Using adaptive learning methodology, MindHour is an online learning platform that provides curriculum-based training to school students. The platform uses various gaming components like rewards, badges & points to ensure that that the fun component is always present to sustain motivation. Varun Choudhary (Co-founder) tells more about the startup.

Who is the team behind MindHour and how did the idea come to be?

We are 4 founding members of MindHour. All of us are engineers and moreover everyone complements the team strength. I have B.Tech from IIT Roorkee and I handle the product and technology. Sumit is a serial entrepreneur, he looks after the entire marketing and strategy. Sumit and I are school friends and know each other for more than 18 years now. Swati is an MBA too and she leads the Customer Delight Department. Somya brings in her rich experience as software developer and student consultant, she heads the content development cell.

The idea of MindHour was born last year while we were travelling on a vacation. We met a retired school principal in the train and while talking about old days and current changing times, he told us very sadly that if marks were given based on the efforts students put on mobile and gaming then every student would be a topper. This made us think about our K-10 education system and eventually after talking to a lot of parents and students and analyzing current gaps we shaped what MindHour is today.

While the traditional education system does have its shortcomings, high quality resources like Khan Academy are also freely available these days. Where does MindHour fit in and what gap does it address? 

There are lot of resources freely available on internet but in today’s world of information overload we need to be aware of what not to learn than what to learn. Just a single search for any topic on YouTube will show more than 100 tutorial videos but at the end of the day students need to follow a curriculum and perform accordingly. Mindhour is strictly curriculum based and focused on progressive learning using game elements. Biggest problem faced by students is lack of interest to study. We see very young kids can comfortably operate complex smartphones without any help but find it difficult solve an easy mathematical problem. The reason is lack of self-interest. MindHour motivates students internally to solve more problems and learn the subject and as a byproduct it enhances the performance.

Can you give a bit more insight on how your adaptive learning system work? And also, how big of a motivator are rewards and badges?

Our education system puts students with varied learning capability together in one classroom to follow school protocol. One student can learn a topic in 2 periods while another student is capable of learning in 4 periods but due to time restrictions in school everyone has to flow through the same funnel. On Mindhour students are given questions to practice based on their learning capabilities. System judges itself when a student is ready to go to the next level. So to complete a level of same topic one student might solve 20 questions while another may need to solve 40 questions. System adapts itself as per the learning capability and style of the student.

We know how much time students put on mobile gaming and internet. They accumulate huge points on games like temple run and candy crush but it gives them nothing. On Mindhour every problem solved is rewarded by points which accrues into the student account and then from Mindhour’s unique gift-store they can redeem any gift of their choice without paying a penny. Who doesn’t love free gifts? Response is tremendous from the students who are using it now and they find it fun to compete with their friends on the leaderboard.

Students also love to boast the achievement badges which they earn during their learning progress.

How do you create your learning material?

We have in-house content development team who creates the question bank and we also have a huge network of freelancing IIT Students who create questions from their hostel and send it to us. This ensures that we have high quality content relevant for students.

How has the growth been since launch and what are the future plans? 

We did a beta launch last year in November with one school in Kolkata and then commercially launched it on 17th April 2015 and response till now has been tremendous from both student as well as parent community. In 4 months of launch we have amassed more than 10000 students from 250 different schools pan India. Right now we offer class 6 – 10 for CBSE and ICSE board only. We plan to add state boards like Maharashtra and Karnataka very soon. From next session Mindhour will be available for Class 1 – 5 as well. We are targeting to add 3 Latin American countries by the end of 2016.

What is your one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?

First of all keep faith in yourself. Do the ground work and get your own hands dirty. A lot of people will give you opinion without having any knowledge of your business so trust your own learning and keep doing the hard work, success will follow.

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