← vidyanext

‘Mugging’ to mastering: A prequel

In late March 2016 I joined Vidyanext, an edTech company building an ecosystem based on after school tuitions. Though I lead the design for their 3 apps, this is the story of some experiments done to find product market fit at the pivot before building QuizNext.

Sole designer | Hybrid prototype | April - May 2018

My Role

Vidyanext's business model seemed to be unviable towards mid 2017. Though we had put in a lot of work in the last year, the numbers just didn't make sense to continue supporting an ecosystem of 3 apps. While trying to figure out a direction, we tried a few ideas, though brief and never went into production, I think they were worth a mention. I was responsible in creating these designs and doing some user testing around them.

Teach App: Motivation

The current Teach app assisted the teachers in creating & assigning tests, creating practice tests, quizzes and recording marks received by students. We did make the job of creating tests slightly less cumbersome by generating tests based on teacher input, solving for correcting the tests was something that was difficult.

After talking to teachers/tutors, these were what we were solving for:
A. How can I reward students who make improvements
B. How do I control disruptive students

There are two common types of motivation - intrinsic (from within) and extrinsic (external).

"Motivating students to learn in school is a topic of great concern for educationist today and motivating students so that they can succeed in school is one of the greatest challenges of this century (Awan, Noureen & Nas, 2011). Getting students to learn and sustaining their interest in what they are learning therefore should be the sole objective of teachers in the classroom.""

"According to Benabou and Tirole (2003), extrinsic motivation promotes effort and performance with rewards serving as positive reinforces for the desired behavior. Extrinsic motivation typically produces immediate results and requires less effort in comparison to intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000)."

We made the assumption that adding some form of extrinsic motivation would help students learn in the short term and improve student behaviour, making the class more manageable.

How it worked

  1. Based on a student's behaviour in class, teachers could assign points to that student
  2. Points earned by students would translate to rewards (vouchers) that they could redeem from our store.

Sample user flow

We did do an initial round of testing, though I don't have the videos / spreadsheet of findings. But we went to tutors and filmed them using the prototype. We let them use it on their own without any help and asked them what they thought the app does and went into detail of each screen.

Since we wanted to get as much feedback as possible we trained the sales team when they went to meet teachers/tutors, to run these interviews (through a script), by demo-ing and rehearsing it with them.

This didn't result in any conclusive evidence. But it was evident that the sales team were very capable of doing user testing for the design team given the right tools and guidance.

Learn App: Motivation

This was a short exercise we did in March 2018. I helped facilitate a three day exercise that followed the design sprint format to solve for the problem statement: "Determining the effectiveness of student practice in terms of accuracy and speed/quantum".

With our small team we had a few people from the engineer, QA, and product management teams. At this point, we didn't have a sales team to include in this.

You can view the slides from the design sprint here.

These were the questions we came up with for validating with students:

  1. Are students willing to give names of books & time spent
  2. Do students prefer external stimuli like music
  3. Will students share their progress with tuition buddies or anyone*
  4. Do students prefer hints?*
  5. Do students want to be challenged?
  6. Do students want to know their progress?
  7. Are students interested in setting goals?*
  8. Will students upload their work by taking photos?
  9. Are students interested in CSR?
  10. What sort of incentives do students like?*

These were the outcomes* of user testing:

User testing questions

  1. None of the students had an social media accounts or email IDs. Social share was only possible by joining a team set up by us. They also preferred their tuition as opposed to anyone (friends/school)
  2. Nomenclature & iconography seemed to confuse students. E.g. They had different understandings of goals and challenges.
  3. They were keen on the idea of goals, but wanted a mix, of setting some on their own
  4. They didn't seem opposed to seeing a friend's scores as part of goal results.
  5. Practice from a book was unclear. But they they didn't seem opposed to using a timer to record activity.
  6. They like badges, points and rewards. Though the kind of rewards needs more research.
  7. They like the concept of hints and videos. Representation needs to change. They may view a hint and then a video, not necessarily 2 hints together.

Screens used in the prototype