Byju launches Disney-based learning app in the US

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Byju has generated a huge following of over 100 million people in India and elsewhere for its learning apps. And now the educational technology company is bringing its learning app featuring Disney characters to the US

The Disney licensed product has been tested in India for two years and is now ready for launch in the all-important US market.

I know Byju’s because in 2019 it paid $120 million to US-based Osmo — a startup you’ve covered since launching its first iPad-based education product in 2014.

Byju started in 2011 after its founders – husband-and-wife team Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath – saw the opportunity for edtech to be huge. Raveendran used to teach mathematics offline to 25,000 students at a time in a large stadium in Bangalore, and both founders believe digital learning can be more efficient. They launched their online educational products for high school students in 2015 and now they have moved the offline products to online learning via Osmo. Their company is now worth over $16 billion.


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“I used to take math courses like this in stadiums,” Ravindran said in an interview with GamesBeat. “Students are hungry to learn, because education is still the only way for people to rise in a social position. In this way, starting in India was actually an advantage for us.”

Their products include Magic Workbooks and Learning App featuring Disney, and they have both physical and digital features, or what Byju’s and Osmo call “phygital,” Ravindran said. The products use Osmo’s AI technology, which uses the iPad’s camera and computer vision to see what a child is doing with the worksheet. If the child selects the correct answer, the camera captures that information, and the reward comes in the form of an animation or audio acknowledgment.

Above: Byju’s built-in Magic Workbooks and Learning apps featuring Disney

Image Credit: Byju’s

“Computer vision technology provides real-time feedback to a child when they are training in their natural environment, using a worksheet,” Jokulnath said. “It’s like a teacher watching over them and giving them feedback. We’ve incorporated Osmo’s vision technology into the product and it features Disney characters. So it sparks a child’s curiosity.”

Battle tested in India

Byju’s builds a mix of digital and physical learning products for children from pre-kindergarten to third grade to help develop math, language and reading skills. Byju’s has over 100 million people who have tried its free products, and it has over 6.5 million subscribers.

“Since we are in India, it was easy for us to get a large number of students to try the product first,” Ravindran said. “In the early months we did it a lot and in the last 18 months we really scaled up the product. So our presence in India played a decisive role. And if you ask me why India first it is because we already have access to distribution. And the Disney name is strong globally.”

Disney characters will be quite familiar to American children, and Byju has tried hard to instill storytelling into the apps.

“There are a lot of iconic characters that Disney and Pixar have built over many decades,” said Ravindran. “It resonates well with the students. There is nothing better to grab the attention of the students.”

Recovering from the pandemic


Above: Byju teaches everything from phonics to math to kids ages 4-17.

Image Credit: Byju’s

Gokulnath said the pandemic has exacerbated learning loss among children, and people really need this product now to supplement education.

For example, Pace recently estimated that some students lost the equivalent of five months (or an entire semester) of learning this year. Byju provides interactive content that enables children to learn at their own pace while helping reduce parents’ fears of learning loss due to remote learning environments.

“Building educational products doubles the challenge because when you build anything, the expectation is that students need to be involved. But most importantly, we also need to show the results to parents,” Ravindran said. “You need to find the right balance between keeping them attractive without losing efficacy. That’s why building products like this is such a big challenge.”

Technology makes a difference with real-time feedback.


Above: Byju is used in phygital – physical – teaching and digital – teaching.

Image Credit: Byju’s

“These are very early days in terms of what technology can do for education,” Ravindran said. “With the pandemic, there has been a change in the way of thinking. All stakeholders have realized what technology can do for education with digital tools for teachers and students. I believe we are launching this at the right time and we are ready to make a huge impact.”

The products contain more than 1,000 learning activities, including video lessons, reading stories, and hundreds of digitally enabled worksheets. Activities are presented to children by Disney animated characters from carsAnd frozenAnd moanaAnd the king lionAnd Toy StoryAnd little mermaidAnd Aladdin, And many other things. You can learn to read with Belle from Beauty and the beast.

Byju’s Magic Workbooks is a companion product to the new Byju’s Learning app featuring Disney. Interactive workbooks provide hands-on experience using Osmo’s Reflective AI technology. Byju’s has more than 10,000 employees, including 200 at the Osmo team in Palo Alto, California.

“We already have one of the largest self-learning and active learning platforms anywhere in the world,” said Ravindran.

Byju’s Learning Disney app is available for 14 days for free, and costs $10 per month or $100 per year. A limited selection of videos and tests are also available at no cost. Each level set of Magic Workbooks is available for purchase at $200.

“Students learn because they like to learn, not because they have to learn,” Ravindran said. “

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