course along with modules for class XI and XII students and a few global professional courses as well. The aim is to train a million students to be conceptually-sound professionals in the next five years.