Who hasn’t found the rigorous preparations for entrance exams stressful? Who wouldn’t want to prepare for these tests in an innovative manner and in a stress-free environment? SimplyLearnt, a startup in the education sector asked the same questions and has tried to come up with a solution.
Initially launched in late 2008 under a different founding team, SimplyLearnt had a focus on creating a complete Learning Management System and an Educational Marketplace. But over a period of two years, the team found other more convincing interests. In 2010, Yogita Bhalla and Vishakha took over and decided to focus on only test preparation and making it fun, addictive and social along with providing personalized guidance.
With about 12 years of experience in UI usability design at Microsoft & Adobe and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, Yogita Bhalla, founder, product designer and CEO, has grown to develop a passion for understanding how software systems can understand its users better and solve their real pain. Whereas Vishakha, co-founder and business manager, holds a MBA and an experience from NIIT’s K-12 division and is driven to make a mark for SimplyLearnt.com in the online world by inventing various creative marketing methods. They also have a competent designer and a content manager along with a few interns to support.
Introducing their primary concept Yogita says that, “Study material on SimplyLearnt follows “inductive learning” philosophy where we ask the student to jump into solving questions directly and learning the approach and concepts involved thereafter. Engagement comes from the fact that the material is arranged in unique order to maximize learning and served via the Practice Lounge, a game based experience. How we maximize learning is constantly undergoing research and we will publish the final results in public forum”. SimplyLearnt’s unique study plan is individualized based on a student’s strengths & weaknesses and an in-depth exam knowledge to provide expert guidance on the preparation front.
Sales & Marketing
With more than 85,000 registered members, about 1 lakh monthly visitors and 35,000 members of simplylearnt.com appearing for entrance exams in 2012, it contributes significantly to an active user base of about 36.4%. On Practice Lounge, the flagship product, the students have been kept engaged for more than 65 minutes. SimplyLearnt also has a dedicated paying customer base who vouch for the learning experience they provide.
“My most favorite trend is the generation of 32% traffic from Tier 3 cities (55% from Tier 1), which suggests that the aspirations for the students in these cities unmet by local providers is a huge opportunity. Traffic generated for engineering entrance exams is certainly higher but conversion for medical entrance exams on simplylearnt.com is much higher. We are also a popular destination for Defence exams, Bank exams and SSC exams which are however not supported well so far”, says Yogita.
The platform is available for free trial with a limited access to the study material. The complete access comes in subscription packages of 1 year or 2 years. The test series of 10 full-length tests is available for various exams and the prices reach a ceiling of INR 5000.
Apart from students, SimplyLearnt aspires to target parents through various Social Media platforms; this resulting from the growing awareness and usage of these platforms by parents. Schools and coaching institutes are targeted offline to promote SimplyLearnt.com by projecting it as their testing and benchmarking partner for competitive exams. PrepBuddy has served them very well as a mascot on social networking sites regularly visited by students. Paid search engine marketing is also on their radar which should eventually assist them harness proper results.
Obstacles and Overcoming Them
With the current coaching industry swimming in a pool of cliches like track record of selections in exams and branding via names of good schools/colleges distinct concepts such as SimplyLearnt become somewhat difficult to explain to the student. “We believe a rewarding learning experience which also guarantees improvement in student’s ability will be the key to success eventually. This is hard to explain unless experienced by the student himself”, says Yogita.
Moreover, e-learning is still in its nascent stages so its implicit benefits are difficult to explain to a first time user. This adds to the fact that online learning consumes a considerable amount of the total time that a student spends on the internet surfing through sites such as Youtube and Facebook.
“We are researching on ways to understand how a student would respond to a question and how his response will get better over time as his learning improves. Can this knowledge help us design the correct learning module? A student’s response as compared to another student provides even greater inputs to the learning module when we talk about competitive exams”, she adds.
SimplyLearnt will be available on Android platform very soon and more about them on the website.