Jerold Pereira, Executive Director and CEO, mPowerO

mPowerO is a learning and engagement platform that provides a simple to use delivery platform for students and learners to access all study-related material – course work, assignments, assessments, and announcements, all in one place. “mPowerO eLearning platform helps schools, colleges & training institutes and publishers ensure continuity with their operations and also enabled them to scale up despite the challenges brought about due to the COVID-pandemic,” says Jerold Pereira, Executive Director and CEO, mPowerO. In a conversation with CXO Outlook, Jerold Pereira talks about services mPowerO offers to the education sector, marketing strategies mPowerO is using during COVID-19, and much more.

The Indian EdTech sector is currently booming due to the pandemic. As an Ed-Tech Start-up that helps institutions with digital transformation, how is mPowerO helping learners during this pandemic?

Ed-tech was bound to gain traction and ‘boom’ given (a) the size of India’s student population, (b) technology disrupting most aspects of our daily lives, and (c) wider availability of cheaper data and devices. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online learning, with timelines truncating.

mPowerO has been digitally transforming learning since 2016-17 by aiding instructor-led learning through an e-learning platform that makes learning inquiry-led, experiential and collaborative. Like other leading Ed-tech players, mPowerO has seen much faster adoption during the pandemic since the benefits of e-learning are now widely understood and accepted by academia and other stakeholders.

What are the unique services mPowerO offers to the education sector? How does the company intend to stand out from the crowd?

mPowerO is a cloud-hosted e-learning solution that has been developed by educators, for educators. mPowerO delivers a simple, intuitive and interactive learning experience in the mobile-first format, keeping in mind that most online learning is happening via smartphones. mPowerO is also accessible through a web browser.

Secondly, mPowerO deploys a ‘customised’ e-learning solution through a school/institute-branded mobile app and browser, mapped to the school’s/institute’s pedagogy. This gives a sense of ‘ownership’ and security to stakeholders as proprietary e-content and student data remain secure on the platform and cannot be shared externally unless specifically permitted.

Thirdly, mPowerO integrates learning, communication and engagement into a single platform. Ease of flipping between live classes and lesson plans, clearing doubts, sending announcements, taking tests/exams with instant results are well-appreciated features. Teachers who struggle with other e-learning platforms, find mPowerO’s UI/UX extremely user-friendly whilst creating lesson plans, setting tests, sharing additional learning resources and more.

Further, mPowerO helps improve learning outcomes as teachers, students, and parents collaborate by using mPowerO’s granular analytics and dashboards to track learner progress and comprehension, and facilitating timely intervention as required.

What inspired you to start mPowerO in 2016? How have your objectives and goals changed since the company has grown?

SkillPro has been in the education and training space since 2008, delivering various learning solutions across age groups – from school-going children to those seeking employment and life skills. Our deep understanding of this space impressed upon us the importance of leveraging digital tools to deliver a more comprehensive and immersive learning experience. This led to the development of mPowerO, our e-learning management system.

The objectives and goals of SkillPro have not really changed over the years – we remain committed to ensuring high-quality learning delivery for superior learning outcomes. We have evolved with time, incorporating newer technologies and learning pedagogies, which has enabled us to scale faster and wider.

Since May, mPowerO has already boarded more than 10+ leading schools. How did you manage to become a successful EdTech company in India?

The number of schools and students now using mPowerO are far higher. The past 3-4 months has seen much faster adoption as schools turn to digital enablement. And this is no longer restricted to top schools in metros and Tier 1 cities – we are on-boarding schools and educational institutes across all categories and geographies.

Secondly, it is no longer necessary for us to evangelize the importance and benefits of e-learning. Schools are moving away from stop-gap tools, deployed during the initial days of the lockdown, to more long-term, customised, secure e-learning platforms, which are intended to remain in a ‘post-pandemic’ environment. mPowerO is an e-learning platform that delivers on all of these counts and hence the traction.

What are the marketing strategies mPowerO is using at the moment and would recommend to other EdTech startups?

We leverage different channels – primarily digital these days – for the marketing of mPowerO, with every channel addressing a specific need in our outreach and messaging. Our immediate focus is on those channels that help us with qualified leads as well as brand awareness. We have also been using social media handles and offline and online PR to support our marketing efforts.

With regard to recommendations, it really depends on the business model of the start-up. Marketing strategies for a B2C model would vary from a B2B2C or B2B model. One thing is very clear now – the increased importance of a well-thought-out digital marketing strategy – since even reading habits have changed on account of the pandemic.

What are some of the most innovative technologies in EdTech right now? What are the key trends of e-learning to follow in 2021?

Ed-tech is at a very nascent stage in India and is starting to find wider adoption, be it across K-12, higher education, test preparation, skill training, etc. What remains of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 will be about faster adoption of existing technologies at scale. What is interesting is that ed-tech is making learning more ‘personalised’, even in a school environment using AI and ML tools. There has also been increasing usage of ‘self-proctored’ tests – another area where mPowerO is getting good traction through mPowerO Assess.

What are the exciting things can we expect from mPowerO in the next 12 months? What are your plans for expansion?

mPowerO is continuous work-in-progress, with newer releases upgrading existing features and bringing in new ones like personalised learning paths, AR/VR tools, etc. We are also testing new forms of last-mile digital delivery, which will enable us to exponentially grow our footprint with K-12 schools. Further, we continue to partner with digital content providers and publishers, particularly in the K-12 and skills space, thereby expanding the value proposition, which we will soon offer direct-to-customer (B2C). We remain bullish about the size of the ed-tech opportunity, which we expect to keep growing, and are well-positioned to capitalize on the same.

 

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