Early success: building confidence in numbers

Rahul is a young and idealistic trainee teacher from Orissa. Coming from a family of teachers, he believes that education has the power to reform the nation. It is this aspiration for nation building, that drew him to teaching as a profession.

An English post-graduate, he was pursuing a Bachelor of Education (BEd) from the local university and teaching part-time in a local private school. He felt that teacher education, both in the university and the support in the school, was severely lacking. The BEd course was too theoretical, outdated and teaching only to test. It did prepare teachers on how to conduct themselves and meet the needs of heterogenous classrooms.

As he was digitally savvy and exposed to global resources online, he relied heavily on online resources to shape his thinking. He felt that these resources were relevant and pertinent for his classrooms.

TISS CETE had been, over a decade, designing and rolling out blended courses in the domain of Education. They recognized that technology would be a key lever in achieving scale and thereby improving access for a large number of teachers across India.

A year ago, the centre launched Reflective Teaching in ICT (RTICT), an online course for in-service for teachers. It helps teachers enhance their teaching practice with a special focus on the use of ICT in improving the quality of education and pedagogy. Incorporating fundamental concepts of 21st century learning and creating robust Communities of Practice (CoP), it encourages teachers to reform their teaching practice and develop as autonomous professionals.

As a renowned academic institution, CETE’s strength lay in designing and delivering high quality courses for specific, focussed groups. The questions they grappled with were – who and what kind of teachers would be interest in such a course, what would motivate them to enrol and complete the course, how would we reach and enrol such teachers online, what should the messaging be? The team felt a lack of confidence in dealing with and succeeding in a cluttered online marketplace. RTICT is envisioned as a self-sustaining course and the team also needed to arrive at a workable revenue model.

We worked with the CETE team to emphasise the importance of one flagship program, RTICT, in catapulting the centre to its next level of impact and growth. We constructed the right teacher persona, her deepest aspirations and barriers, understood the various opportunities before her and identified her motivations in choosing TISS CETE courses above other competing options. We mapped the online course landscape, including the prevalent pricing models, and found the pricing sweet spot for CETE to initiate its first structured digital campaign.

The digital strategy tied back to our understanding of the funding landscape and funder motivations. The large funders, most suited for CETE, look for programs like RTICT which are robust, proven to create impact as well as potential to scale significantly. A successful digital campaign would create a proof-of-concept (POC) that funders need. A successful POC would allow the funder to invest in and promote RTICT in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.

We enrolled and facilitated a digital agency to create an agile and sharp digital campaign that was highly successful in increasing enrolments by 10x. The return on investment was excellent and enabled the centre to generate significant revenue from a single campaign. This early success gave the CETE team considerable confidence and renewed vigour to nurture the program.