Competitions to aid Online Learning

At upGrad, we’re committed to improving the learning experience for our students through different modes of learning. One such method that we have currently incorporated is simulating a gamified environment that can motivate the participants to improve their skill level as they compete with their peers to beat a challenging problem. Also, adding a constant feedback mechanism to it, which informs the learners of their progress is very effective in driving user engagement and pushing them to go for the next benchmark.

Kaggle is a platform that provides such a competitive gamified environment with its in-class hackathons and leaderboard rankings. Kaggle is an online community for data scientists offering ML competitions, data sets, notebooks, and micro-courses. Kaggle offers over 54,000+ data sets that span over different scenarios including Iris flower characteristics and Titanic survival data set.

Apart from this, it also has a collection of 389,000 well-written and commented notebooks which help users with the purpose of illustrating solutions. Kaggle competitions which is one of the most notable features of the platform, are ML tasks that are made by prestigious institutes or notable companies like Amazon and IBM.

The competitions are from diverse backgrounds; starting from mapping dark matter using machine learning to heart disease prediction. These are quite popular among top data science enthusiasts and recruiters, and therefore, they will become an indispensable part of anyone’s data science learning and career path. 

As a part of the Data Generalist specialisation for our EPGP program in Data Science, we have included 2 ML hackathons on Telecom Churn Prediction and News Popularity Prediction. Through this, we have encouraged our learners to put their learnings to the test, keep improving their skill level in machine learning algorithms, and setting up new benchmarks for themselves. 

Telecom Churn Prediction competition

Each competition covers a very real-life business problem that our learners might face in the industry and therefore, through this competition our students can test their mettle in solving industry-level problems in a challenging and fast-paced environment.

Not only that, practising on Kaggle gives the learner a lot of confidence to attempt similar ML competitions on the platform by different recruiters and keep on strengthening their ML skills as well as their resume when they try to make a switch to a data science role in the future.

We also gave additional materials and starter notebooks that would provide the necessary scaffolding for the learners to start attempting the competition with little to no trouble and after that, they keep on improving their solution score as they climb up the leaderboard ranks.

This runs in tandem with the gamification aspect mentioned earlier. The evaluation metric on the leaderboard acts as a constant feedback mechanism for the learners which in turn motivates them to keep trying different approaches to make their solutions even more effective which eventually leads to them accumulating a wealth of knowledge on how to tackle and solve ML challenges.

Starter Notebook

From a learning experience perspective, these types of competitions reduce the monotony of the regular graded exercise and assignment structure and add an element of fun and creativity to the mix. This gamification of online learning creates a much better impact at improving the learner skill level and their overall learning satisfaction. 


We are thankful to Mr Akshay Sehgal, our SME for this who has helped immensely in creating these two in-class competitions, the accompanying starter notebooks, and going all out in driving user engagement and motivating the learners in the live sessions. Akshay has nine years of experience in the field of machine learning & data science. He has worked as an entrepreneur in the AI space as well as held leadership roles in organizations like Mu-Sigma, Reliance industries and is currently working as a Manager in the AI Research team at Mastercard.

Apart from gaming competitions, what are the ways to aid online learning?

To make online learning interesting for students, digital education platforms are coming up with innovative ideas like debating contests on subjects and virtual skits on various topics. Debates would mean that students will have to team up and come up with out-of-the-course arguments for either side, helping them explore more and learn proactively about their subject. Virtual skits will also enhance their creativity and kindle an eagerness to include a range of advanced postulations in their scripts. Other ideas that can work can be intra team assignment correction, monthly virtual presentations, and video making contests on the syllabus.

Why do we need to look for aids to online learning?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on all sectors of work, from retail to fashion, from manufacturing to education. Amongst this, we are all learning to adjust to a completely digital form of living and working. Students have been made to get used to their online learning schemes over their pen-paper habits. As a result, they spend most of their time on the Internet and in front of screens. With higher access to the Internet, students find it difficult to focus on academics. There are several websites, social media platforms, and games online that students find themselves wandering to over learning sites. Moreover, decreasing attention spans, strained eye health, mental exhaustion, and physical health problems are becoming an issue when it comes to online learning. Hence, to make e-education fun and possible, we need to look for more aids.

What programming languages do I need to create education-based games?

Gamification of the education sector is gaining popularity. If you are into software development and programming, turning to opportunities to code games for e-learning can mean great growth in your professional career. For creating games, leaderboards, point-based systems, interactive visuals, etc., you must work with programming languages like C++, Java, HTML5, and Python. These web technologies can help make fast, powerful, and error-less codes. Other languages include UnrealScript, C#, JavaScript, and Lua.

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