While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire coaching industry to consider hybrid models to stay relevant, most coaching centers were clueless about how to approach it. Just at this juncture, TCYonline, an AI-driven edtech platform lent many such centers a helping hand by onboarding them to its platform. The company is a pioneer in edtech analytics since 2008 and has been steadily working around often-ignored nuances contributing to student success. “Our moat is not just billions of data points captured on this journey; it’s mainly our unique strength of integrating books, classroom tutorials and remedial assessments.
This is a wonderful seamless experience for teachers “, says Viji Raj, Head of Academic Research and Data Science at TCY. Although connecting all these resources to the common tagging tree is a gargantuan task that takes many academic cycles to perfect, now that this investment has been made, the company is enjoying a near monopoly.”
“I thought it would be challenging to go online so fast without much preparation. Fast-forward three months and seeing nothing but uncertainty for many more months to come, I am glad that I took the plunge and the sailing couldn’t have been smoother. The seamless integration of books, tutorials and tests through the mobile app is what works like a wonder”, quipped Mariappan from Pride Tutorials.
Already running more than 1,000 third-party coaching centers in India and 50 abroad, the company plans to add over 20,000 centers in the next four years. TCY equips them all with three main pillars to run a successful coaching center:
a) Integrated online and offline academic resources
b) ERP for day to day operations
c) Students (read business)
With the company adding almost 15 centers daily to its platform these days, worries about these centers are a thing of the past.
“We are scaling up our curation team. Like any other successful multi-sided platform, it’s important not to allow any non-serious participant which may ruin the experience of many learners”, says Mukta Gogia from B2B sales team of TCY.
The company hopes to add 30-40 centers daily soon after the government allows physical coaching centers to reopen.
TCYonline observed that given the current trends, three types of coaching centers have tied up with the edtech firm.
1. Already in business but lacked online experience:
The company helped them serve existing students and now it is helping them with new enrolments from their nearby areas and beyond.
2. Already using online delivery:
With the platform connecting them with the demand from all over the country, this segment saw the highest growth. Many even widened their product portfolio through the platform.
3. Launching new business:
a. Some weekend warriors from the corporate world finally struck on their own, owing to a hugely-reduced risk. Customers on platter and no physical set up required, thanks to restrictions placed by the government.
b. Fresh entrants into the employment market who are either finding it difficult to find jobs or their joining dates are unforeseeable. They find the company a Shopify-equivalent that also brings in customers.
Such a huge growth is possible only when there’s a significant value for stakeholders underneath: teachers, learners and center owners.
Here’s a look at the different stakeholders that TCY brings in with its common platform:
Everything in the education game revolves around the teacher.
If a teacher knows the expected learning outcomes, knowledge gaps, remedial actions; if he/she has standardised classroom tutorials & books that are integrated with online assessments & mock tests; if he/she gets automatically-formed extra batches, personal trainer tools for students like Test Generator and multi-student competition tool like Challenge Zone, what else could he/she ask for. At all times, his/her dashboard shows ‘at risk’ & potential ‘outliers’ along with inputs to be offered.
A teacher with TCY platform sleeps with no anxiety as AI makes any awkward questioning by students, parents and seniors almost zero. With the platform being a true 24x7 assistant to them, they feel no less than a super specialist doctor.
TCY mobile app is the connecting link between the student, teacher, and curriculum resources. The AI systems working at the backend continuously monitor his/her knowledge state and assign personalised practice on weak areas. While using the book, the learner can access additional practice & solutions through the embedded barcodes.
Study Planner, a popular AI tool, helps them practise in a personalised as well as adaptive environment. Students joining at the college test-prep stage feel that their peers who joined the platform early in their school days enjoy a greater advantage because the AI understands their unique learning needs at a greater depth. While the tool TCY Proficiency Index (TPI) quietly captures competencies at the backend for both, the latter also experience better career mapping through a tool called Career Sense. Even the coaching centers that joined early enjoy more reviews and ratings which help students make better decisions.
“I was very fond of playing and analysing sports. My undergraduate degree was in computer science with math as my main strength. Step by step, I was able to identify my unique strengths and match them with the available career opportunities where my strengths and interests converged. Now I am moving to Indiana University, USA for an MS where I’d work on Sports Analytics”, says Nishchay, one of the students on the platform.
Coaching centre owner
“Unique remedial methodology, rubric-based scoring, AI-driven writing evaluation was a great hit with the students. Our first center filled up so fast that it gave us the confidence to open six branches one after the other”, says Veenu Garg of Competition Academy.
The company’s english language teaching programs like PTE, IELTS and TOEFL have been embraced at centers even in Australia & New Zealand where the native language itself is English. Centers in eight countries are thriving with TCY’s AI-backed offerings.
Seven centers that TCY owns are directly run by the company. Any innovation is first tried out in these centers - the research labs, under close supervision - and perfected before it is taken to partner coaching centers.
Algorithm captures skills to generate this ‘Course end Certificate’
When coaching centers use AI in enhancing teacher effectiveness, it saves many students from repeating one more year for preparation. A student repeating a year is seen as a loss for both the student and the center. Technology helps the centers track student knowledge gaps timely and map them with the best intra center teacher or from the platform, automatically.
The coaching centers can integrate forward and backward across the entire spectrum of TCY offerings across K-12, language learning, college entrance, and placement tests. This significantly enhances customer Life Time Value.
The TCY Proficiency Index certificate provided to students gets added to their resume, social media profile & LinkedIn profile. Their language skills are measured on CEFR scale and certified through TELT (TCY English Language Test) as they prepare for their courses. So a student passing out of a TCY center has all captured skills certified. This itself becomes a crowd puller for the coaching centers.
A notice about TELT at a coaching center
As basic assessments are open for all, thousands of new students join the B2B edtech platform daily. Based on what they are looking for and on their initial attempts, the algorithm suggests nearby centers for quick improvements. This creates automatic enrolments for these coaching centers.
All interactions pass through the company’s ERP. Repetitive tasks of the admin are automated & converted into a format manageable by junior employees, so that owners can focus on growing the business and maintaining multiple centers.
A center owner at TCY platform isn’t worried as the complete health of the center - academics, operations and business with actionables - is always on the dashboard, thanks to AI.(ViewSample Report)
Kamal Wadhera, the founder of TCY, says, “Teachers don’t need more data; they just need deep insights. The education for a student is right only if it answers two questions for him/her at all times:
Where do I stand?
What next should I do to succeed?”
In addition to these insights from its captive labs to create such a huge network of centers, TCY also has some more that were exported to the platform from its past pipe model.
Rajesh Wadhera, its co-founder and who personally oversees content operations, says, “The company did some projects with top US and Canadian publishers like McGraw Hill and Pearson in the past. Learning from such experiences, TCY perfected its own user generated content model. Having seeded the platform with just 6-7 categories, it covered the entire test prep spectrum of around 200 categories within five years or so. Today the company arguably has the largest repository of test prep assessment content of around one million unique items with average rating of over 4.5/5, attempted by over five million unique learners. The company’s recent partnership with Tata Class Edge would scale TCY assessment solutions to schools pan India.”
Capitalising on its UGC model, the company will start acquiring video content in the near future. “The ecosystem for user generated video content is developing fast in the country. We’d tap into it soon,” Rajesh said.
TCY team in action
According to Rakesh Kumar, who heads platform operations, “Platforms are eating linear businesses. If we execute our plan of 20,000 centers in four years, it’d mean over 60,00,000 paying students, 100,000 teachers, 70,000 classrooms & 30,000 counselors would be part of the platform at any given time. If you see the impact of intellectual and physical assets on the platform, it is simply unthinkable. The ratings and reviews captured for all these assets would be an all new world of choices.”
Like SAT in the USA & Gaokao in China, the new education policy of India envisions a single test for college admissions which will make this model even more interesting for all stakeholders. Helping learners become what they were born to be is a grand bold vision. The coming years will test how the company makes it happen.