Abhishek Patil, CEO and Co-Founder, Oliveboard

As there are no more travels to be done or parties to attend, students and professionals of different age group are now turning increasingly towards online learning. “From K12 students to working professionals, digital learning is gaining huge popularity. We have recently run a survey and more than 60% of users (5k) are using YouTube and learning platforms to study during this lockdown period,” says Abhishek Patil, CEO and Co-Founder, Oliveboard, which is an online test preparation platform for MBA, Banking, SSC, Railways, Insurance and Government Job exams. For learners who cannot attend regular classless during this lockdown, Oliveboard has brought GharPe Coaching for free of cost. In an email interaction with CXO Outlook, Abhishek talks about common misconceptions Indian students have on online learning, the demand-supply gap in quality content delivery in this sector, the future on online coaching and many more. Here are the excerpts.  


Current Status of Digital Learning in India

I would say this is the time where digital learning is booming, not just in India but across the globe. This is true with our users as well as us. This is the right time to learn a new skill, improve your existing skills. From K12 students to working professionals, digital learning is gaining huge popularity. In fact, we have recently run a survey and more than 60% of users (5k) are using YouTube and learning platforms to study during this lockdown period.

Oliveboard’s Response to the Lockdown

Oliveboard is ensuring that there is no interruption in the on-going courses. In fact, we have introduced daily live tests through which students can invite their friends and compete with them. With the Lockdown, students need to be constantly motivated with such challenges and daily interaction. Along with our online users, we also have introduced special courses for students who otherwise study offline. Due to the current situation, they are unable to attend regular classes so Oliveboard has brought GharPe Coaching for them absolutely free of cost. In the logistics part, we have set-up studios in our faculty’s homes so that all classes go out regularly on time.

Common Misconceptions about Online Learning Programs

People wrongly believe that in the Online courses guidance is missing, interaction with peers is absent, it’s cheaper than offline program hence might not cover complete syllabus etc.

Bridging Demand – Supply Gap in Online Coaching Industry

One of the best parts about online coaching industry is it fulfills the demand. Unlike an offline classroom, online classroom can accommodate thousands of students and interact with them at the same time. For us, providing quality content to students from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities is the goal. We ensure that these students can learn from top faculty across the country from their own home.

Future of Online Learning Industry from Now

Personalization at scale will define and propel online learning. There is far more to online learning than just increased distribution compared to offline. With the use of technology and data, the next step is providing instant remedial classes which are tailor-made for each individual to help him achieve his goal (typically cracking an exam) much faster.

Advice to the Ed-Tech Startups

One of the common learnings for us and many more Ed-Tech startups during the initial journey was that in Edtech, first there is Ed and only then technology. Without the former, the latter will not achieve anything. So it is important to realize tech will not replace educators but make them more scalable.

Common Challenges Online Teachers Face and how to Overcome Them

While online learning is popular in the west from years now, India is still new to this culture. Especially the banking and SSC aspirants from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. They are used to offline classes and practicing on textbooks. They miss the personal touch, which with live classes and video calls, online teachers have almost filled the gap.

Key Trends of eLearning to Follow

Personalization lie mentioned earlier along with newer forms of content in terms of AR/VR. There is a lot of interesting companies, startups on creating AR/VR solutions for education & training.

Advice to the Online Learning Aspirants 

The challenge that students face for studying online typically is the lack of motivation for continuity and a lack of understanding of the true value of an online course. While startups try to solve this evident problem, students who overcome this problem can unlock significant additional value that online programs bring compared to the offline word. A few examples are of course access to the best teachers (vs the best teachers in your area), analytics that identifies and working on weak areas and interaction with Toppers across the country and to learn from them. All these are considerable value additions that any student should ensure they explore and exploit.


More about Abhishek Patil and Oliveboard

Prior to starting Oliveboard, Abhishek was the Head of Strategy & Analytics at InMobi where he was instrumental in expanding their presence across Japan, Korea, China, W. Europe, LATAM and Australia. He also built the Analytics team at InMobi to derive insights from large amounts of data for business decisions. At Oliveboard, he handles the strategy, supply-side management & marketing among various other business roles. Abhishek has an MBA from the ‘University of Notre Dame’ and has played integral roles across various spheres like hospitality, manufacturing, gold trading and movie making.

Oliveboard is an online test preparation platform for MBA, Banking, SSC, Railways, Insurance & Government Job exams. Students are prepped for success using Live Sessions & Video lectures, Up to date comprehensive course material, Live Group Practice Sessions, Customized Study Planners, All India Test Series, Practice Tests and Analytics for instant feedback.  Users can access Oliveboard’s courses on their computers, laptops or on an app using their smartphones.

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