CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ms. Anuradha Uboweja, Country Head – Nrichminds.com
- What insight led to the launch of Vexors? Please let us know more about the parent company?
The fundamental insight behind the start and vision of the company is that 19th century syllabus-driven education is ill-suited for the challenges of the 21st century.
The future will be defined by AI (Artificial Intelligence), already manifested by driverless cars and surgeries performed by robots, for example. Our education system needs a paradigm shift to prepare the children for the 21st century challenges. Our current education system promotes rote learning and memorisation, which is damaging the potential of a child to think critically and reason logically, skills that are necessary to thrive in the future. Our children must remain ahead of computers, and the only way to guarantee that is by empowering them with skills in problem solving and deductive reasoning.
With that objective in mind, we launched our first product —a word-based puzzle called A Vexor. Each Vexor is unique and targets cognitive development of children through the different levels of complexity.
- Who is the brains behind Vexor’s launch?
Vexors was developed by a team of technologists and experts in the field of cognitive development at the company. The idea germinated from months of discussions between the founders, Nax Reddy and Ro Dave, driven by their shared ambition of promoting the art of problem solving. The company has built a content library of over 1,000 Vexors over the last 18 months with immense passion and enthusiasm to empower young children with deductive thinking, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills.
- How Vexors help in brain development of young kids?
It is shown that creativity diminishes with age, and the structured rigors of academics play an unhelpful role in curtailing and diminishing the inherent creativity in every child. Vexors are designed to let children be children – navigate the funny stories, the quirky clues, and solve logical problems. Cognitive development is like muscle development. It comes with practice and can only be coached, not necessarily taught.
Vexors stand for everything that will be important in the future—everything that current academic syllabus are not designed or capable of delivering. Logical reasoning, deductive thinking, the art of problem solving, strategies to solve real-world problems, and to apply logic in real world situations cannot be taught via textbooks and lectures. Vexors help children to make logical connections, learn elimination strategies, and engage in deductive and inductive logic while solving Vexors.
- What is lacking in regular school academics, and how does your edtech product address the deficiency?
Regular school teaches children what to think whereas Vexors empower young minds how to think.
Current academic syllabus offer no place for critical thinking and logical reasoning. Research shows that the future undeniably belongs to problem solvers. Yet, we are facing an imminent change in future employment requirements that current academic syllabi are not addressing at all—automation alone could eliminate 120 million Indian jobs by 2030, according to a study conducted by Forbes. At the same time, recruiters report a soaring increase of 158% in the critical thinking skills in job openings.
India needs to keep pace with the rest of the world to remain a global powerhouse. Vexors are designed to complement the current academic programs by bringing critical thinking and the art of problem solving to each child at a young age . Each Vexor is uniquely crafted to enlighten and empower young brains, encouraging kids to explore every puzzle and develop their cognitive skills.India has over 1.5 million schools with over 250 million students; not empowering them with the skills needed for the future would be a fatal mistake if India is to become the leading economy in the world.
- What kind of learning will survive in the long run, and why will it?
Research shows that the future belongs to problem solvers. The current academic curriculum needs a paradigm shift by moving its focus away from regular assessments towards preparing the children for the real-world problems and challenges. Experiential learning that prepares our children to be problem solvers is what will survive in the longer term.
The ability to perform mental calculations in a matter of seconds is of zero relevance or importance in a world where everyone, prioritising unskilled workers, is carrying multiple smartphones. What is required is to understand where and how to apply the calculation.
- How are Vexors teaching and equipping children with 21st century skills?
Vexors develop the art of problem solving in young children through a story. It is about teaching as much as it is about coaching. Vexors are targeting the cognitive development of a child with problem-solving skills.
A Vexor is a word-based logic puzzle that promotes deductive reasoning in children. Each Vexor has three essential elements: a story, clues, and the matching matrix. The story sets the context for the puzzle and identifies the main subjects of the puzzle, usually numbering between 2 and 6. The story also makes the player aware of what characteristics or attributes of the subjects the player needs to match. Then there are the clues, the clues are the navigational guide to solve the Vexor. The clues will allow the player to eliminate choices or make deterministic choices about the subjects and, thus, solve the Vexor. Then there is the matrix of choices. For each subject, there are several choices, and the players arrive at the correct solution by matching these attributes to the subjects through the process of elimination or deductive reasoning.
- What distinguishes Vexors from the market’s current offerings? Is this something like Sudoku or crossword puzzles?
Current market offerings with a similar objective as Vexors include Sudoku, Rubik Cubes, and Crosswords. They each bring their own strengths and benefits. However, we believe Vexors is unique in many ways. The best part with Vexors is that there really is no teaching involved. Just exploration and fun.
In the case of a Sudoku, one progresses through different levels of difficulty, but the basic premise remains the same. A Rubik’s cube can be solved using certain algorithms. A crossword only promotes mastery of a certain language. Where Rubik’s Cube requires you to remember specific algorithms by which one solves the cube. Certain patterns need to be remembered while solving Sudoku as well.
We also have six levels of Vexors with increasing complexity and difficulty. Not one programmatic algorithm can be used to solve a Vexor. Vexors’s story introduced age-appropriate words for improving reading comprehension. The stories subliminally introduce various concepts and knowledge to children that make them smarter and better informed.
Vexors is unique and can coexist with Sudoku, Rubik’s Cube, and Crosswords.