Questions to Ask When Designing B2B EdTech Products

If you’re not in the education field, you may feel confused about developing educational products or have an entirely different perspective from students and educators. Based on my previous product design experience, this article outlines school and student considerations on this topic to help you build better EdTech products.


Audience

First, we must understand that the audience of your product is not only students, but also schools, teachers or parents, who are the purchasing decision makers.

Teachers’ Perspective

Does the product reduce or increase the burden on teachers?

Most ICT teachers have information technology qualifications. Yet, they need to take additional courses regularly to keep up with technology advances and curriculum changes. If the product is troublesome for teachers, then they are unlikely to try it at all.

What do schools think about STEM or interdisciplinary programmes?

Teachers are more open to STEM or interdisciplinary courses nowadays. However, there are still concerns about the division of labour between teachers in different subjects and how the new curriculum will integrate with regular subjects.

Schools’ Perspective

In addition to the core product, can you provide supporting services for schools?

Schools focus on reducing teaching and operating costs. Providing maintenance or technical support, consultation, replacing multiple vendors or any peripheral services will make the product more commercially viable.

Is the product suitable for competitions? Do any organisations or schools recommend or use the product?

In addition to business incentives, schools also value reputation. Some schools encourage students to participate in competitions, organise public events on their own or collaborate with well-known partners. You can also hold competitions for the product on campus or promote it with other partners to enhance its competitiveness.

Students Perspective

How well do you know about the new generation?

Technology is ever-changing, and so is education. Kindergarten kids don’t know what a keyboard is. However, elementary school students are already learning to convert computer input, output or computer units, so technical proficiency varies greatly depending on one’s age and learning experience. To design products for students, you must first understand what they are learning.

Are interaction and graphic styles appropriate for the age of the learners?

Did you know that toddlers are more discerning visually than designers? Kindergarten kids are keenly aware of age-appropriate content. They can tell the difference between content suitable for nursery and upper-class children, and show less interest in content that seems naive or too mature. Designers should take the time to figure out graphic styles and interactions that are appropriate for certain age groups.


The Course

How does the curriculum develop students’ soft and hard skills?

Hong Kong’s curriculum tends to emphasise hard skills training. Still, the trend is to develop students’ soft skills and prepare them for the changes ahead. For example, through project-based learning or understanding technology applications to train students in collaboration, design thinking and problem-solving skills, that can be transferred to various workplaces.

Is the course delivered in a regular or after-school classes?

Lesson delivery also has a significant impact on the curriculum structure. Combining with regular classes can ensure profitability, but the curriculum needs to meet the requirements of the Education Bureau or the school. After-school classes show that students are likly to be more motivated. The curriculum, instructors or resources can be more flexible than regular classes.

How can learning, particularly complex concepts, be engaging?

Text-based learning instils learners a large amount of knowledge, but generates little interest and motivation among young people. I think interaction is the key to effective communication. Education will be more approachable and attractive if knowledge is presented into bite-sized chunks and more hands-on activities are included.

How does self-learning affect students and teachers?

Many courses are too intense for beginners without the help of teacher. It would be the best of both worlds, if the teaching burden could be reduced while encouraging self-learning. A low-guided self-learning programme enables students to study independently with minimal teacher supervision. The premise is that the courseware is complete, and the curriculum can be self-learned.

What do learning reports mean to students?

Schools and parents in HK value reports to measure students’ learning outcomes, identify learning issues and prove their abilities to others. In addition to providing electronic reports to teachers (detailed and comparable) and students (summary and visual), it is essential to issue certificates and awards, which compliment and demonstrate student’s learning and abilities.


Hardware

Do programmes have to be taught by school teachers?

Have you ever thought that third parties could teach in schools? Suppose the course does not have strict qualification criteria. In that case, another option is to bring in trained instructors from internal or external partners to teach at schools. Sometimes, you can get feedback from them and adjust your teaching faster than school teachers.

How do user flow and learning tool affect learning?

Scattered learning mediums make teaching and learning inefficient. Self-learning platforms are popular because they unify text-based learning and assignments into one without requiring learners to access multiple applications. When designing new products, try to have students complete the learning process in one place.

What hardware or environmental constraints does the school face?

Although it is technology education, not every school has suitable hardware. Some schools have outdated hardware; some have privacy concerns about cloud services. In contrast, there are weak Internet connections in classrooms, so it’s critical to market a particular type of school! By all means, thought, think twice before catering for individual requirements anyway.


These are some of the most important lessons learnt over the years of EdTech product design. The reality is undoubtedly more complicated since it’s a B2B product designed for schools. School’s interests are harder to understand than general consumers. They often ask for trials, so whether they really want to buy the product or not, the lead time is fairly long, and many factors shape its success. Therefore, developing this type of product requires patience and constant communication with teachers and students.