In an interview with TechGraph, Akshay Marwah, Co-founder & Co-CEO of AAFT Online said, “New-age social media platforms are looking at new ways for creators to monetize their content, making it a lucrative outlet for creative arts professionals.”
Read the complete interview:
Could you help give a sense of how far AAFT Online has come in its one year of existence? From when it began to where it is now?
Akshay Marwah: AAFT online was established with the intent to promote media arts education globally by offering meticulously designed certificate and diploma courses delivered through non-traditional skill development methodologies.
Initiated with just 4 courses, the platform now offers 20+ creative, lifestyle, and contemporary courses covering media, journalism, fashion design, photography, and cinema, among others. We currently work with a team of 120 professionals and aim to add another 100 by the end of 2022.
How is AAFT Online, facilitating the entire learning process digitally?
Akshay Marwah: We offer courses through non-traditional methodologies that enhance learning outcomes and offer the best possible learning experience to learners. Our highly specialized diploma and certificate courses, curated by academicians and industry experts for students and working professionals, add real-world context to learning and make learners market-ready.
Essentially, we combine our 30+ years of experience with live virtual classes, recorded video lectures, printable material, and expert mentors to offer a seamless, effective, interactive, and holistic learning experience.
How is technology transforming the digital learning space? Do you think the trend had taken hold even before the pandemic-induced disruptions?
Akshay Marwah: Yes, the online learning ecosystem was flourishing even before the pandemic hit in early 2020. However, one cannot ignore the significant fillip provided by the outbreak to the industry. With the physical classroom learning model rendered inaccessible during the lockdown, it was online learning that came to the rescue.
Even at this juncture, though, no platforms were offering dedicated courses in the media and arts space for students and professionals looking to hone their creative skills and fortify their career prospects. This is why AAFT Online was launched to transform learning in the media and arts segment and create market-ready individuals worldwide.
What are the new trends in digital media and the creative art space?
Akshay Marwah: We’re seeing new trends pan out on the back of greater technological adoption. For instance, social media is becoming more relevant and engaging than ever before as social media content creation becomes a mainstream business for many. New-age social media platforms are looking at new ways for creators to monetize their content, making it a lucrative outlet for creative arts professionals.
As the world becomes more digitized and virtualized, the metaverse is coming to the fore. Companies are increasingly drawn towards creating a presence in the metaverse, increasing the demand for digital media and creative arts experts who are well versed with technologies that constitute Web 3.0.
We are also seeing continued investment in technologies like artificial reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) to offer immersive experiences to users across industries. Add to this, the advanced use of data analytics is increasingly being used in the digital world to gauge consumer requirements and feedback.
Digital media and creative arts ecosystems are bustling with activity and are on the cusp of hypergrowth. It is exciting to anticipate the direction in which the industry will move with this level of advancement.
AAFT Online has been collaborating with different industry experts and technology partners to boost its digital footprint. Going forward, do you see more such engagements?
Akshay Marwah: Yes. AAFT Online is ahead of the curve due to its tech features and non-traditional teaching methodologies. We offer a mix of one-on-one mentorship sessions, practical exposure through assignments and projects, up-to-date content, interactions with experts from across the globe, and dedicated placement support to guide learners towards success in the fast-evolving media landscape. We will, therefore, be forging several strategic partnerships to ensure that we offer best-in-class learning opportunities.
How’s the response so far to your online courses?
Akshay Marwah: Our courses are based on practical and professional training, which became AAFT Online’s emphatic high point. It helped us draw students from various demographics and thus diversified the learner response. Apart from overwhelming enrolment, the learners appreciated the course structure and teaching-learning process.
Generally, the completion rates of the courses, which are defined as the percentage of enrolled students who complete the course, vary from 0.7 to 52.1%. We are proud to say that our completion rates range from 85 to 90% with a learner satisfaction rate of approximately 94%. In terms of age groups, we are seeing traction from 17- to 45-year-olds who are interested in taking creative arts as a full-time career.
What is the roadmap for AAFT Online going forward?
Akshay Marwah: We have scrutinized the learner response to every course and have incorporated the changes in our upcoming courses. With the new courses on the horizon, we plan to diversify our subject matter experts who are proficient in the theoretical and practical aspects of learning. We have devised a placement portal and plan to integrate all our learners into it for a better outreach on the professional front.
Our roadmap also involves the development of a job marketplace where the creative crowd can thrive well. Apart from this, AAFT Online also strives to provide a platform to showcase different works and help students engage with various industry experts. We also aim to create UG and PG programs in association with the international university for higher global market acceptability. Our investment in technology is our priority as we help the learners to keep themselves engaged and motivated. Technical innovations like AI and ML will be incorporated to upgrade job proficiency.