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SHEROES
7 Feb 2017 . 6 min read

Anuradha’s Talent For Learning And Teaching Languages Gives Birth To ‘Multibhashi’


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Anuradha Agarwal is looking out to experiment with multiple ideas and one of them is to build a small community based learning program where stay at home moms/working women can come on board as teacher entrepreneurs to reach out to people in their vicinity for whom learning English could be transforming.  Anuradha has had an interesting career journey so far. She took a break when her son was born. It was during this period that she found time to work on her passion (learning languages and teaching languages) and gradually build Multibhashi  into a decent product. Multibhashi is a language learning platform which focuses on learning outcomes of a user while keeping the learning process fun and intuitive.This is her story in her own words.
 


“I come from Jaipur, Rajasthan and was raised in a conventional Baniya family with literally no exposure to the ideology of women carving out a career for themselves. Since I was a bright kid and scored well throughout my school, I could gather support for pursuing Engineering (comp) and then MBA (finance) with the only restriction of not being allowed to leave Jaipur. When I got married to Devendra, I was exposed to a whole new world. He is an advocate of all of us pursuing our passions irrespective of our gender.


For almost a year, we were based in Gurgaon and I worked with Agilent and Copal partners owing to my background in Finance. I was thrilled to be a part of a professional set-up and looked forward to new responsibilities and feedback all the time. But soon after, Devendra was appointed the CFO of Resonance and we moved to Kota where it was difficult for me to find a relevant job profile. I started looking for online work and finally started working 2 jobs entirely from home; I was providing online English lessons to NRI students preparing for SAT through athome tuition and financial research for clients on E-lance. I even formed a small team of fresh graduates to help me with content related jobs that I was assigned through E-lance. Meanwhile, I also started learning French through online resources and cleared two levels DELF A1 and A2 without any professional help.

 

After our first child was born, we moved to Jaipur and Devendra founded Dexter Capital Advisors. Aditi was barely 3 months old when I joined Dexter and she used to accompany me to office everyday. These initial 2 years at Dexter were full of challenges, non-stop work and small achievements. During this time, I also met a number of entrepreneurs and their enthusiasm towards their passion rubbed off on me.

 

When I took a break for my second child, I decided to explore what actually drives me and gives me pleasure. I turned to my favourite subjects as a kid -  English, Hindi and Sanskrit and decided to explore them. I started out by helping a few people in my immediate circle who needed help with English learning. While searching for online resources to help them, I realised that there is no single comprehensive solution to this problem. The number of people coming for help kept growing and I created over 100 animated videos which taught various concepts of  English and started posting them on Facebook (Feb 2016).

 

I also designed a chatbot for helping people play quizzes on various topics related to English and the page became more and more popular. We particularly got a huge response from Bangladesh. That's when I got together with my tech co-founder and launched an Android app (Nov 2016) to learn English from Hindi and Bangla with an audio visual course which could be more easily consumed by the data conscious users compared to videos. We also launched a web app (Dec 2016) for users who did not have access to smartphones. We have recently added Tamil, Telugu and Kannada also as the source languages to learn English. Next, we are planning to roll out courses to learn Indian languages through English.



Multibhashi follows problem oriented language learning strategy rather than just being cognitive. We believe in Acquisition over Learning (Application in real life situations rather than just memorization.) Our focus on Indian audience allows us to design practice sessions which encourage an average Indian user to apply English concepts taught in the chapters to real life situations.



Also, the course maintains a fine balance between focusing on accuracy and fluency. At early stages of learning, we give less importance to accuracy and encourage a user to get comfortable with the language through most useful words and phrases used in day to day life but as he/she proceeds to advanced levels, more grammar rules and refined vocabulary is introduced along with more formal form of conversational chapters



We differentiate ourselves from the other players by our unique medium of instruction (audios recorded by native speakers and visuals along with quizzes), and our focus on learning outcomes. We have seen ~10k total installs so far without any marketing only through word of mouth.


 

 


Most of the offline players in this space lack standardisation and face a lot of scaling challenges. The online international players lack Indian focus and customization for an indian audience and their needs while the Indian online players have gaps in their course structure and hence suffer from poor delivery of  learning outcomes. Since we have a complete focus on learning outcomes and especially from the perspective of English learning needs of an average Indian, we are better positioned to solve the problem.


Besides, we make a rich use of audio and visuals in the lessons and quizzes to help the user retain what he/she has learned through Multibhashi. 
There is no revenue model in place right now. As we scale up and gather enough traction, we plan to explore a few monetization options but at the same time, we intend to keep the product always free for our users.”





 


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