Dinasim Learning is a Mumbai-based educational start-up formed with an objective to make students view Mathematics and Entrepreneurship from a concept point-of-view rather than a traditional score-fetching point of view. The company aims to make Mathematics a fun-filled subject to learn, through interactive indoor and outdoor games. Dinasim Learning believes in Outcome Based Education (OBE) Experience, which helps students grasp the concepts of Mathematics beyond textbooks. Divesh Bathija, the founder, talks to Blive on how Dinasim Learning has been contributing to the education and entrepreneurship scenario.
Please tell us about the concept behind Dinasim Learning.
We believe that Learning is an experience. At Dinasim, we aim to make that experience a natural one, rather than an imposed or rote learning. Our team strives to promote education which is beyond textbooks. We want students to develop skill-sets rather than only learning. Having knowledge is definitely important, but in the days to come, the ability to apply that knowledge will define the career of a student.
You talk of Outcome Based Education Experience. Please tell us how this is integrated into your teaching processes.
As the name suggests, Outcome Based Education means that outcome of the learning is given more importance in the real world. This defines our teaching process. We try and integrate a subconscious learning approach, which ensures every child explores math from an application point of view in his/her area of interest.
For example, one of our outcomes is to ensure that students understand the concept of fractions thoroughly. So to explain them better, we may take the help of games like Soccer in Nepal, Cricket in India or Domino chips in UAE (all games / sports as per preference of students – region wise). We use all such games to get the student’s interest aligned to math, ensuring that their basic become stronger.
Making Mathematics a fun subject could be a challenge when it comes to addressing students who are weak in the subject. How have you fared on that terrain?
More than being a weakness, usually it is the mind block that students have that makes Mathematics a difficult subject. A simple change in perspective does half the trick. Imagine telling a child who hates math, to watch his favourite TV show and learn ratios (Natural application of Mathematics). This has a dramatic effect in bringing down the mind block and the child develops a taste in that subject.
You seem to have a varied approach in teaching Mathematics, and have integrated different processes and concepts in this arena. Would you please elaborate more on that?
Rome was not built in a day, so has been our journey. We have had the privilege to customise games as per every school we have interacted till date. This allowed us to create a Subconscious Learning Approach-based games for over 300 different topics (around 1000 games) which have been used, tried and tested on over 45,000 students in the last 7 years.
These games allow students to believe that they are paying games, however half way through the game, they start appreciating the Mathematics aspect of it.
You are a professional who has experienced both the Indian and well as western streams of education. How would you compare the two in the current day scenario?
Students in the west get opportunities to explore, while in India, only the marks they score are important. The system does focus on marks for every individual child to progress in our nation, but everyone forgets that results can only guide a child to enter a college/ job interview, beyond that skill sets are the only key to progress. Our system has less focus on skill sets.
However, fortunately, I have started experiencing a change in such an attitude. I just hope that this change will reach the child studying in every village of India soon. Till then it’s a huge challenge for every individual in India to make this change actually happen.
Education start-ups seem to be mushrooming in India. What particular aspect would you call your USP?
We believe that Creativity and Innovation are the key areas where we have contributed to the education sector in India. Also, it is true that the education space is getting exciting day by day and honestly, it augurs better education for our next generation of students. Our USP would be using offline methods while the whole world is running behind aimless technology in the education space.
Can learning be actually fun-filled? Do you think the teachers of today also need to be refreshed on seeing teaching various subjects as fun? What are the aspects you find missing on that space in India?
Teachers in India have tremendous potential and have terrific ideas. Though they have been receptive to developing a new perspective of teaching, they still have a huge opportunity to explore. What teachers need today is time to research and innovate, which they primarily lack in every school in India, as they are understaffed and overloaded with work beyond their roles.
Please tell us more about how would you like to be present in the Indian business scenario in the next ten year period?
We see ourselves to be partnering with every school in the rural and urban areas of India. Also, we hope to build collaborations with the governments to bring in holistic changes in the entire education ecosystem.
How do you plan to address the rural and small town kids when it comes to luring them into learning Mathematics (and other subjects too)?
Games are played by every child irrespective of where he is. We will be using games and make learning fun for them. Depending upon the location, the games will change, but the ideology behind it would not. Also, as our games are very cost effective and do not depend on expensive technology, they offer a perfect solution for any rural school. A lot of math could be connected to agriculture, making it a perfect solution for children to promote our primary business.
Please tell us more about your experience in imparting learning methodologies in the Mathematics and Entrepreneurship domain.
Students of today are very well aware and so do not prefer the traditional methods of education. Hence, using their preferred games and then mapping it to Mathematics or Entrepreneurship gives them a new perspective about learning new skill sets. This allows them to explore and express themselves better. We find that it is always an easy task to connect with students through such strategies and allowing them to experience learning.