Edtech Enterprise: Edtech players are going hybrid as online growth slows

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Bengaluru: Edtech players are focusing on a hybrid model amid an industry slowdown after two years of hypergrowth as the easing of Covid-19 curbs and the reopening of offline institutions prompt more students to return to traditional ways of learning.

Companies such as PhysicsWallah, Byju’s, Imarticus Learning, Cuemath, Vedantu, and Unacademy are all expanding or building an offline presence.

Edtech players say hybridization is part of a natural transition as education transforms with the rise of digitalization and emerging technologies. As the rapid adoption of online learning will continue, classroom programs will enhance learning, in-person student-teacher interaction and project work, they said.

Students and parents have understood the convenience that the online mode provides, which is why a hybrid model is the way edification will be accessible in the future,” said Alakh Pandey, Founder of PhysicsWallah, who raised $100 million to become the nation’s 101st unicorn earlier this week.

It plans to open 20 offline hybrid classrooms or pathways across the country to bridge the accessibility gap, and has already inaugurated a few with around 7,000 students. PW implements concepts such as gamification as well as adaptive learning techniques to make learning engaging at all levels.

Byju’s, the nation’s largest edtech company, announced plans to invest $200 million in offline tuition centers, expanding to 500 of them in 200 cities this year.

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Imarticus Learning, an early adopter of the hybrid model before the pandemic, plans to open more offline centers as it expands to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, CEO Nikhil Barshikar said.

Vivek Sundar, CEO of Cuemath, said: “Part of the return to offline mode is natural given the opening of schools and the absence of lockdowns after the pandemic, which many edtech players are seeing. . Cuemath works on offline plans.

“Most students can’t learn as effectively online,” said Vivek Varshney, founder of SpeEdLabs, which powers a blended learning model. “During the pandemic, it was a forced choice; but now most want the lecture component to be done through offline courses.

Pivoting to a hybrid model seems a natural strategy for the sector which, after a period of unprecedented highs, is now facing a funding crisis and a series of layoffs this year by companies like Unacademy, Vedantu, Lido Learning, Udayy and FrontRow.

Unsurprisingly, Vedantu, which laid off more than 600 employees this year, rates the “hybrid model” as one of the initiatives to drive the next phase of growth.

“The hybrid model offers certain advantages, such as multiple learning products for different audiences, and access to quality teachers and learning methodologies in underserved cities,” said Vedantu CEO Vamsi Krishna. “It also provides a solid learning experience for students, spanning the best of offline and online capabilities.”

Unacademy, which has also seen recent layoffs, launched into offline learning in May. Its upcoming Unacademy centers – in Kota, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Patna, Pune and Delhi – will facilitate offline courses for learners and expand access to educators from NEET UG, IIT JEE and foundation (9-12) course categories.

Imarticus plans to give learners the option to choose a mode of learning that meets their needs. “The hybrid model has many advantages,” said its CEO Barshikar. “You can cater to a wider audience and often give learners the option to choose what works best for them.”

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