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This Edutech Company Uses Systematic and Right Stimulus to Improve Core, Behavioral Aptitude Among Kids

Amit-Bansal-CEO-&-Co-founder-Wizklub
Birender Singh

Birender Singh

Amit-Bansal-CEO-&-Co-founder-Wizklub

As technology became the future, the need for digitalizing grew. This includes the scope for education using technology. We spoke to Amit Bansal, Founder & CEO of, WizKlub on cognitive skill development, pruning, and how WizKlub is filling the gaps. 

WizKlub is a Bengaluru-based ed-tech startup that builds cognitive excellence in school children through its research-based programs for 5-14-year-olds, delivered on its AI-powered tech platform. Its SmartTech Program, a first-of-its-kind for children as young as 6 years, builds lifelong skills and confidence to create tech products by application of coding, robotics, smart devices, and AI. The startup has 300+ centers in Bengaluru and has progressed 5000+ children through its programs. Here are excerpts from the interaction.

 

  • What is the importance of cognitive skill development in the education of young children?

    Cognitive skill development mostly refers to the ability of a person to go beyond just the basic skill of memory and recall. Essentially, an excellent education empowers the child with:

    1. the ability to learn smart (not just by rote memorization),
    2. the ability to solve NEW problems (and not just limit to solutions of known problems)
    3. the ability to think independently and make good decisions

    Research from leading institutes such as the Centre on the Developing Development at Harvard University (https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/inbrief-science-of-ecd/),  establishes that the formative years of children, especially their first 14 years, are an extremely crucial phase for the development of these higher cognitive functions. This is the time when the core aptitude or IQ of an individual takes shape. Through systemic intervention and the right stimulus, the core aptitude of an individual can be raised by 25-30 percentile points in the early years.

WizKlub provides a holistic approach to building future skills that ensure excellence in core cognitive skills (Higher Order Thinking Skills) required for the future and building thinking capabilities rather than rote learning so that students grow up to be explorers and creators rather than just being passive consumers.

  • When introducing kids to a lot of technology, the fear among the parents is the addiction to it. Even if it is an educative program, there still lies a probability to get addicted to technology. What is your view on this?

    In our lives, we all have come across that tinkering kid who used to be more interested in opening up a toy instead of playing with it. That kid would be interested in figuring out what’s inside and try to figure out how things work. Those kids always made it big in whatever they would choose to do in life. In today’s world, where kids are surrounded by technology, that kid is struggling to figure out how tech works.

    The world would have two sets of people – one who tell technology what to do (creators) and the others who are told by technology what to do (consumers). The pace at which technology is disrupting every industry, the most rewarding roles in this decade and beyond would involve people who are “creators of solutions” to solve new problems. This requires essentially 2 sets of skills:

    1. Higher order thinking skills (complex problem solving, analytical, logical, behavioral, and creative thinking)
    2. Tech perspective of a creator

    Even a leading organization like the World Economic Forum in their Future of Jobs Report (https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020/in-full/infographics-e4e69e4de7) talks about the usage of technology and higher cognitive functions as top skills in 2025. So there is no escaping technology for sure.

    This generation of kids is surrounded by technology. They can either grow up to be just a consumer of technology or can develop a perspective to be the master of technology and use it to create products and solutions that solve real-world problems.

    Now, the key question to be answered is: how do you make a kid be a master of technology and yet not its slave. I think it is important to provide a hybrid model that blends the real and technology world to supplement the child’s brain development.

    The tech perspective can be built by getting the kids to start using technology to create real products early in life. This involves kids understanding the design, coding, and hardware aspects of building a tech product.

    Just having tech know-how is not enough. The tech know-how needs to be nurtured to become a tech perspective, and that combined with the right HOTS empowers a kid to be the innovator of tomorrow. 

    Our SmartTech program is designed to build a tech perspective by empowering the kid to “Build and Code” real technology products. For instance, a 7-year-old can make a Smart Lighting system and code it to create the patterns of choice on the smart light. The next month, the kid can create a gesture-controlled remote control for the smart light and program the behavior of various gestures. Every month, the kid builds and codes a tech product that they see around in real life. During this program, the kid learns to program and control various technologies that they have been seeing as a consumer-like Alexa, Mobile Apps, and Smart IoT Devices.

  • How, through various programs, are you helping Indian parents realize, the importance of cognitive development?

    Wizklub’s products are delivering results in terms of improved learning and problem-solving aptitude for kids and parents can see these changes prominently. Parents see their child picking up skills that they earlier didn’t possess or polishing and sharpening their existing skills. They become an active reader where they can connect the elements, make predictions and inferences. Parents share that the kids are not afraid of solving new problems and have become confident.

    Our tech platform ensures that each student gets a personalized program to challenge them at the thinking level where they are. Personalization ensures to keep the interest and learning efficacy of the kid high.

  • Some learning cannot be understood until the kids are teens. So how does Wizklub differentiate the learnings?

    There are base foundation skills, and then there are applied skills. For instance, the ability to make inferences, find cause-effect relationships, distinguish between fact and opinion are foundational skills. However, scientific hypothesis testing is an applied skill that uses these foundational skills. If the foundational skills are missing, it is very difficult for the child to acquire applied skills. Kids can start acquiring these foundational skills as early as 6 years.

    Our program has 8 different levels for each skill and is based on a methodology of assess-personalize-master. The personalization engine ensures that each kid is given skill at a level where she can learn and master that skill.

  • From your research, how bad can pruning be and how can cognitive skill development stop it? How does Wizklub help here?

    Synaptic pruning is a natural process that occurs in the brain between early childhood and adulthood. Synaptic pruning is the brain’s way of removing connections in the brain that are no longer needed, the process follows the “use it or lose it” principle: More active Synapses are strengthened, and less active synapses are weakened and ultimately pruned.

    Many school students in India suffer from “Memory and Recall” as their predominant method for learning and problem-solving. The Rote-based learning method fails when subject areas become more complex and when the problem areas increase in both breadth and depth. This leads to a huge drop in students succeeding in professional programs.

    WizKlub is focused on core cognitive skills (aptitude) that make every student a Smart Learner (Reader) and an Adept Problem Solver.

    With our following offerings we try to build the core competencies of every child:

    HOTS – Higher Order Thinking Skills across Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Logical Reasoning, and Problem Solving. The WizKlub HOTS Program develops higher-order thinking skills to ensure that every child is a smart reader and a smart problem solver.

    SmartTech – The WizKlub SmartTech Program, a first-of-its-kind for children as young as 6 years, is designed to get children to Build and Code Technology. Every month, the child builds and codes a Tech Product (such as Smart Light, Gesture Remote). The program builds lifelong skills and confidence to create tech products by application of coding, robotics, smart devices, and AI. This is an example of a behavioral, physical way of learning, where the physical and digital world blends to create a learning environment.

    The Learning Path: Each child gets a personalized learning path based on the existing proficiency and learning progression. Every week, the child interacts with the facilitator to

master 1 skill and then move to the next one. The sessions are conducted in small groups of 5-6 children.

  • Ed-tech in India has become a widely attractive market. What are the gaps that Wizklub aims to fill?

    The EdTech sector has crossed the tipping point in India largely due to online adoption driven by the pandemic last year. However, the phenomenon was aided largely because of the behavioral shift driven by the consumption of content by free data on smartphones. We are witnessing the shift where the parent now wants the kid to use the screen time on a smartphone to make the child learn rather than simply watch videos or play a game.

    Our products ensure that this generation of kids is totally equipped for the future. Whether it is the skills required for rewarding careers or to cope up with the environment, our programs ensure that kids are on top of their game.

    WizKlub programs are designed to ensure holistic cognitive development across Critical, Logical, and Creative Thinking, and also build the necessary technology perspective with exposure to skills like coding and robotics in early childhood itself.  All WizKlub programs deliver a personalized learning environment for maximum interest and learning efficacy and we have delivered over 100,000 hours of learning to students across the world so far.

    WizKlub programs are designed to build future-ready skills that bring out the best in every child.  At WizKlub, we evoke possibility, ease of learning, wonder, and curiosity, so that kids gain new insights and a new lens of perception and possibility.

  • Education and Technology are constantly updated. What was taught a few years back isn’t the same today. How do you stay updated in the ever-changing field like technology and education?

    Knowledge is Power – WRONG!

    In today’s world, information is available at the click of a button and the pace of change is so fast that the information becomes obsolete every 2-3 years. It is expected that in the coming decade, every professional will have to re-learn most of the information every year.

    So, how do you prepare kids for a future where they would be working on jobs that don’t yet exist and solve problems, we don’t even know our problems yet. Certainly, not by making them memorize more information!

    The important skills are as follows:

    1. Ability to learn smart – since the information would be changing extremely fast, the kids must have the skill to learn efficiently and effectively. Efficiently means learning fast, efficiently means connecting the new information to the old information and getting the big picture.
    2. Ability to solve complex problems – this generation would be working on problems that don’t even exist today. That means, the ability to solve a problem from fundamentals, breaking the problem down into smaller chunks, identifying the relevant data and its importance, and eventually using problem-solving strategies to find a workable solution.
    3. Think independently – This skill is required to make sense of a world where information overload and fake data/news are the new norms. One needs to have the ability to critically analyze the information and eventually make smart decisions.
    4. Tech creator perspective –  While the tech stack would keep changing, what would stand the test of time for decades is the tech creator perspective. It is the perspective of looking at technology from the eyes of a creator. It involves figuring out how technology works and the best way to acquire this perspective is to get the child to start building tech products early in life.

    Once you have these skills, you are future-proofing your child for any change.

  • What are your plans for the company?

    The plan for the next year is to have over 50,000 students learning on our platform and acquiring these skills necessary for success in the future. We would continue to invest in the product and use the power of technology to drive engagement and learning efficacy. We are looking to establish WizKlub as the undisputed #1 player for early-year skill development.