Digital Platform For 'Learning', Not Just Courses

The Indian Institute of Digital Education (IIDE) founder and CEO Karan Shah remains steadfast in his commitment to the mission of high-quality Digital Marketing training

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Technology has been a large part of the journey of the bootstrap foundation of IIDE, especially due to their massive shift in focus to online courses. While asking for his views on the pandemic, founder and CEO Karan Shah said, "When COVID-19 struck, it took us just a year to shift 80 per cent of our courses online. For many, the pandemic was a make or break situation, and we made it a big way and made this threat into a massive success story."

Karan Shah/IIDE

Over the last decade, higher education has faced considerable headwinds, demanding the industry to change the antiquated way it operates. Last year, the nail in the coffin, the COVID-19 pandemic, brought focus on the issues of lack of student engagement, the increasing gap between industry needs and collegiate education, and the need for adopting online learning in the higher education sector.

As Karan told us, he had envisioned a growing need for digital skillsets since 2016 and he remains steadfast in his commitment to his core mission of bridging the gap between existing collegiate education and growing technical expertise demanded by the professional world. Unlike most of his contemporaries who saw Covid-19 as a threat, Shah believes that this is an opportunity for educational institutions to reconsider their value propositions and operating models, and accept the inevitable migration of formal learning to online mediums.

With the sudden scramble to create an online infrastructure to engage students online, the industry is opening its eyes to the sheer volume of students an institution can engage with through digital channels. IIDE, who was relatively early into the edutech space in this regard, has engaged with 1,35,000+ students even though they have a physical presence only in the city of Mumbai, Maharashtra. Their impressive numbers are owed to their early adoption of the online medium and it helps them have an audience of 30,000 happy learners from ASEAN and Middle Eastern countries.

With the viability of the online learning model being demonstrably higher than the traditional methodologies, educational institutions are now trying to position themselves in a new light. The new objective for schools and colleges is now to create an interactive online learning system that simulates the humane environment of an offline classroom. To nurture the students of the change in the learning environment, institutes need to have a customer relationship management setup and a learning management system where the interaction with potential & existing course-takers becomes easier.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur has identified two primary challenges in providing digital marketing courses online, that he has shared with Entrepreneur India; they are- lack of personalization and constantly evolving knowledge needs of the industry, "So we introduced IIDE 5.0, the latest amalgamation of all our tech-driven and personalized teaching methods for online students, catering to the need for personalized attention and hands-on practice to be industry-ready. Our model makes sure that students directly interact with their training through- live online training sessions and 1-on-1 personal appointments with the trainer of their choice to get hands-on training, doubt solving, and mentoring as they truly need."

Taking a look into the marketing front of IIDE, the "dark horse" of their promotional strategy is social media. Here, the main bottleneck is of creating an easy-to-navigate and attractive page that provides relevant information for interested students.

"Social media, especially Instagram has been crucial for the company, mostly due to our target demographic being that of students and young adults. Once a student is familiar with the establishment, they are most likely to either Google search us or visit our Instagram page. We understand this behavior and take our Instagram presence very seriously," he commented.

Students find themselves entrenched in a system of education that fails to ready them for the professional world. The result is that there is an increasing pool of unemployed graduates and at the same time, growing demand for talented and competent professionals. Shah trusts that his startup bridges this chasm for the students while making the process of such education more effective and impactful.

"Our training pedagogy is turning more and more personalized by the day, we encourage "why' first approach learning in students to make them intellectually driven and strategical oriented. We go above and beyond to inspire our students by holding super sessions with marketing legends of India and abroad such as Neelesh Jain - Exec Creative Director of Ogilvy India and Pooja Jahori - CEO of "The Glitch' on a fortnight basis, soft skills training, career mentorship, and client pitching. All of this culminated into an average RoI of 700 per cent for our students when they entered the job market and bagged some of the most sought-after jobs in the industry," he remarked.

Shah maintains that the organization has grown at a breakneck 300 per cent year-on-year growth. Even during the pandemic, they flourished and expanded their reach through a quick and thorough adoption of online mediums. In such a short period of transition, they have been able to even improve their online training methods and able to introduce more personalization in their teaching methodology.

"We are working hard on achieving a fully global presence and expanding the number and scope of training courses that can be provided to the international audience. Looking domestically, we feel that digital education seems to be only limited to tier-I and tier-II cities. Our goal here again is to leverage the reach of online mediums and access a bigger audience in the heart of India by democratizing learning, so everyone can access it without geographical constraints," he further shared.