Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process – Kurt Lewin, German-American Psychologist.
Learning is a lifelong process. And surely, something that we are going to do all the time should be interesting, effective and engaging. As a kid, when the learning process starts, be it informally at home or formally in a play-school, the emphasis is on activity-driven learning. Rhymes, stories, toys, songs are all an integral part of the learning process. But as we grow, the joy of learning seems to dissipate. Fixed syllabuses, patterns, exams, competitions all seem focused on manufacturing professionals instead of producing creative thinkers. The content and lessons seem to be more boring, test and job-centric rather than being fun, curiosity satiating and intriguing.
Dismayed by dysfunctional educational and training systems fuelled by boring content on dated technologies, Siddharth ‘Sid’ Banerjee, decided to find a solution. Indusgeeks was thus born out of this need to make training content fun and effective using immersive interactive technologies such as training games and simulations.
Founded in Mumbai, India, in 2007, Indusgeeks has grown to become a global leader in Ed Tech solutions serving Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide. It is a multi-award-winning company considered to be a pioneer in the field of Game-Based, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality training for all industry types and processes.
Indusgeeks serves the vocational and enterprise training markets globally with offices and partners in San Jose, Mumbai, Dubai, and London.
Meet the Geek-in-Chief
Growing up, Sid watched the Indian education system fail at every level by over-emphasizing memorization and preparation for standardized tests, instead of fostering a lifelong love of learning. He realized the power of tapping into something that people enjoy and founded Indusgeeks to channel the love of gaming into a love of learning. An entrepreneur and thought-leader in the field of Applied Gaming and Virtual Reality, Sid spotted the market for ‘Immersive-Internet’ technologies. His pioneering work as the CEO of Indusgeeks has positioned Indusgeeks as one of the leading Game-Based & Virtual Reality- Based Training companies. Indusgeeks has received multiple awards and has most recently been honoured with The Brandon-Hall Gold Award for “Best Use of Games & Simulations for Learning”.
Sid was nominated by NASSCOM as a founding Board Member of NASSCOM’s Applied Gaming, Special Interest Group (SIG). He thus gets to work with governments and the gaming industry worldwide to formulate key policies that are directly transforming the applied gaming ecosystem. A passionate evangelist for the medium, he’s been invited to speak at various events and summits on emerging trends in applied gaming technology.
In addition, Sid, in collaboration with partners from Stanford University, created one of the first digital healthcare training platforms to transform healthcare education and training worldwide.
Along with his team of passionate Geeks, Sid has been responsible for growing Indusgeeks into a mission-driven EdTech company determined to transform vocational and enterprise training for learners around the globe.
Curating the Content
With each unique client comes unique learning requirements. Indusgeeks tailors its interactive training content to the client’s needs. However, some key considerations for deciding the type of content to be created remain common among all clients, namely:
- Target Group – The person who is actually going to use this content. Indusgeeks does ‘persona development’ to ensure the content matches the needs of the target group.
- Level of Interactivity – Based on the target group it decides the appropriate level of interactivity in the solution. For instance, content targeting older users may require lower levels of interactivity compared to content created for millennials or Gen Z.
- Accurate Assessment – One of the key benefits of sim-based or game-based training is the ability to assess the learner actually applying the knowledge by practicing in a digital simulation. This allows the company to create a formative assessment matrix that accurately reflects the learner’s level of knowledge, unlike traditional MCQ tests.
Meeting the Requirements
Once the initial analysis is done, the Geeks then proceed to develop the solutions based on customer requirement. Their services include:
- Game-Based Training and Learning: Indusgeeks provides customers and businesses with a broad portfolio of game-based and gamified training solutions. Their platform, INIT (Interactive, Narrative, Immersive Training), supports self-paced learning with the help of intelligent, interactive bots that engage with the user and provide an immersive experience. This results in a fun, engaging learning experience that intends to keep learners coming back for more. Indusgeeks’ immersive learning platform (INIT) supports both formative and summative assessment based on client requirements. These quantify the knowledge retention of the learners playing the game-based learning solution. Its solutions feature gamification and social layers (such as leader boards, badges, the ability to post top scores to Twitter and Facebook among others) to improve user engagement. Social learning features such as leader boards and badges also introduce the element of competition – one of the most important aspects of learning. The platform has the ability to collect and store vast amounts of analytical data that helps create a more personalized learning experience for the end user.
- Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality Training: With recent advances in the field of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Indusgeeks recognized the potential of these technologies to transform training. These solutions truly add a new level of immersion for learners, allowing them to interact with training content in a more realistic way than existing video-gaming technologies. These are supported by high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, as well as budget VR solutions such as the Oculus Go and Google Cardboard. Indusgeeks has the expertise to create any type of virtual reality or augmented reality solution for enterprise training, onboarding, and compliance.
- Interactive eLearning Content: Indusgeeks provides simulation-based training solutions. It creates immersive, interactive and engaging solutions for a variety of training like leadership development, sales, soft skills, etc. These simulations span the gamut of the interactive spectrum from Level 3 & 4 high-fidelity simulations to Level 1 & Level 2 simpler interactive e-learning content.
INIT – Indusgeeks’ fully customizable platform, Interactive Narrative Immersive Training (INIT) is unique because it offers all the benefits of a standard e-learning platform like recap assessments and analytics while also delivering high-fidelity, interactive, 3D content like a video game.
INIT XR – It allows Indusgeeks to easily port interactive content created on the platform for computers and mobile devices to virtual/augmented/mixed reality devices, future-proofing content for its clients.
A Struggling Vocational and Higher-Ed Sector
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)’s estimate for the number of people who needed skills training was 126.87 million people in 34 sectors across industries by 2022. However, the government lacks adequate resources at every level to meet these ambitious goals.
Sharing its view on the current challenges that the Indian vocational training sector is facing, the company points out the problems as under:
- Inadequate Vocational Training Infrastructure: India lacks the resources to create enough physical training centres to impart vocational training to its growing population of young adults and teenagers. Years of under-investment in education at all levels has resulted in a very low capacity generation. This is unlikely to change any time soon.
- Lack of Quality Professional Education: According to a post by firstpost.com, approximately 18.43 percent of engineering graduates are employable, which means 80 percent of them are unemployable. The situation is worse for plain graduates and that is where the real malaise lies. The system, however, is pressed by widespread quality challenges; the vast majority of graduates – as many as 75% by some estimates – are not considered employable.
Therefore, Indusgeeks’ mission is to address this gap in physical infrastructure and lack of standardized training by providing world-class vocational and professional development content using a fully digital delivery model that will scale to meet the educational challenges faced by India’s youth.
Riding the Technology Wave
Indusgeeks is building a future-ready platform that will combine Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning with interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality content. It is aimed at delivering quality learning to enterprises, globally. But this platform will also cover the remotest corners of India and other emerging economies.
As part of its CSR, Indusgeeks offers free healthcare training courses to impoverished communities in Africa and India. It also works with corporate clients and utilizes their CSR budgets to deliver world-class training to underserved communities.
The eLearning sector has opened up avenues that young entrepreneurs are eager to capitalize on. Advising them, Sid says, “It is important to be mission-driven and to challenge existing education hierarchies and institutions. Artificial intelligence, new hardware and broadband will change the learning and training landscape dramatically in the next couple of decades.” He opines that entrepreneurs should start investing in the future and not in the age-old mass education model whose time has passed.
Meanwhile, Indusgeeks plans to be the go-to platform for all vocational training worldwide. With low-cost, high-quality courses, available on-demand to anyone who needs to train to improve their employability.