ShikshaLokam

Building the Digital Public Goods For Scale,
at Vidya Amrit Mahotsav

When asked about the purpose of the national education festival Vidya Amrit Mahotsav, Dr. Amarendra P. Behera, Joint Director, Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET) at NCERT says “85 lakh teachers across the country solve a problem every other day to strengthen the classroom processes, with the ultimate goal of ensuring student learning. These innovations are a game changer at the local level. The value of these innovations increases with discovery by other teachers who get to learn from others’ experience.”

To ensure this discovery, these innovations or micro-improvements are enabled digitally as Projects on DIKSHA –  the digital public good by the Ministry of Education to serve the learning and improvement needs of the ecosystem. Available to the entire education ecosystem on their mobile phone, stakeholders can access these micro-improvement projects anytime, anywhere, when they need it. 

ShikshaLokam is a co-builder of DIKSHA. Working closely with the government, our Products and Engineering teams design open source technology that enables teachers and leaders to continuously improve and provide enriching learning experiences to the students.
The Products Team is a bridge between the Programs Team and the Engineering Team at ShikshaLokam. The products team understands the problems from the ground (For instance how educators had to design and implement pedagogical innovations as part of VAM) and ideates relevant solutions for them. These solutions are then converted into product requirements and given to the engineering team for development.

The Engineering Team at ShikshaLokam in turn conceptualises the software product features, capabilities and flow based on requirements received from Products and Programs teams. It is focussed on supporting and handholding the partners/ stakeholders/ users in rolling out solutions and also helps in resolving queries/issues which come up during the use. 

The two teams are behind-the-scenes maestros. They worked tirelessly backstage, handling coordination, and technical aspects to ensure the national education festival runs seamlessly and all participants have a memorable experience.They went an extra mile to set the stage for the Vidya Amrit Mahotsav, as the projects capability was being used at national scale for the first time. 

Following is a glimpse of how they did it.

  • Preparation at Scale, for a Rollout at Scale
    The prior information – the program design of the festival and the expectations around the participant journey was very useful. We reviewed the program experience from all stakeholders and end user perspective and made the necessary changes in quick time which contributed a lot towards smooth program completion. We preempted worst case scenarios and anticipated possible breakdowns and hence planned beforehand for the same.

    The teams identified all the activities which could be done prior to the roll out and completed them well ahead. We did an end-to-end verification of the implemented solution in the pre-production environment, that involved cross-functional teams – implementation, QA, programs team. This helped in smooth rollout of the solution.

    We also ensured that the solution can handle the volume of national participants. The infrastructure was scaled up, data ingestion scripts were tuned up, backend scripts were provided as plan B for generating CSVs. The gaps in the entity data and user information were detected early and escalated. This helped in timely resolution of issues
  • Iterations while implementation
    We noticed that some features of the app were used by the users not as per their purpose. Eg: where the users had to add links to their videos, documents, etc, users added remarks there. To make users add links instead of remarks, a message was added on the screen that guided users accordingly. Users adding multiple evidence links together, was also causing flow breakage. The message that was added not only prompted users to add links but also prompted them to add one link at the time.

    We also realised that users weren’t noticing the ‘Start improvement’ button in order to start the project. Thus, a pop-up prompt and text to the direct user to start button was added to make it more visible to the users. These quick changes in the UI made the flows more user friendly.  We identified the flows that were not very intuitive and required redesigning to make them more user-friendly.

    We also undertook some quick enhancements like additional filters such as ‘Status’ were also provided to download reports based on the status of users (started, in progress, submitted) in project completion.

    A VAM Activity Tracker brought consistency in tracking, managing & implementing the service requests on time across states. Teams were on top of the information on what are the missing requests from the states, go-live dates of the states, etc.
  • All Hands on Deck (collective action)
    Multiple solution creations across states were accommodated in a short duration (1-2 days). This was possible because of the additional efforts put in by Dev, QA and Support teams, effective orchestration with external teams – DIKSHA Implementation/ NOC team, Partners. There were daily sync up calls across teams which ensured the implementation were completed as per SLAs (service level agreements) and individual states’ needs.

The micro-improvements or projects capability on DIKSHA is scalable. It is relevant for our leaders and teachers, designed for diversity, and also configurable as per the requirements from the ground. Moreover the capability can also be used in different sectors apart from education.

If you would like to build and reuse technology for education programs at scale, please write to our Chief Strategy Officer at neeraj@site-staging.shikshalokam.org.

This is the fourth feature in Vidya Amrit Mahotsav series. Read the earlier pieces on the genesis of the festival, on festival orchestration with Sarkaar and Samaaj actors and the steps followed while designing the festival.

Meet the Authors

Aishwarya Rastogi

Aishwarya Rastogi

Aishwarya is the Manager - Solutions and Product Development at ShikshaLokam. She co-creates useful, effective solutions for education leaders and leads quality management at the organisation. Aishwarya is a swimming and dance enthusiast and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati.

Aishwarya Rastogi

Aishwarya Rastogi

Aishwarya is the Manager - Solutions and Product Development at ShikshaLokam. She co-creates useful, effective solutions for education leaders and leads quality management at the organisation. Aishwarya is a swimming and dance enthusiast and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati.

Prateek Agarwal

Prateek Agarwal

Prateek is currently the Senior Lead -Product Management at ShikshaLokam. Driven by a naturally curious mind, Prateek finds joy in expanding his knowledge in diverse areas. Outside work, he is often found playing board games, exploring different investment strategies, staying up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry or watching movies. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Technology from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

Prateek Agarwal

Prateek Agarwal

Prateek is currently the Senior Lead -Product Management at ShikshaLokam. Driven by a naturally curious mind, Prateek finds joy in expanding his knowledge in diverse areas. Outside work, he is often found playing board games, exploring different investment strategies, staying up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry or watching movies. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Technology from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

Sanjana DM

Sanjana DM

Sanjana has always been a firm believer in the power of effective design to drive meaningful change. Her interest in travel, music, art & culture inspires her to think beyond the conventional. A former Teach for India fellow, she currently works with ShikshaLokam to design product solutions for education leaders across the country.

Engineering Team

Sanjana DM

Sanjana DM

Sanjana has always been a firm believer in the power of effective design to drive meaningful change. Her interest in travel, music, art & culture inspires her to think beyond the conventional. A former Teach for India fellow, she currently works with ShikshaLokam to design product solutions for education leaders across the country.

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