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By Chinmay Sankhe and Chintan Savla
Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is an online channel created and maintained by the students of National Service Scheme, IIT Bombay, set up to cater to the problems faced by students due to education being predominantly in the English language. The primary aim of this YouTube channel is to ensure that language doesn’t become a barrier in a student’s learning and education. The idea of launching this on YouTube was born out of a discussion with a nearby NGO, Vidya where students were on the lookout for educational videos in Hindi and Marathi as thorough searches on the Internet didn’t produce satisfactory results with most useful videos being in English.
Objectives of OLI include ensuring that quality education reaches maximum parts of the nation irrespective of the language barrier, covering as many regional languages as possible and collaborating with NGOs from all parts of the nation involved in the education sector so as to reach out to maximum number of students through them. Through this, NSS aims to cater to the requirements of the NGOs to the best of their capabilities and to ensure completeness by covering all aspects in a particular subject of any class.
The educational videos are recorded by undergraduates, who participate as volunteers under the National Service Scheme (NSS), from 1st, 2nd or 3rd year in regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam and Telugu with the aim to make internet equally useful for students who don’t study in English medium schools. Currently, the channel contains over 115 educational videos on Maths and Science with plans to incorporate more videos. There is also a course on English to benefit the students and a section on scientific experiments to generate interest in science and promote scientific temperament by demonstrating interesting and informative experiments.
Effort is put in to make the videos interactive by going beyond the textbooks, citing real life examples and incorporating thought-provoking questions and mini quizzes. Credibility is maintained by properly reviewing these videos and checking for factual correctness, clarity of the explanations and presence of illustrative examples. Currently, these videos are used by many NGOs in Powai region like Vidya, Asha, Logic Center and Community Welfare Association (LCCWA) with LCCWA having regular OLI sessions for students on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Long term goals of OLI include covering most regional languages of India and reaching out to as many NGOs as possible while maintaining quality of content and the fun aspect of learning. One of the main future prospect of OLI is to ensure the proficiency of students the English language which will help them in future studies and professional life.
OLI can currently boast of a user base of over 1000 subscribers and more than 90000 views on the YouTube Channel with the numbers gradually increasing by the day. Success of such initiatives benefits students in need and prepares them for the path ahead. We wish OLI all the best in their endeavours and hope that maximum students can avail the benefits of this initiative.