Mastery and adaptive learning with Anand Karat
INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero
By the mid-2000s, in some corners, the e-learning industry was being perceived as an unexciting and unfashionable method of learning for the majority. “A highly fragmented industry, where the standard e-learning courses were mere PowerPoint presentations with an audio track which discouraged learners,” says Anand Karat (pictured, left), founder of Vretta, a learning company for corporations and academic institutions. “Out of this frustration, Vretta was born to harness emerging cloud technologies to build tailored mastery and adaptive learning solutions that provide learners with an immersive and rewarding learning experience,” says Anand. “January 2010 marked the birth of Cloud Learning, a learning method pioneered by Vretta, where users gain access to rich, interactive learning and testing resources that provide them with cutting-edge mastery- and adaptive-based learning experiences on demand,” he says. Here, Anand discusses what’s in a name, the power of cloud learning, what really enhances a learning experience, the evolution of the e-learning industry and thoughts on the future of e-learning.
Victor: What does the name mean?
Anand: Vretta is an ancient word that means “way of life”. Education in various forms, for centuries, has been the way of life for millions. Vretta has a clear objective to provide every learner with inspiring and top-notch learning experiences that will empower them in their chosen way of life.
True to its vision of inspiring and empowering every learner in the world, Vretta not only provides learners with immersive learning solutions but also supports children in need at Manac, Haiti through a Vretta-founded initiative called Second to Learn, which provides free academic resources to encourage children to recognize that education is the way of life.
Vretta’s logo is a tetra-style (four-column) academic structure that depicts the four pillars of education – learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live. This structure is in the cloud which is a true depiction of what Vretta promotes: Cloud Learning – immersive educational systems in the clouds.
Victor: What does Vretta do? What are the benefits?
Anand: In the corporate sector, Vretta is a leading developer of tailored mastery and adaptive e-learning and hybrid learning solutions that include training and knowledge modules, e-manuals, infographics, and interactive glossaries. Vretta’s e-learning modules and software simulations have proven to significantly improve retention and increase ROI by reducing the time and resources needed for training and development.
In the academic sector, Vretta is a leading provider of mastery and adaptive hybrid resources for business, finance, and technology mathematics and statistics for post-secondary and high-school students. These resources include algorithmic learning pedagogies, assessment systems, comprehensive test banks, and e-textbooks that have proven to significantly increase student-success rates and most importantly, positively transform the intimidating perception of mathematics and statistics for students.
Victor: How are Vretta’s products and services unique?
Anand: Vretta has pioneered mastery- and adaptive-based learning experiences by providing learners with an immersive and exciting learning experience that has resulted in significant increase in retention of concepts and excellent ROI in training and development.
By creating a niche for ourselves in the custom-e-learning industry, Vretta has partnered with numerous corporations and leading academic institutions that have similar visions yet complementary offerings to reach larger audiences.
This approach of collaborating through strategic partnerships has positioned Vretta as an integral learning partner with a unique product and service offerings.
Victor: Where did it originate? Where can you get it now?
Anand: Vretta originated in Toronto, Canada to provide academic institutions and corporations with SCORM-compliant, on-demand learning experiences that can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in the world. Access to Vretta’s tailored mastery and adaptive learning solutions can be requested via our website.
Victor: How much does it cost?
Anand: Face-to-face training has become very expensive in addition to its limitations such as scalability and being able to provide learners with real-life simulated learning experiences. On the other hand, standard e-learning modules can be fairly inexpensive but come at the cost of providing learners with a lasting experience due to its undesirable, linear instructional structure. Vretta’s mastery and adaptive learning solutions offer learners with immersive learning experiences that are tailored to the requirement of organizations. With the use of on-demand cloud technologies and innovative practices in the development process, Vretta’s learning solutions not only provide learners with the desired real-life learning outcome accessible from anywhere in world, but also have proven to be very cost-effective considering the ROI on the training and development. E-mail us at [email protected] or call 1.866.522.9228 to speak to our commercial team to receive a tailored proposal that specifically meets your learning requirements.
Victor: What are some examples of it in action?
Anand: Vretta’s Overlay Simulations provide learners with the experience to master the use of any software program, such as training sales teams to use a newly integrated telephony-CRM system or a promotional planning software system, or training commercial finance teams to use a budgeting software system. Here’s a video that provides you with an overview of an example. Vretta’s best-selling business mathematics and finance mathematics textbooks are used by thousands of post-secondary students.
Victor: Who is it particularly tailored for?
Anand: Vretta’s e-learning and hybrid solutions are particularly designed for organizations planning to develop tailored e-learning and hybrid solutions for training different levels of their staff, such as front-line sales professionals, commercial finance teams, product managers, and management teams. Vretta’s Overlay Simulations are used by organizations to train teams on newly introduced software systems as part of any transformational change initiative. Vretta’s mathematics and statistics hybrid resources and business simulations are being used by post-secondary institutions and high schools as the learning and assessment resource for students.
Victor: What are your thoughts on education these days and your outlook on the future of education?
Anand: Education is perceived as a means to an end by the majority. If the route to achieve the end result is uninspiring, the learning process becomes very discouraging. Standard e-learning courses are being created by cookie-cutter authoring software that is giving e-learning a bad rap. Over the past 10 years, the e-learning industry has evolved, according to Gartner’s hype cycle, from the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” to the “Trough of Disillusionment” which only means that the inflated expectations from the e-learning industry has been confirmed as being unrealistic as the e-learning industry has failed to meet expectations due to the constant failure in delivering promised experience and results.
However, the rapid evolution of cloud technologies is breathing life into the e-learning industry. Companies that creatively harness these technologies are emerging as pioneers in the cloud learning space. As trainers and administrators begin to see value in this learning experience, which is significantly differentiating itself from the standard e-learning industry, the shift towards this learning style will keep gaining ground.
The proof of the pudding lies in its eating. With thousands of students and professionals who are currently enjoying this rewarding learning experience through Vretta, and numerous administrators who are witnessing the rewards of this learning through powerful statistical data generated through intuitive dashboards, standard e-learning and printed academic textbooks will be a thing of the past while mastery- and adaptive-based Cloud Learning will continue to propel the learning industry.
Victor: Any notable success stories?
Anand: Vretta has received numerous testimonials from professionals at corporations and has hundreds of success stories from students in the age group of 17 to 25 who are using our academic mathematics resources.
The one that stood out the most was the experience of a 50-year-old student who decided to return to school to try and learn mathematics. The subject intimidated him so much that he dreaded going to class. He was provided with access to the resources and a few weeks later he got back to his professor and exclaimed with excitement: “I’m on a roll! Vretta’s lessons have got me all excited about mathematics. I had no idea that this subject could be taught this way.”
The one success story that moved all of us the most was when a student with a hearing disability shared her experience using the resources that we have developed for business mathematics. You may view this video to witness how these resources are revolutionizing the way mathematics is being learned.
Statistically, Vretta’s mastery-based resources have proven to increase the average percentage of students who scored A, A+ by 27 percent, B, B+ by 33 percent, and the overall student-success rates from 69 percent to almost 80 percent. These are results obtained from one of the largest colleges in North America. As a forerunner in this global change initiative, Vretta continues to push boundaries of educational technology through its “Innovatively Now” culture.
Victor Rivero tells the story of 21st-century education transformation. Get your story told through case studies, white papers and other materials you can share at trade shows and on your website. Write to: [email protected]