Dharmendra Verma (Dharma), a management consultant and technology evangelist whose professional experience spans Fortune 100 companies, has observed the evolution—or the lack thereof— in the education landscape. As someone who has earned significant experience throughout his educational journey across various universities and in global consulting, Dharma was well ahead of his peers in understanding the need for digital transformation in education. In 2018, recognizing an unmet need in the education space, Dharma conceived the idea of providing one application for all course needs—online classes, lecture videos, reference materials, assignments, online assessments, tutorials, discussion, and more— that will streamline a faculty member’s efforts to design, create, and update course content, while improving the learning experience of the students. This vision is what cemented the cornerstone of prepbuddies—an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based collaborative learning platform that enables institutes to engage the students for online classes, share lecture videos and reference material, conduct online tests, organize discussions, and much more—all from a single system.
Spearheading transformation in the online learning space, prepbuddies, a collaborative learning management platform, engages the students in online classes, lectures videos, reference materials, assessments, tutorials, and discussions with peers and faculty members, thereby improving the learning experience of the students. From lectures to assessments to discussions, prepbuddies addresses a student’s educational needs in a single platform. Faculty members at universities and schools are using the platform to organize and manage all the coursework without juggling through multiple applications. From a student’s perspective, prepbuddies offers all study material in a single application that can be accessed from the web or on a mobile app, eliminating the distractions that may arise from accessing multiple applications. “In most cases, students submit their questions on the topics via Slack, Concord or other apps but with prepbuddies, students can watch lectures, attend online classes, submit assignment and engage in discussions with faculty, teaching assistant, or other students all via one single application,” explains Dharma, Founder of prepbuddies.
With a sharp focus on user data security, prepbuddies was specifically designed to transform the online learning experience while also enforcing security by leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host its platform. prepbuddies has measures in place to allow students to have access to relevant courses using their logins. With institutes having complete control over who can access which course, admins can grant and manage privileges of enrolled students to their coursework. The platform also has a failsafe feature using which an institute admin can rectify any inadvertent student mistakes in enrolment. prepbuddies is designed to protect the intellectual property of the content creators in ensuring that users cannot download lectures and post it on other platforms. Taking data security a step further, prepbuddies restricts users from accessing student data, thereby protecting student identity. “Each user has a unique username and password, and users can change their password using a one-time code sent to the registered email ID. This two-factor authentication feature ensures that student accounts are protected from unauthorized access” adds Dharma. In a nutshell, prepbuddies, lets institutes seamlessly deliver engaging and secure experiences to students, scale their programs while also lowering costs and operational burden.
The uniqueness of prepbuddies stems from the flexibility it offers to users—a ‘wow’ factor that delivers a delightful user experience. Working closely with institutes, prepbuddies incorporates stakeholder feedback into the platform. prepbuddies has demonstrated its prowess as an online learning management platform by helping clients in India, where online education continues to rapidly evolve and mature. In February 2021, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) partnered with prepbuddies to improve the teaching and learning experience of the faculty and students in higher education institutions in the country. This partnership project—The National Education Alliance for Technology 2.0 (NEAT 2.0)— has been conceived with the goal of combining public and private initiatives in education technology and online learning onto a single platform.
With prepbuddies, students can watch lectures, attend online classes, engage in discussions with faculty, teaching assistants, or fellow students, and submit assignments, all using one single application. prepbuddies empowers institutes to put access to knowledge on students’ fingertips, allowing students to study on the GO
Besides, prepbuddies also collaborated with India’s premier institute, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur with over 14000 enrolled students in various programs, to improve the teaching experience of the faculty members and the learning experience of the students. prepbuddies helped IIT Kharagpur to make a radical transition to online learning. The platform’s AI platform was used for digital dissemination of the classroom resources, practice work, assignments and monitoring of student performance. “On our platform, students could access lectures based on the lecture dates, followed by the subsequent assignments. They could engage in discussions with their classmates and faculty, and also access necessary reference materials,” says Dharma. Prof. Siddhartha Mukhopadhyay, Head, Department of Electrical Engineering and School of Energy Science and Engineering, IIT, observed that prepbuddies facilitated a unified experience for students through lecture videos of classes and discussion forums in addition to live classes.
With its data analytics capabilities, prepbuddies allows faculty members to track student performance and monitor their engagement level. The flexible nature of the prepbuddies support team provides immediate, effective, and customer-friendly service. With students ready to harness the power of digital content, the demand for online learning modules is likely to grow even when institutes resume regular operation on the campus. “We are working toward finding innovative ways to incorporate digital content into the regular curriculum. With digital content, students have the option to review topics after attending classes, even on the go,” reveals Dharma. Recruitment and Human Resource teams in the corporate world are using the platform for candidate selection and training. The robust testing engine and insight from the test result empower faculty members to sharpen the preparation of the students for the competitive examinations such as IIT JEE, NEET, SAT, AP, GRE, CAT, GATE etc. With a unique vision and strong value proposition in place, the future is evidently bright for prepbuddies, which has emerged as a game-changer for higher education, professional institutes, and schools. Teaching institutes can dramatically improve the learning experience of their students through one app - prepbuddies - while engaging them in the course.