Published: 07th January 2021
How Widhya lets students get solid industry exposure without actually doing an internship
From providing real-time projects to gamifying the learning process, this platform can go a long way to helping students get that industrial edge
When Rahul Arulkumaran and Rishabh Singh were roommates back in college, they spent most of their time applying for internships. But it wasn't as easy as they expected. The problem? Every company required a certain cut-off rate that was pretty high, and the duo did not have that. However, they realised that they had way more technical knowledge than the ones that actually got through.
So they did an Instagram survey to see if there were other people facing the same problem, and not surprisingly, they were several others like them. One key problem in the country, Rahul believes, is that the graduate unemployment rate is at an all-time high. Somehow, people are not getting the required industrial exposure, and internships are the only way to get that. He explains, "We tried to find out if there were more people like us and we found out that almost 90 per cent of the people who took the survey faced the same problem."
That was the issue that led to the birth of Widhya, Mahindra University’s e-Hub incubated e-learning start-up. Rahul and Rishabh wanted to help people get the required industrial exposure without having to work in a company. The platform is open to all, but it is definitely more relevant for college students and those looking out for jobs. Widhya has tied up with about seven companies, mostly start-ups. They also help companies with hiring, once they give them a set of projects. They shortlist the students and set up interviews. They have about 9,000 students on the site, as of now. "We've seen an amazing response from the students side. People actually connect to our product. Our surveys show that 99 per cent users feel that a gamified, learning-by-doing approach is better than the traditional video-based learning. They can build their profile, their resume, and it helps them bag a job easier, says Rahul.
Speaking about what sets it apart, Rahul says, "Most of the e-learning platforms out there offer video-based learning. They have a collection of short videos, but there are no practical lessons. Our approach is very different. What we do is we tie-up with companies, take real-time projects from them, and then these projects are divided into smaller-scale tasks called micro-tasks. So our students work on real-time projects during the process of learning. It satisfies two outcomes — learning and exposure to the industry."
The projects given by the companies are divided into micro-tasks to facilitate gamified and progressive learning experience. "When you are trying to learn something on Widhya, our aim is to make it feel like any other game, like PUBG, for instance. The main concept of gamification happens through missions and micro tasks. Missions are projects that we get from companies and micro-tasks are modules of these projects, an easier way to learn these things. Right now, we're focusing on technology domains like Data Science, Machine Learning and so on.
He adds, "Until the pandemic, we didn't really have an online presence. It our only after the lockdown that our platform gained reach because a lot more people have more time on their hands and are exploring online learning options."