Edtech major BYJU’S on Thursday (August 26) announced the launch of a new version of its online classroom for students of grades 4th to 10th based on the ‘two-teacher’ model. In this mode of learning, one instructor gives the lecture in the online classroom while another teacher solves students’ doubts.
“Based on our research, the two teacher model shows a 3X increase in student engagement and it has substantially improved the percentage of students who complete a course in the experiment phase,” said Jini Thattil, vice president of engineering at BYJU’S.
Each of these classrooms will have a maximum of 25 students to facilitate enough student-teacher interaction and the course fee will be approximately INR 2,500 per month. BYJU’S currently has 100 Mn registered students, out of which 6.5 Mn have paid for courses. Not surprisingly, the Covid pandemic has driven up digital adoption and helped the edtech company increase its user base manifold over the past year and a half. In March 2020, over 6 Mn new students accessed which grew to over 7.5 Mn by April.
As a result, BYJU’S valuation has skyrocketed from around $8 Bn in the pre-pandemic era to $16.5 Bn in June this year — and it has raised $1.5 Bn of funding in this period. According to a report by TechCrunch, several investment bankers are courting the edtech unicorn to launch an initial public offering at a valuation of $50 Bn.
BYJU’S has also been on an acquisition spree amid the pandemic — it bought WhiteHat Jr for $300 Mn in August 2020 and Aakash Educational Services for $1 Bn earlier this year. Last month, it also acquired Mumbai-based Toppr as well as higher education platform Great Learning in two deals that are said to be worth over $600 Mn. That’s besides its acquisition of US-based language learning app Epic for $500 Mn. Earlier this month, it also acquired augmented reality tech startup Whodat for an undisclosed amount.
Mrinal Mohit, chief operating officer, BYJU’S said, “The acquisitions we have made are helping us improve our tech and increase our teacher network. For instance, we have leveraged WhiteHat Jr’s network of 11,000 tutors by deploying them for teaching other subjects too.”
“Over the past 18 months, we have understood more about the learning process of children as more and more students took to our platform. One of the things we noticed is that learning outcomes are primarily based on two things — how well concepts are taught and then how doubt-clearing happens. We believe that the two-teacher model will help us solve for both simultaneously,” he added.