As businesses across sectors shift online, digital coaching is joining a new generation of online, technology-based services. Digital coaching combines the best of varied development programs into one that results in a more effective process than traditional teaching programs or coaching, while also being more scalable and affordable.
In India, coaching classes are of extreme importance, buoyed by a commitment to high marks and entry to reputed institutions, as well as a robust admiration for education. Coaching is seen as an investment, and in order to meet the changing demands of the new age of tech savvy, digitally equipped students, coaching institutes must transform to integrate technology tools with their business models. With the many benefits of digital, it is inevitable that the entire sector will morph over the next few years.
Digital adoption can turn coaching institutes into collaborative learning spaces with more room for creative thinking. In addition to facilitating a holistic mixture of theoretical and practical knowledge, digital content tools will allow coaching institutes to promote critical thinking. With more media available for content creation, management and dissemination, coaching classes will be able to strategically leverage digital transformation to promote student growth.
Traditional Coaching Institutes: Challenges
As of 2019, there were a relatively few coaching institutes that worked in a purely online or hybrid model. Only large players like Byju’s, Aakash Institutes and Vedantu had established themselves as strong players in the online education market, whereas other big names continued to cater to students looking for in-person coaching. Yet, even as early as 2015, digital transformation had begun to show positive results for institutes who adopted it.
In late March, 2020, coaching institutes had moved to online admissions, where they saw low numbers. Even as students attend classes virtually, it is on the promise that these will be converted into a physical offering soon. For institutes only just starting their journey, a shift to online is worrying for an industry already losing students to the aforementioned established online players. If online coaching is going to be the new normal, large players who have a stronghold on traditional coaching classes and small players may lose students to large players.
There is a prevalent sentiment that purely virtual coaching does not have the same impact as traditional classes, given the nature of competitive exams. Broadly speaking, these exams work to eliminate- hence, questions that involve less critical thinking and more focus on the breadth of knowledge of the candidate. Therefore, collating and sharing a vast pool of resources and ensuring that students are engaged throughout is difficult.
Lastly, coaching institutes largely market themselves through a pre-existing reputation. With the digital transformation journey, traditional institutes are unable to navigate the marketing landscape, as they will have to build their reputation from scratch. With all players now at a level playing field, differentiating themselves from the competition proves to be a challenge. While in-person classes continue to reassure stakeholders through messaging like “security standards for classroom coaching”-- these include masks in class, sanitization of campuses twice a day, special seating arrangements, and the use of umbrellas by students as they enter campuses to ensure social distancing-- it is clear that this marketing is not enough.
The New Digital Education:
How do coaching institutes ease the transition to digital and reap maximum benefits? The answer is simple. Real success begins with customer centricity. Listening to students’ changing needs and problem solving creates quick wins that build trust and encourage word-of-mouth marketing. This may manifest in a large yet intimate network of students, teachers, parents and digital content creators who are willing evangelists.
While a coach or leadership specialist remains at the center of the experience, digital coaching offers much more than traditional coaching. It combines the best of training, coaching, mentoring, peer groups and new tools into a rich learning experience.
Digital coaching simultaneously promotes remote education and collaboration by seamlessly integrating different media, enabling students to collaborate on an online platform to solve a variety of questions- including fun team-based puzzles, quizzes and tests.
Most coaches say that they waste a great deal of time on low-value administrative tasks. Through digital coaching, technologies like algorithms support most of the coach’s work, allowing them to be more effective or efficient or to provide greater benefit to students. This is especially true of content management systems which allow coaches to use a variety of tools to provide content in audio, video, image and interactive format.
Applications of Digital in Coaching Classes:
Any digital transformation solution works towards redistributing resources such that more people work in people-centric tasks, and tedious and repetitive functions are automated. In coaching, coaches also do administrative, basic and low-skill work, which can be automated to use the coach’s (expensive) time on things that have more impact for the students.
Apart from redistribution of resources, technology can also enhance tasks that do require their skill and have an impact to make them easier, more efficient and better. For example, technology enables integrating both group and 1:1 coaching together. Group learning lets students learn from each other and collaborate, while 1:1 coaching provides individual, deep learning. Traditional coaching institutes usually follow “either-or”, i.e., either 1:1 coaching or group sessions. Through technology, institutes can now do both in the same coaching program. Using technology like this makes coaching broader and more effective.
Piloting emerging technologies can help improve instruction in the classrooms. It can also raise the awareness of, comfort with, and willingness to try new technologies by your colleagues. For example, a coach might collaborate with a science teacher. This would also promote a multidisciplinary approach to learning, which will allow holistic development of the students. As a result, coaching institutes now have a wide range of options open to them in terms of content dissemination and teaching pedagogy. This will build both a collaborative teaching and learning environment.
In conclusion, digital technologies can enable coaching institutes to create a hybrid learning model which integrates both 1:1 and group classes. Furthermore, they can also collaborate with other teachers to create an interdisciplinary learning environment and work to create and deliver the best content for their students.
Ken42 enables coaching institutes to actualise their pioneering vision. We help in delivering better student outcomes and teaching experiences, as well as sharper insights for administrative staff. India’s first System for Education and Design Management (SEDM), Ken42 brings together technology, content and people to solve prevalent problems in education and contribute to worthy professionals of the future.