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ODM Educational Group bullish on analytics for student excellence

Odisha’s ODM Educational Group is banking upon analytics as a technology that can have incremental impact on learning experience and performance of students

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The digital transformation wave had already brought the education higher education sector into its fold. The unprecedented Covid situation has further pushed educational institutions on technology-driven path to impart education. Like every industry, the education sector is also hit, but IT solutions have cushioned the impact. Classes are being held, and tests are conducted; however, classrooms have been replaced with PCs and mobile devices.

Bhubaneswar based ODM Educational Group has been leveraging IT and digital solutions in its operations, and pedagogies. The group houses multiple institutions like ODM School of Advanced Learning, a test prep institute; Institute of Human Excellence, a skill development academy, Astral Institute of Management, a B-School affiliated to AICTE and DIGICHAMPS, an e-learning venture; alongside ODM Public School, K-12 CBSE affiliated school; and ODM Kids World, a pre-school chain.

Swoyan Satyendu, COO, ODM Educational Group

Speaking on the role of technology intervention in the higher education sector in India, Swoyan Satyendu, COO, ODM Educational Group, says, “I strongly back technology integration in the education system, in both schools and higher education. The inclusion of technology in the higher education sector in the country has been slow; however, the Covid-19 situation has given it a boost, further provide exponential growth to technology integration in higher education. The role of technology, as an enabler, is crucial to make the education system more efficient.”

Tech at work
The group has has implemented a complete Learning Management System (LMS) and has recently introduced a learning app for students. The faculty has recorded lectures and made the learning material and content available on the LMS and mobile application. Along with that, the group has also introduced a testing platform for students across its institutions.

Satyendu elaborates, “We have introduced an analytics driven student profiling system, which allows us to monitor the growth of students across different academic and skill areas. This enables us to focus on areas of improvement for the student and help them overcome challenges. These are the key areas of technology intervention at ODM Educational Group, apart from the mainstream ERP and enterprise solutions. We profile students in three areas – academic, soft skills, and general skills. We have predefined evaluation methodologies for evaluating every student. Every assignment given to students is mapped, which allows us to know the areas of strength and weakness.”

As a result of these initiatives, the placement record of Astral Institute of Management has grown from 76 per cent in 2017-18, to 82.5 per cent in 2019-20. The group also considers technology-driven approach as a  key factor in success of students at ODM School of Advanced Learning. The number of NEET qualifiers has increased from 28 in 2017-18  to 81 in 2019-20. Similarly, nine students have scored 99 percentile in JEE 99 in the same year.

Virtual classrooms or online lectures are being widely conducted across the country, in the current times. The faculty and students have proactively embraced digital collaboration and unified communications tools. The objective is not to address the challenges posed by the Covid situation, but also to make the digital learning experience more interactive – similar to a traditional classroom environment.

Sharing more, Satyendu informs, “Every educational institution today is conducting virtual classes. Alongside our LMS, we are using platforms such as Google Meet to conduct virtual classes for students across all institutions under the group. We have also partnered with a third party service provider, wherein we plan to conduct quarterly examinations for MBA students. That’s how we have evolved ourselves to address the current situation; and our focus currently is on making the virtual classes more interactive, student attendance and conducting online tests.”

He opines that higher education sector in India has been a laggard in terms of technology adoption. The industry has not yet explored the full potential of emerging technology and the their benefits, for students, faculty and institutions.

Satyendu shares, “Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are largely talked about in the technology world. However, most educational institutions are yet to adopt the older technologies properly. Adoption of LMS and virtual learning is happening on a large scale right now; whereas, adoption of AI and ML technologies would still require some time. However, at ODM Educational Group – as we have already implemented ERP and LMS – we have been utilising analytics to a large extent. Our plan is to integrate analytics completely in our system in the next two years. We are also exploring more use cases where we can leverage the power of AI.”

Virtually every organisation in every industry is getting digitally transformed. Digital is replacing old processes and business strategies. Hence, digital skill development of students, irrespective of study streams, is among the focus areas for higher education institutions. The objective is to equip them with the relevant skills and prepare them for workforce of the future. In this direction, for its MBA courses, ODM Educational Group has partnered with a service provider for imparting basic coding skills among students. It has also started an optional SAP and digital marketing certification course for MBA students.

Sharing the roadmap and focus areas for ODM Educational Group, Satyendu adds, “Learning management system has been around for several years, but its implementation has been significantly less. Adoption of LMS and analytics will be widespread among higher educational institutions in the next few years. We have an in-house team which develops IT and digital solutions for any requirement. For the next one to two years, our major focus is on student analytics. We are working on a few analytics solutions, which we plan to patent if we get the desired outcomes. We are also working with some AI labs and data scientists in Bengaluru to develop solutions.”

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