Academic Curricula Should Be Reviewed Periodically: Raju Vanapala

Education tips

LearnSocial.com is a growing online learning destination for instructor-led live courses. This unique platform was founded by Raju Vanapala, who is also the founder of way2sms.com. Here, students, job seekers and professionals can learn new skills to help them in their careers. We chat with Raju Vanapala to get some insight into LearnSocial and the online learning market.

What kinds of courses are available on LearnSocial?

The portal works on two business models, i.e. live instructor based online courses and self-paced courses. Live instructor based courses include technology, language, business intelligence, management and data analytics, whereas self-paced courses include creative courses like exam prep and personality development. Currently, we have over 500 courses and we are adding close to 100 new courses every week. 

Image Source: Raju Vanapala

A lot of courses on your platform are in the form of videos. How effective do you think they are?

It’s a live instructor-led online teaching portal. The instructor as well as the learner can interact with each other online. The learner can ask as many questions as he/she wants to and the instructor can teach the learner everything online. We run multiple batches for each of the courses in demand, and ensure that we provide a wide range of timings for learners. Our main intent is to provide individuals with the practical skills to improve their careers and futures.

Do you feel classroom training is becoming more and more redundant? If yes, what’s the reason for this?

It depends on students’ learning ability and learning style. Most people in India believe in instructor-assisted teaching. Some people may prefer self-paced courses, as they can’t commit to a time period for their learning. But both instructor-led classroom training and video courses are doing well.

There are many open source platforms, like Khan Academy, that enable e-learning. How is your platform better than these?

We offer variety and great quality to diverse sections of learners. We represent a wider selection of audiences as compared to other platforms, as we have tailored our service delivery mechanism to learners’ comfort.

Our model works like a marketplace where any instructor can host his/her courses and learners across the world can access them. Our instructors are not traditional professors. They are highly experienced and passionate people working in big corporate offices. We train them further to deliver exceptional learning experiences to our learners.

There is often a gap between industry requirements and the students’ skill sets. What’s the prime reason for this, according to you?

I think it’s because our academic curriculum is not relevant. It needs to be reviewed constantly.

To what extent do you feel LearnSocial can help bridge that gap?

We are filling gaps in the learning market right now. It’s a known fact that our academics are not aligned with the industry needs. LearnSocial helps students discover the best courses to align with their learning needs, whether it is as a hobby, for a new career, or for the advancement of their current career.

Image Source: Raju Vanapala

These courses are led by industry experts instead of professors. Why did you decide on bringing in experts? How do you think it helps?

We believe in practical learning. Learning from an expert in a particular domain would help students to acquire real world skills, and make them equipped to handle real world scenarios.

Though several e-learning platforms (both paid and free) are now available, students are skeptic about their authenticity or over fraud possibilities. Then how, in your opinion, should a student pick a specific platform? 

The rise of online learning is similar to what was happening with e-commerce in 2009. The buying experience has changed and people have begun to trust e-commerce websites. Once people start to see the value in online courses, their adoption will increase. We have seen a lot of new ventures these days opting for online courses, and the ecosystem will mature with quality players like us.

What would be an ideal checklist for students when it comes to choosing a certain course or platform?

Students should keep in mind what fits their ultimate career goal, and what the pre-requisites are to finish the course successfully.

If you were to give one advice to students, what would it be?

Keep learning new things to stay competitive and relevant in this ever-changing world.

About Raju Vanapala

Raju Vanapala is a first generation entrepreneur who is zealous about the web and mobile revolution. Driven by his passion, he founded LearnSocial.com, adding another feather to his entrepreneurial cap. He has been vanguarding company ever since its inception. In his current capacity, he overlooks the operations, and is responsible for the strategic plan to drive the business ahead.

Find out more about his venture here: www.learnsocial.com.