Technology drives test-prep at 246 centres of T.I.M.E. institute
India's leading test-prep institute, Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E.), has 246 offices located in 119 towns and cities across the country. The institution that has trained more than 22 lakh students since inception for various entrance examinations, has been providing the best technology interfaces to maximise learning for its students
Headquartered in Hyderabad, Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E.) is India’s leading test-prep institute with 246 offices located in 119 towns and cities across the country. “We at T.I.M.E. strongly believe that technology is the greatest leveller and enabler in today’s world. We are, hence, constantly working towards providing the best of technology interfaces to our students to help maximise their learning,” says Manek Daruvala, Founder and Director, T.I.M.E.
According to Daruvala, the biggest of technology challenges for T.I.M.E. was in 2009 when CAT went online. “We were off the blocks very quickly and provided online mocks to our students in almost no time. That we already had personalised login pages for every student, worked to our advantage. The rollout of online mocks was very smooth and seamless,” explains Daruvala, adding that more was yet to come. Very soon, T.I.M.E. armed the students with precise analysis of time spent per question, judgement quality of attempts, etc., which hugely boosted their test-taking-skills.
The institution has been making enhancements and improvements to its online interface through the years. “We have started online chats that are open to everybody, not just our students. These chats see huge participation from eager aspirants across the country,” he states.
Keeping in line with the times, T.I.M.E. also launched mobile (both android and iOS) apps for its students. The mobile apps (TIME4CAT, TIME4Bankexams, TIME4GATE, TIME4CLAT, TIME4IPM etc.) provide learning 24×7 and on-the-go for our students. “We intended to keep the learning experience similar on both of the platforms – mobile and PC. Our carefully designed apps ensure that this happens – keeping the learning/testing experiences across platforms seamless,” mentions Daruvala.
Engaging learning environment
The implementations has gone a long way in providing an engaging learning environment. “Each of our students has his/her own personalised page on our website. All their test data, mapped across tests and benchmarked across competition is available. In one glance, students can know their broad areas of improvement which is further drilled down to a topic/sub-topic level,” says Daruvala, reminding that this ability, to zero-down on the focus areas would save a huge amount time and makes the student a lot more effective.
According to Daruvala, new-age technologies have come in very handy in identifying and training the best faulty across the country, “We extensively use video calling/Skype/Google hangout, etc., in our interview/demo sessions and also for our training sessions for faculty. This enables in saving valuable time and effort, particularly for those in the rural/non-metro areas. This also helps in keeping the faculty across the country updated realtime.”
One other area where technology has been very effective is – communicating the class schedule to all the parties. This is of particular importance, as for any educational institution, one of the biggest challenges is timely and accurate communication of class schedules – both to faculty and to the students along with all the other parties involved.
The e-learning team came up with an interface that needs just a one-time file upload through which all communication takes place – to the faculty, centres/offices, counselors, logistics teams and most importantly, to the students. The tool also enabled a loop back – confirmation of communication received from the faculty, which helped the scheduling team save additional time, time that they used to spend on calling for confirmation on schedule receipt.
“This helped us hit two birds on one shot – save time spent on routine activities and ensure accurate and on-time communication,” comments Daruvala.
With 24×7 on-the-go apps enabled, all of the online material is, in effect, distance learning enabled. The personalised student login pages are a huge repository of learning, enabling conceptual learning, testing, and also helping in strategising, based on detailed performance analysis.
“All our online all-India mocks have detailed solutions – both text and video. All practice questions are segregated into different levels that students can select based on their familiarity with the topics. From our well explained study material to our detailed and comprehensive study plan, we take care of every aspect that a student in the distance-learning mode would need. All this would help students in a distance learning mode pickup comfort level quickly,” says Daruvala.
He however believes that the model that works the best in the students’ interest is a blended model – distance learning + physical interface with the teacher (classroom teaching). The interaction levels possible in a classroom environment, not only between the student and the faculty, but also between fellow students, adds a lot of value and learning to students.
“We do understand, however, that is will not be possible for some students to attend classroom sessions for various reasons. To address and help out such students, our distance learning/online programs are as comprehensive as they can get,” avers Daruvala.
Daruvala reveals that remote testing is one area that they are very interested in, “The ability to accurately test students remotely – from their home/base location – without them having to travel to a test centre – without any concerns of security/fraud – would be a great enabler, taking testing to the remote and rural corners of the country.”
He affirms that this will eliminate the aspirants need to travel all the way to a city just to give a test. This could also encourage women from such rural areas to venture out to take competitive exams, particularly for government/bank jobs.
“More than any specific new technology, we are interested in how the existing technologies can be better utilised for the greater good of the society. With online streaming having become so cheap, government schools need to make use of the wide levels of skills that are available across the country. The government needs to come up with regular/periodic online based programs to increase exposure of their students (particularly those from the rural areas) with the outside world,” he says, adding that for example, they have at least one subject or a part of it taught by a “star” faculty who is from a carefully selected ‘star’ pool from across the country. He asserts that this would not only promote healthy competition among the teachers to get into the ‘star’ pool but would also empower the students to compare the local teachers against the ‘star’ faculty, forcing the local teachers to up their game.
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