Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy
Saiju Aravind – Codes of e-learning: An edupreneur’s vision

The educational system has witnessed a lot of changes with time. The ancient teaching methods of Gurukul system evolved with modern technology, paving the way to new concepts of learning.  Most of the time, schools are well equipped with the best faculty, but they fail to imbibe the learning experience into their students. Often, teachers teach subjects according to a set curriculum and they strive to impart the knowledge to their pupils within the allotted time. Within this minimal time and pressurized surroundings, student’s ability to learn is judged by genetics, innate brain power, personality traits, ability to memorize and many such non-quantifiable variables. However, they fail to impart the joys of learning to them and henceforth the calibre of the student is measured by how much they can retain and recall at the end of each academic year.

Edupreneur Saiju Aravind, the founder of EduBrisk Knowledge Solutions Private Limited, is breaking these monotonous stereotype methods of learning, by improvising brilliance and intelligence. ‘Learn to Learn’ is the motto which motivates Mr. Saiju, to demystify the art of learning through logical thinking. Mr. Saiju Aravind is a Naval Architect by profession with a post -graduation from IIT Delhi. He has also served in the Indian Navy and Defence Research and Development (DRDO) as a Commander and a Senior Scientist respectively for over two decades. During his tenure in the Navy and DRDO, he imparted training to BTech Naval architecture students and also taught MTech courses to the students respectively. He took voluntary retirement in 2013 to pursue his passion and has been serving the society in the role of an Educationist. He is an active member of the Institute of Defence Scientists and Technologist (IDST) since 2014 and has also published several international journals and conference papers. For his noteworthy contributions, Cmdr. Saiju has been honoured with ‘Tukral Memorial Award’ and ‘Commodore Garg Silver Medal’ at IIT Delhi. His innate ability, experience and knowledge gained all throughout his tenure, has helped him to simplify learning techniques thereby helping the children to understand concepts and improving their overall performance.

EduBrisk aims to transform the process of teaching and learning, at a fundamental level. With easy, practical, replicable processes and methodologies, it helps teachers to teach in an inclusive manner, pitching the lesson to a wide spectrum of students in all categories. Simultaneously, EduBrisk trains the student to learn in a brain-friendly manner. It uses scientifically crafted academic and life skills modules for learning and personal development. The skills imparted through the programme are applicable far beyond the classroom and are deemed as an essential life skill. EduBrisk learning process rests on a strong scientific foundation – that of the neurophysiology of learning. It encourages process-oriented, brain-friendly and brisk learning. Brisk and easy learning methodologies help the students to overcome challenges and boost up their confidence. It is, in fact, the result of a deep understanding of cognition, neurology, psychology and other numerous physiological aspects of learning. It is also the outcome of a profound understanding of the interconnectedness that permeates our lives and the inevitability of integrated learning.

The birth of EduBrisk:

It has never been a cakewalk for Mr. Saiju Aravind. Like others, he too had his share of ups and down. For Cmdr. Saiju Aravind, it was his personal experience, which led him to think out of the box and come up with the innovative idea of EduBrisk. He shares with us the touching story of his son, Krishnadas and the consequences which led him to start up an e-learning platform. Krishnadas, who was then a Cl.XII student showed disinterest towards studies. Depressed and unnerved by his ‘inability’ to learn, he did not want to give his board exams. Worried by his son’s mental agony, Cmdr. Saiju decided to take him for a break, on an impromptu holiday. Their conversations, during their vacation in the hills of Kumaon, gave Cmdr. Saiju Aravind a deep insight into what was troubling his son. After a fortnight, the two returned as Krishnadas wanted to give the Boards a shot. The bond the two had forged, during their time away, prompted them to work together. With little time and vast portions to cover, it was imperative that Krishnadas learn, quickly, effectively and efficiently. Further, he had to overcome his limiting beliefs about his ability to learn, too.

Cmdr. Saiju Aravind did not ‘teach’ his son in the conventional sense, but helped him to prepare for the exams. Relying on his scientific training and experience, he researched the science behind learning, memorising, analytical thinking and other related topics. From his extensive research and analysis, he formulated methods that helped Krishnadas to grasp and recall concepts efficiently. Much to his father’s surprise and his constant motivation, Krishnadas cleared his board exams. Using the same learning techniques, the young man prepared for the Kerala Law Entrance Exam and secured the 25th rank, and then went on to crack the CLAT examination to get into the National Law University.

As it is always said one learns through his experiences. This is apt in the case of Mr. Saiju Aravind.  From his observations, and knowledge gathered through extensive reading, he formulated broad guidelines, forming the building blocks of EduBrisk.

Initially, Mr. Saiju Aravind faced a lot of challenges in shaping his learning platform. The impetus to put this simple yet brilliant idea on to a software platform came from like-minded friends and intellectuals who shared a similar passion for education. Well respected personalities like Mr. Chandra Ambadipudi (CEO of Clairvoyant Inc. USA); Mr. Sam Santhosh, the ‘Genome Man of India’; Dr. Sadasivan Vidyasagar of Florida University; Mr. Mahesh Pratapneni (Emerge Ventures, Singapore), and Karthik Kumaramangalam (Papillon Capital) enthusiastically supported the venture by providing valuable inputs and guidance.

Since then, the processes and methodologies that EduBrisk propounds have been tested and refined countless times. Inputs are always sought from teachers, parents, industry leaders, educators, intellectuals, students and everyone who has a stake in education. The result is a nimble software platform that is scalable and student-friendly and helps anyone to improve their learning and memory skills, irrespective of their age or scholastic background.

What makes EduBrisk different?

Nowadays, we encounter many student-friendly e-learning platforms which provide content and courses. However, Edubrisk stands apart from all those platforms, as it focusses more on the process orientation. It is a virtual platform that equips students and teachers with effective processes to learn or teach in a stress-free manner, the way our brain is wired to grasp and retain information. Using latest technology and software, it helps to bring about a conceptual shift in the teaching/learning practices. This platform aims to train one’s memory and enhance the individual’s potential while improving the quality and depth of knowledge. It also provides parents with valuable tools to inculcate the art of learning and a love for knowledge in young children.

Addressing an observation made by the Yash Pal Committee that students are ‘burdened with disintegrated knowledge’, EduBrisk makes an exceptional effort to integrate knowledge into an interlinked, cohesive whole. Cmdr. Saiju Aravind believes that the amount of data is immaterial and that the ‘links’ in the brain are responsible for retaining it for later use. To support his above statement he provides us with a simple example, “A person can easily recall the storyline of a three-hour-long movie. But, if the movie is cut into a hundred bits and shown at random, it would be nearly impossible anyone to remember much of it!” EduBrisk weaves a strong fabric of knowledge, using ageless methods and wisdom, integrating bits of data using various modern tools, to create useful and applicable skills. Cmdr. Saiju Aravind often cites references from the dopamine effect theory to explain his idea. Dopamine is one of many important neurotransmitters and it plays a critical role in the way our brain controls our movements. According to Mr. Saiju Aravind, “The idea is to break down the big picture, into small steps and celebrate each milestone. The sense of achievement and success will spur the student to learn and stay engaged in the long run.”

EduBrisk for Schools- Shaping a better Curriculum:

EduBrisk has professionals from all walks of life, be it a student, teacher, parent or an entrepreneur, someone who relishes and celebrates knowledge. Over the past few years, EduBrisk has been associating with schools in Kerala and Dubai in conducting classes, mentoring teachers and helping the students to overcome their learning disability. Their online platform has helped close to 6000 students enhance their potential and provided them with the much-needed confidence to face challenges and accomplish higher goals.

EduBrisk does not require any infrastructure or capital investment beyond a computer and internet access. The software currently supports CBSE, ICSE and IGCSE syllabi, providing an immense wealth of resources per chapter in each subject. Being specialists in imparting the process of learning, it helps the school to raise the overall performance of each student. The software essentially trains the teachers, parents and students with brain-friendly teaching/learning techniques, by interweaving aural, visual and other aids to make each session interesting and memorable. Fully aligned with the guidelines set down by a number of regulatory bodies, including the KHDA, UAE, EduBrisk is guaranteed to augment the teaching potential of the institution.

Discouraging the usual tradition of spoon feeding, EduBrisk encourages on proactive learning. A broad and thorough understanding of the total syllabi enables EduBrisk to perceive the interconnectedness of the various subjects and topics. This fabric of overlapping similarities and complimentary aspects of various subjects makes learning fun and exciting.

Apart from these, the students can also avail a number of other packages like preparing for competitive exams, Civil Services foundation and Career Development modules. In a whole, EduBrisk connects parent, teacher and student; building a strong ratio of1:1:1. The aim is to enhance competency level of students and standardize teaching methodology in compliance with the guidelines set forth by the Government and policymakers.

EduBrisk for Teachers – Restructuring the teaching methodology:

EduBrisk has benefitted immensely from Cmdr. Saiju Aravind’s stint as a teacher. His teaching experience has helped him a lot in interacting with the students, understanding their capabilities and exploring their talents. He states emphatically, “It is crucial that a teacher can explain a concept or subject, in terminology and at the level where a student can fully grasp and assimilate it.”

EduBrisk is a complete package that allows teachers to undertake differential teaching, in accordance with the needs of the students. By providing ‘step down’ modules for each topic, EduBrisk eases the teacher’s task of bringing students up to par with the prescribed standards. This is indeed a boon for those teaching in non-homogenous classrooms.

EduBrisk is designed in such a way that it helps to create lesson plans, personal notes and additional teaching aids. The extensive and exhaustive inputs and supportive material available per chapter provide teacher with a better arena of the topic in detail. By providing supplemental visual and interactive content, EduBrisk makes the teachers’ task easier. Moreover, this platform enhances the teacher-student relationship; the teachers remain connected with the student, actually and virtually.

EduBrisk for Students- Moulding better Individuals:

With the advancement of technology, learning is no longer restricted to the four walls of the classroom. Students are exposed to new methods of learning. What to learn and how much to learn solely depends on their curiosity and diligence. The EduBrisk’s platform is designed in such a way that it helps the students to be on par with the school syllabus be it CBSE, ICSE or IGCSE. Being an online platform, it is accessible to students, teachers and parents, 24/7.The ‘step down’ modules attached to each chapter helps students catch up with or brush up their skills on the basics and fundamentals of each subject. It brings forth a flipped classroom, encourages personalisation and collaboration with teachers and peers; provide interesting memory techniques, self-learning modes, and cross-curricular links, along with diagnostic and assessment tests. Henceforth, students are able to understand difficult concepts with the help of improved techniques which helps them to gain a better understanding of each subject, be it Mathematics or Physical science.

EduBrisk for Parents –Rooting the foundation of learning:

Parents lay the foundation for children’s life. Children, starting at an earlier age tend to learn a lot from their parents. Through our words and action, they mould their cognitive skills. EduBrisk understands the key role parents play in the intellectual development of the child. Citing from his personal experience, Cdr. Saiju Aravind says, “No one wants the child to excel, more than the parent. But, good intentions are not good enough.” Acknowledging and leveraging the parents’ significant and influential role in the child’s overall development, EduBrisk has designed programmes to train parents. The platform offers training for parents of children below nine years, instead of working with the students directly. This will not only broaden their perspective on parenting but also will help the parents to shape their child’s career in a successive way. PALM or ‘Parent’s as Life Mentors’ is another laudable initiative by EduBrisk. This workshop aims to train parents to break away from repressive, repetitive patterns and facilitate better parenting practices.

People on the Deck – Meet The Directors of EduBrisk:

EduBrisk’s reins lie upon a set of talented Directors, Titans from various industries, whose constant effort is to serve the society by bringing a paradigm shift in the field of education.

Mr. Mahesh Pratapneni is the Managing Director of Singapore-based EmergeOut Ventures. A graduate from IIT Madras and an alumnus of IIM Kolkata, he also serves as the Executive Director of MedGenome, Advisor to Oversite Data Services, and Board Member of Impelsys. He specializes in incubating product companies in the education, healthcare, and data analytics sectors. He is known for building outstanding global teams and for his expertise in building global delivery models. He also focusses on helping launch, re-engineer and support small and mid-sized technology-driven businesses.

Mr. Sam Santhosh, an entrepreneur with Post Graduation from IIM Kolkata, is an avid reader with intense passion in the learning process. Moving from software to molecular biology, he set up the SciGenom & Medgenome Labs. He currently serves as a board member of Impelsys Inc, New York, ePay Healthcare, San Francisco, Emerge Ventures, Singapore and the Centre for Commercialization of Antibodies Toronto, Canada. His vision saw the company going transition from the niche player in the Silicon Valley to a Global one.

Future of EduBrisk:

The robust and exponentially scalable software programme is exploring and expanding its horizons continuously. Being a content-agnostic platform, plans are afoot to include professional college curriculums in the near future. The tab-friendly version is ready for launch and team at EduBrisk is gearing up for a presentation to the MHRD, New Delhi.

What does EduBrisk dream for:

Learning should not be restricted to books and classrooms. The ability to learn, recall and retain information has implications far beyond the classrooms and rank lists. The learning skill is, in fact, the ability to adapt, adjust, or change according to circumstances and surroundings. Cdr. Saiju Aravind explains that there are three sets of skills, which every human being need to impart- life skills, hard skills and soft skills. Life skills can be simplistically explained as the ability to adapt and remain happy or positive irrespective of one’s circumstances. Soft skills are social skills necessary for everyday living and Hard skills are often a means to learn a livelihood. But, there is an underlying talent that connects or links all three. It is probably the most crucial requirement of them all – the Learning skill.

In this fast pacing technological era, one can survive only with updating and mastering new skills. Success will depend on the ability to learn, to efficiently understand the concepts and making the best use of it in our day to day lives. The practical knowledge of anything becomes more important than the theoretical knowledge.  As a result, ’learn to learn’ has become the success mantra and the need for the hour. The ability to learn faster and effectively is the only sustainable competitive advantage.

The man behind this great venture, Mr. Saiju Aravind is still connecting minds and echoing that it was indeed destiny and his personal experience that led him here. Meanwhile, Krishnadas continues to leave his spark and excel in his desired fields. The father-son duo continues to inspire and bind many hearts through their experience and immense knowledge. Their confidence, talent and exuberance and their immaculate proficiency in bringing change to the education system have helped a million minds and ultimately led to the growth and success of EduBrisk.

Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy