Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Jun 27, 2016 04:48 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

So you thought you knew everything about learning. Try an app

Education entrepreneur Jayadev Gopalakrishnan and technologist Gokul Janga bootstrapped HashLearn Now three years ago. HashLearn is an android mobile app that connects students to tutors available 24/7.

Raveena Singh
moneycontrol.com

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about learning? Classroom, blackboards and benches, and even online teaching. But do apps ring a bell? Nah. Say hello to m-learning or learning from a mobile.

Education entrepreneur Jayadev Gopalakrishnan and technologist Gokul Janga bootstrapped HashLearn Now three years ago. HashLearn is an android mobile app that connects students to tutors available 24/7.

Once the app is downloaded onto the smartphone, students can post their querries who will then be assigned a tutor from a list available on the platform. They will be taken through the answers instantly. In a minute the student can get in touch with the teacher. Chances of a student learning from the same teacher are very rare. Subjects are limited to mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry. 

Shedding light on the business model, Gopalakrishnan told moneycontrol: "When a student encounters a problem in a concept, one can just click a picture of it and post it through the app, which will connect them to a specialist within 30 seconds or less."

The company employs tutors after choosing them through a rigorous process. These tutors include passouts from IITs and BITs. "They are also various tutorial experts who have been there, done that," said Gopalakrishnan.

HashLearn is backed by investments from tech biggies like Flipkart, Ola cofounders and Google India Head and People Group. Its key feature is that students can rate the tutors after the teaching is over. Think Ola, where you give the driver a starred-rating.

HashLearn has had 10,000-50,000 installations and people have given good references -- over 400 reviews, it claims. 

A mobile phone makes it possible for the company to reach students across India. Student pay as little as Rs 330-499 for a month.

Gopalakrishnan declined to reveal details of their tutor and student size, but given the fact that the company doesn't have physical classrooms but follows a virtual pedagogy model, one assumes the capex will be minimal.

The app provides over 20,000 free practice papers. 

There are other app-based teaching models too like Chemistry, Test Prep for JEE, JEE Main, Physics and MyPrivate Tutor for Tutors. While these are specific, structured courses, HashLearn Now has got its bets spread across secondary education, beginning standard VII, catering to engineering and medical aspirants.

"Technically speaking, some aspects (practice papers, history to past issues) of the products can be made accessible off-net; however, the key feature of connecting students to tutor going forward will continue to be internet dependent," Janga believes.

However, the bigger question is: will this model succeed in the long-term? Do mobile phones really help students study or do they end up becoming another distraction? And if any of this is true, will there be a need for a separate device all together to support such apps for students?
First Published on Jun 27, 2016 04:44 pm
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