Nothing can be more valuable than investing in education, furthermore if, among the goals to reach, we consider the importance of spreading knowledge worldwide without making any differences among the target audience.
Self-education has been on the rise for the last decade at a pace that wasn't expected: firstly, by pioneers that invested time and resources in crafting the platforms needed to host authentic virtual campuses for "students" all over the world. Moreover, I would like to emphasise the commas in students as, unlike conventional education, people tend to approach self-education means for the no-strings- attached ideal involved with it. There are no schedules – in the majority of cases – no grades, but the satisfaction of unrestrained knowledge as a reward. Diplomas and other formal instances are still held in praise by most people. However, reality does tell us that investing time in educating ourselves for the uprising demands of an unexpected working environment is a must.
We can come across several inspiring stories over this topic through the net, and recently I familiarized myself with the experience of an India-based company, KnowledgeHut, who is currently celebrating their 5th year anniversary. Undoubtedly, such a long road for a business comes with plenty experience, but what truly motivates someone into venturing in Online Education Business? I had the pleasure to ask Subramanyam Reddy, Co-Founder and Managing Director at KnowledgeHut, where we approached the experience of online education businesses.
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"My passion for this venue came, I think, after completing my MBA degree from Osmania University in Hyderabad. Since I geared towards Marketing and Sales, I had the chance of working with several UK and Asian companies where work demanded me to interact with many cultures and observe their realities," explains KnowledgeHut Co-Founder and Managing Director, Subramanyam Reddy.
The truth is that, despite all the advancements reached with the globalisation era, some industry suffers from the lack of qualified home-based personnel for a task that continually demands to keep up with the latest trends. "Once I realised the huge gap existing within professionals of the same sector; and yet holding immense respect for my colleagues and valuing the instruction I was given, experience told me that there are certain aspects of professional work that don't necessarily get covered during educational stages," adds Reddy. Moreover, this was the starting point for crafting a brand that provided the means to develop skill and education to meet up with the expectations of leading corporations to date.
For KnowledgeHut, this was a rough start no doubt, considering risks involved in an unconventional business branch and counting with just 10 staff members. "Looking at what we reached today, with 200 dedicated members working for our team, I cannot say it was a bold decision to make." And indeed a step well-taken. Remarkably, KnowledgeHut discovered how to exploit the weak points of India's leading industry – IT Technology – and have settled their path towards instructing a vast range of courses for further development of the skills of IT workers. "We are geared mostly towards IT professionals, as we take pride by the acknowledgement of professionals graduated in India. These courses can be carried out in a vast range of modes to suit the needs of individual members or companies that require our services: open online courses, classroom courses, and our newly introduced mentor-based boot camps," summarises Reddy.
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But that's not the only focus area for KnowledgeHut, as recently they have created a new branch in their venue for hosting courses ranging from topics such as sales, marketing, management and ethical hacking. With a properly crafted affiliation system with globally renowned accreditation bodies, whose purpose is to provide a valid certification for the courses taken, users can experience all the advantages of post-graduate education at their own convenience.
Although, giving an excellent range of resources is not enough to catch loyal customers and to develop a brand. Companies in such competitive industry on the rise need to provide something that labels their efforts as a signature. For KnowledgeHut, this starts from quality standards but ends up becoming in an innovative way of looking at online education: "KnowledgeHut's focus is on offering example and experience based learning, working with the best trainers we know to provide users with the education level they seek to achieve. This process would not be reachable if we did not keep such a strict quality control, working 24/7 with customer satisfaction above all else."
Reddy and his partners can take pride on a path well-taken, as KnowledgeHut has among its client database corporations like IBM, for whom they crated tailored courseware for their employees. "These courses are imparted under multiple modes to meet the needs of corporation directors and personnel at the same time," he adds.
Wisdom tells that expository lectures are retained for a limited amount of time, with no further incorporation of the knowledge acquired, which may probably be the reason for the dissatisfaction percentage experienced by some courses seen online. This company focussed its intent in avoiding magisterial lectures and promoting instructor-student interaction for letting theory sink in a natural way with common, daily business issues.
Of course, financing such enthralling project is not done overnight. For many startups, crowdfunding is the way to go, but this approach naturally leads to a considerable load of responsibility since you feel you have to reach success the sooner, the better as capital is not yours. "Bootstrap funding was the way for setting our business ahead, and since the natural growth process is paying its efforts, we are now open for settling new deals and investments to expand the business; exploring into new ventures." So the truth is that such approach speaks only of self-commitment to the project, as no external investment was contemplated.
Risky move no doubt, considering that all businesses have a larger failure margin than success rate; but for KnowledgeHut this was the natural way to go and also let them keep control of all the decisions to make. For those who feel discouraged about jeopardizing their capital for a venture, first and foremost you need to be certain this path is what your skills are made for; and for Reddy and his crew, moving towards Online Education was the way in which they felt they could give something back to the community while at the same time putting their skills to test in something different than common 9-to- 5 work.
Reddy surprised me with the quote "We offer a valuable product for the money invested by the user." And perhaps we don't often notice how much money people actually spend in online courses. Nothing can be more frustrating than paying a hefty fee for somebody than to realise they spent money in something entirely useless, despite what the promo videos of the course showed prior acquisition. So, for a business that depends entirely on referrals, having users complaining over spending like $200-$300 does not seems like a game changer.
Hence, KnowledgeHut keeps looking for the best trainers that also offer their services for a lesser price. "Without compromising quality, we are giving users the chance of broadening their education for a modicum fee at Premium Courses, which are rated under $1000 in the US and below ₹20,000 in India. Online courses with premium service for the user that seeks the best value available to date." Considering rates at platforms based in the States for courses that do not cover what is needed to label them as complete post-graduate education, price is more than fair if the outcome is securing a spot at a major corporation.
The pursuit for improvement never ceases, as there's no doubt that future is unfolding in front of us with the latest advancements in virtual classrooms, to which we can state we are witnesses of an authentic revolution in teaching methods – perhaps the biggest one to date, and thus the reason why people are still hesitant about enrolling online courses: we simply are not accustomed to drastic changes, it's within the human nature to feel that way.
"KnowledgeHut is focusing its efforts on providing the best education service available online, to which we are happy to say we have cracked business-related courses, and we are setting the right pace for cracking technology ones. Of course, this process is not done overnight: experience is our constant guide and reminds us of where we were and where we crave to be," states Reddy. And it's this kind of passion that drives companies all around the world to seek perfection.
There is no room for sleeping under the covers when technology keeps developing at such fast pace, and humans need to make their intellectual abilities indispensable with the rise of artificial intelligence and automation of manual tasks. KnowledgeHut is defining a new way of approaching education for those who did not realise its value until the moment they need it, therefore encouraging people to develop a winning-mindset.
Success starts today, and we praise KnowledgeHut for teaching people how to reach it by their means.