Look beyond metrics, focus on learning, says LEAD CEO Sumeet Mehta

In a Masterclass on Day 4 of TechSparks 2021, Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, LEAD School, highlighted that schools, education, and technology together could address the learning gaps to truly bring about innovation.

“Tech is transforming our lives in multiple ways — from the way we bank to how we communicate to how we travel. But one segment which I feel hasn't been disrupted enough with tech is education,” said Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of Lead, in a Masterclass on ‘Tech For Purpose - Tech is transforming education but not how you might think’ at TechSparks 2021, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event.

Although India boasts of five edtech unicorns — BYJU'S, Unacademy, upGrad, Eruditus, and Vedantu — Sumeet feels there is still a long way to go.

“While innovation has happened, unfortunately, most of it has happened outside of schools and colleges. So in the below graph if you look at a two by two matrix of K-12 versus higher education on the vertical axis, and In-Institute and outside on the horizontal, you would see that the four unicorns, all sit outside the schools and colleges,” he explained.

As children spend most of their time learning in schools and colleges, there is a need to bring innovation inside the system of these institutes.

Moreover, there is an increased focus on the number of users and engagement rather than the learning outcome. “In education, Saraswati comes before Lakshmi. Saraswati, for me, is learning outcomes. And the latter is a metaphor for commercial success. And, if one focuses on learning outcomes, Saraswati stays and Lakshmi follows. But if someone focuses only on Lakshmi, neither Saraswati comes nor Lakshmi stays,” highlighted Sumeet.

School, ed, and tech

Three important aspects lie at the heart of learning - school, education, and technology. Analysing these, Sumeet explained, “Schools have been linear models, you know where you teach, you test, you report, and then you move on. So, there is a need to reimagine the complex processes of schools and tech can play a very important role.”

Research shows that learning is multimodal, a combination of audio-visual, kinesthetic, and audio. “And the only way we can transform education is by bringing the pedagogy of multimodal learning into our classrooms,” he said.

To fill in the present-day gaps in both school and education, tech has to play a vital role. “I contend that if we have to focus on learning outcomes and transform education, schools + education + tech have to come together,” said Sumeet.

LEADing the way

“We built an integrated system, which we feel can truly transform schools and education in the country. We bring all the stakeholders in a school on our integrated system, which is critical so that the workflows are mapped,” said Sumeet.

“At LEAD School, we empower teachers through a Teacher app, which has all the resources that a teacher needs to teach at an excellent level. Moreover, we empower students with the books and workbooks they need, which are mapped to the curriculum, also a Student app where some of the personalisation, which is not possible in a school can be done at home, and students can practice. Whatever they're not learning, the tech will offer them remediation, he added.

School principals and school owners are empowered through a tech system where they can monitor what is happening in the school and then make interventions on a very targeted level.

This kind of integrated system has resulted in great learning outcome metrics for LEAD.

“When we take on a classroom, the class composition is fairly weak, only 29 percent of students are above the 70 percent mastery mark. And within 6-12 months, we have been able to transform the classroom where more than 70 percent of students are above the 70 percent mark,” shared Sumeet.

Concluding his masterclass, he said, “The path to profit in education goes through purpose, only then can we truly transform schools. That's what I mean by saying tech for purpose. And when we transform schools, we can truly transform India.”

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