This EdTech Startup Idea from the 1001 Startup Ideas collection of YoStartups is about building a Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant for the kids at the school level. The startup will deploy Intelligent Assistant devices and apps that would help a student with learning and practicing the subject concepts at home, and also serve as a basis for school teachers to focus on topics that require extra focus. The startup aims to increase the reach of primary and secondary education to all children and make the teaching process efficient and effective.
Market Definition for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
As per UNESCO, the number of trained teachers at the Primary level as a percentage of total teachers has steadily reduced from 87% to 84% from 2014 to 2017. During this time the Student-to-Teacher ratio (STR) has remained constant at a world average of 23.5. Many countries have recorded an STR of greater than 30. Even in countries such as India, where the national average STR is 35.22, certain states record an STR of 50 or greater. Although the Right to Education Act aims to increase the student intake and decrease the STR, the impact of such measures is not uniform across.
The limited infrastructure and training facilities, along with low salaries is one of the major reasons for teaching at school not being considered as a rewarding profession. Schools, therefore, are unable to fill the need gap for quality teachers. Students across the world admit that teaching at schools is not sufficient for thorough learning of the subject and additional help is required, beyond school hours to grasp the concepts.
Competitor Analysis for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The BYJU’s app deploys at methodology based on videos and interactive activities for personal learning. Students register for tutoring for certain subjects and can learn the subject from the comfort of their home. Eneza is a company that offers low-cost quizzes and related products to help learners to prepare for examinations. They are based in Kenya and serve the Africa region.
Educational Innovations is a company that aims to help children improve their Mathematics skills. They have developed Mindspark which is an adaptive-learning product that is used by schools.
Peergrade is a company that helps evaluate a student’s performance and provides assessments, which are normally for teachers to do, via peer assessment sessions.
Pain Point and Target Audience for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The target customers for this business are both schools and primary/ secondary level students.
Students and parents across the world acknowledge that while education at school introduces the concepts and helps with some practice, a personal tutor is needed for more practice, need-based teaching focussed in specific topics, and to overall reinforce the learning.
Parents often engage personal tutors for their children after school hours. In other cases, students go to tuition centers seeking personalized attention but end up being in a group again.
The class time in schools is limited, and teachers do spend part of that time, varying from 10-25%, to understand the learning gaps and doubts in previously taught topics, before proceeding to clarify them. This leads either to rush through the next topic in line or give lesser practice in class, thus increasing the need for after-school tuitions.
Value Proposition for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The value proposition is to deploy AI Assistants as a personal tutor that is integrated with the lesson plan of the school. The Assistant starts the study hour summarising the lessons taught at school. It then proceeds to give an adaptive practice session to the student. As the student proceeds with the adaptive practice, the Assistant may decide to pause the practice if the student is unable to answer the question series correctly. It then weeds though the content library to identify and play the videos/ audio to explain the concepts that the student has not understood and made errors in the adaptive practice. The content can either be developed or can be sourced from those already available on the internet, and are indexed in a library in a clear and logical manner, matched with the prescribed textbooks.
After the study hours, the Assistant compiles the study and practice data of all the students, analyses it and sends a comprehensive report to the school teacher before the next class. The report highlights the areas that are not well understood or those that need further instructions/ practice. The teacher can, therefore, plan the next class accordingly.
Business Model for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The company needs to tie up with schools to deploy the AI Assistants to students. Once a school implements the concept, the company may charge on per student basis. The charge must include the teacher’s training and overall technical support. The company must have a clear understanding of the fixed and variable costs and needs to decide on the minimum number of students per class per subject that will make the model viable.
Way to market for Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The startup should focus at first on the subjects that require more practice such as Mathematics, Physics, etc. It can then expand to other subjects as well. City-based schools would be a good starting point to demonstrate the benefits and then expand to smaller towns and rural areas. The fee structure has to be competitive. In India, students pay around $15-20 for private tuitions per subject per month.
At some point in time, the company must explore the social angle of the concept and look to make a subsidized plan for the rural areas, where the STR is as high as 70.
Milestones For This EdTech Startup Idea
The startup should focus on developing and packaging the kit, conduct trials and then launch a basic version. By the end of a year, the startup should target to expand to major schools in 5 major cities in a country.
Investment Needed for Prototyping Artificial Intelligence-Based Personal Tutor Assistant
The initial major costs are development and testing costs, equipment cost and installation costs. The startup should target to raise around $150-250 thousand from angel investors and incubators, for developing and testing the concept.
The startup can test some of the available AI Assistants such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Nina, Cortana, Amazon Echo, etc. EdTech specific accelerators like Imagine K12, EDUGILD, Intel Education Accelerator provide both the seed money and domain-specific guidance.
Team Capability This EdTech Startup Idea
The core team would be comprised of AI and IoT engineers, and teaching professionals as domain experts and content designers.
Investors/ Expert Take on This EdTech Startup Idea
The above idea makes school education more efficient and effective. As per a survey conducted by HSBC, education is the ultimate goal of 51% parents for their children. Investors believe that education has lagged behind other sectors, and now is the time to use technology to disrupt conventional education, by increasing both reach and quality. They, therefore, are in search of concepts which address the above and also has a good potential for monetization.
Technology too has developed to support such concepts. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 20% of all citizens in developed nations will use AI assistants to help them with an array of operational tasks. It is not very long before such technology is adopted by more than just general operations.
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