eUni: Case Study


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Status of e-learning

eUni is a mock startup name for an e-learning platform I have been developing for a stealth startup.
The main issue with platforms like Treehouse and uDemi is that although they have great courses, students are not held accountable for their learning behavior.
Other websites like Codewar or CodeAcademy lack the video component and are just a series of tests, with little support.
Potentially, you have thousands of people paying their monthly membership and not watching any of the videos. 24 Hour Fitness style sales.
These students are going to go out there and complain about the platform methodology, the poor results and the inability to speak with a real tutor.

A problem arises: how can we improve the user drop-out rate?

According to these articles – 1 and 2 – you need to set macro goals, and micro goals on the way to the big one. That way, micro goals work as incentives and keep you motivated.
The lack of micro goals, coupled with the lack of personal interaction, makes modern e-learning platforms beneficial for a small group of very dedicated users. People who need the extra push will fall through the cracks. And their money with them.

Tech e-learning is a $31 Billion Dollar global market, and it’s dropping gradually because self-pace learning is up to the users. The game needs to change.

Research

Based on those premises, as the UX expert, I started with some research. Was there an actual need for eUni?
I surveyed 51 people about e-learning in general and 10 that actually enrolled in competitor course.
It turned out that:
1. 81% of people between 21 to 35 would enroll in e-learning courses.
2. Of that 81%, 60% are worried about that the courses will be too expensive, 25% that the courses will not be effective.
3. 80% of the already enrolled students dropped out before finishing the course
4. Of that 80%, 62.5% was due to motivation, 25% time, 12.5% money.

To add to that, almost all of the already enrolled students complained about the lack of personal interaction. They felt they were left on their own.

Reason for dropping out of e-learning

The Problems

As is, according to the research results, self-paced e-learning has 2 big problems:
1. Marketing: it’s perceived as either a high-end commodity or not reliable.
2. UX: courses are not rewarding, flat-out boring and lack human contact.

The Solution

While the psychologists on the team were working on better tests and course patterns, I worked with the Marketing team on a solution.
We were able to set the price point to $11.99 AFTER a 30-day trial. 30 days is drastically longer than most e-learning platforms out there (Treehouse is 7 days).
I came up with this strategy so that we could get the users in the door for free AND the minimum amount of personal info (full name, email). Then, when they are enrolled and loving eUni, we can introduce them to the monthly membership.

Something else I suggested to increase the personal contact factor, is live training, hackathons and annual regional events.
This solution creates:
• a community of students that are familiar with each other, that can help each other.
• increased user engagement through the human interaction of live training, coaching and post-graduation mentoring.
• increased students accountability, to counter the drop-out rate.

Other “sticky” features involved planned out gamification levels, as simple as Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert. The levels are a depending on # of tests cleared.

Gamification Algorythm

Hours and tests are directly correlated. Students are constantly learning and practicing.

After reviewing the results with my team, I decided to gather their input and do some website wireframes.
Some of these features are present in the wireframes linked below. Because the project is in progress, I cannot release all of the screens and features.

Conclusion

As is, e-learning is a good offer for only a few.
The courses format, coupled with the lack of personal interaction and infrequent hands-on practice, makes e-learning tough to adopt.
EUni is changing this, and its approach is perfectly in line with what we know about the value of relationships and human interaction.

See Wireframes