Siddharth Rajsekar is one of India’s leading digital coaches. He has recently launched his book ‘You Can Coach’ with an aim to redefine the education system with a new breed of teachers, mentors and coaches who will be implementers. He is the founder of the Internet Lifestyle Hub, one of the world's largest communities for coaches, trainers, teachers, and experts.
It took a perfect storm of a dysfunctional educational system, Covid-19, and a looming recession to take students almost to the point of no return.
The world is changing so rapidly that the formal education system cannot keep up. This is why we see millions of students with education loans and thousands of professionals who are unhappy in unfulfilling careers.
Our current education and employment system has many cracks because it was created in the 1900s—the industrial era. The only goal of the education system back then was to create factory workers and make them employable. Because of its industrial era roots, the outdated system, with its blind belief in authority, does not allow anyone to think for themselves. Outdated policies, slow decision-making, lack of progressive thinking, lack of adaptation, and hunger for power and control are some of the other attributes of the current education and employment system. We simply cannot afford to punish our kids by setting them on this path of outdated paradigms.
Lag is the difference in time between an idea and its implementation. The longest lag industry that we know of is education, with a lag of 50 years.
Another flaw with the formal education system is that it is built on the foundation of memorisation. You need to learn many things to finally use precious little. Students are asked to mindlessly memorise without understanding real-world applications.
Today, though, we are now living in a different world, in which this system can no longer be sustainable. The only way we can fix the problem is to build a new breed of teachers, coaches, and mentors who are implementors.
While the pandemic has been horrific, it has given us a glimpse as to what the future looks like—people at home, teaching at home, fighting the education system, and getting the education that you really want. With the recent upturn of events, people have realised that the practical elements they require in life such as finance, entrepreneurship, health, fitness, handling failures, relationship issues are not taught in schools.
Studies indicate that India now has an internet penetration of 45 percent. With the massive technological advancements, people understand that they can learn those skills, any time they want, at a fraction of the cost, while sitting in the comfort of their homes.
Now with Covid-19, the shift has accelerated quite a bit. There is a spike in takers for online education as people have started looking for ways to upskill themselves while they are spending time at home. With such an avid user base, the training and coaching industry is set to become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the coming years.
Around 665 million people currently have mobile devices, while internet penetration is growing by 14 percent annually. According to a study by KPMG, India's online education market is set to grow to $1.96 billion with over 9.6 million users by 2021.
With cut-throat competition becoming a norm in the offline world, overburdened students lose motivation to engage in learning. On the other hand, online learning can be more effective in several ways. Online coaching develops the willingness to ask questions, to flip the educational process around.
Recent research shows that on average, students retain 25-60 percent more material when learning online compared to only eight-10 percent in a classroom. Online coaching requires 40-60 percent less time to learn than compared to learning in a traditional classroom setting because students can learn at their own pace, can go back, re-read, skip, or accelerate through concepts as they choose.
Every student is included and celebrated in this new model of learning. Some people will be on the fast track and some may be on the slow track but will not matter in the long run. While the formal education system is focused on volume-based and memorisation-based learning, the digital coaching process is all about simplification and delivering results for students on the path of least resistance.
The love affair that Indian parents had with the science stream may be winding down. E-learning pays adequate attention to other avenues of practical knowledge and equips individuals with skills that will enable them to perform well in the workplace by enhancing their employability.
A lot of learning platforms offer free trial options where you are encouraged to try an app or web platform before committing to the platform. There is such a huge requirement for more trainers and coaches in our country. Speakers from across the world cover a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge that any trainer or coach needs, right from content designing to training delivery, to coaching skills, to marketing to videos, to YouTube. They can learn the finer points of podcasting, selling from the stage, or selling through a seminar or webinar. They can harness the power of digital coaching to revamp the whole education system, create happier and fulfilled communities of people who can live a life of purpose, freedom and fulfillment.
The writer is one of India’s leading digital coaches and has recently launched his book ‘You Can Coach’