An international philanthropic foundation is looking to develop a technology-based scalable model to evaluate whether Spoken English Skills (SES) leads to an increase in employability of urban poor youth. We played a key role as implementation and programme management partners to help them deliver this programme on the ground for 7,000 students across six states.
We designed a technology-enabled programme to help the foundation reach its goal of creating a low-cost scalable model to improve English proficiency among college students. We started with a detailed study of technology-based solutions for English in the form of mobile apps, and then looked at products specifically catering to the job market. We shortlisted five technology partners based on the following parameters: alignment with the job seeker segment, ability to cater to scale, management capabilities, cost, interface, and specific features like gamification, incentivisation etc. The programme required students to speak in English for 15 minutes a day for three months leading to a consumption of 40 hours of technology-based content.
We then worked with four training partners working present in this segment to add our programme into their training modules as a supplement. Our application partners sent us weekly dashboards with data on time spent by students per week, content consumed per week, how often they logged in. The training partners helped us monitor their attendance in class. Post this we collected and analysed end results to assess levels of improvement with students.
This programme demonstrated that a technology-enabled training model can be used as a low-cost method to scale and be replicated by others in the ecosystem. Through our efforts at designing, implementing and managing it, we gained several insights into the segment which are useful points for anyone who wants to adopt this model. We observed that this population of college students was extremely conscious of data usage and therefore the apps we selected needed to have offline functionality. Also, most students preferred gamification as this motivated them to compete with classmates. The foundation had a two-pronged vision through this programme – one was to make students more employable and second to create a scalable model covering an entire state.
States covered: Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan
Scale: 7,000 students
Technology Partners: 5
On-Ground Training Partners: 4