If you’re not in education, creating educational products may feel unfamiliar. Drawing on my product design experience, this article outlines school and student perspectives on this topic to help you develop better EdTech products.
First, we must recognise that our product’s audience includes not only students but also schools, teachers, and parents who make the purchasing decisions.
Does the product lighten or add to the workload of teachers?
Teachers face complex workloads. Most ICT teachers have qualifications in information technology. However, they must take additional courses regularly to stay up-to-date with technological advances and curriculum changes. Products adding to work are unlikely adopted. Complexity prevents use, even by tech-savvy teachers.
What do schools think about STEM or interdisciplinary programmes?
Teachers welcome interdisciplinary courses but worry over curriculum fit and workload division.
Can you provide additional services to support schools in addition to the core product?
Schools focus on cost reduction. Additional support services beyond products make them commercially viable by providing maintenance, technical support, consultation or replacing multiple vendors.
Is the product suitable for competition? Do any organisations or schools recommend or use it?
Schools value not only business incentives but also reputation. To boost competitiveness, they may encourage students to participate in competitions, organise public events independently, or collaborate with well-known partners. Additionally, competitions can be held on campus, or the product can be promoted with other partners.
Do you have a good understanding of the current generation?
Technology and education constantly evolve. Kindergarteners may not be familiar with a keyboard, but elementary school students are already learning to process computer input and output. Students’ technical proficiency varies by age and experience impacting design suitability.
Are the interaction and graphic design suitable for the learners’ age group?
Design for learners’ ages. Toddlers visually discern more than designers. Kindergarteners can distinguish age-appropriate content. Content appearing too native or nature interests them less. Designers should take the time to study appropriate interactions and graphics for each age.
How does the curriculum develop students’ soft and hard skills?
Hong Kong’s curriculum typically focuses on hard skills training. However, the trend is shifting towards developing students’ soft skills and preparing them for the future. For instance, project-based learning, understanding technology applications, and training students in collaboration, design thinking, and problem-solving can help them gain skills applicable to various workplaces.
Is the course offered during regular school hours or after school?
Lesson delivery has a significant influence on curriculum structure. Combining with regular classes can guarantee profitability, but the curriculum must comply with the Education Bureau’s or the school’s requirements. After-school classes indicate more motivated students and curriculum flexibility.
How can learning, particularly complex concepts, be engaging?
Text-based learning can impart much knowledge but often fails to generate interest and motivation among young people. Therefore, hands-on activities and presenting knowledge in manageable chunks make learning engaging, overcoming sole reliance on text.
How does self-learning affect students and teachers?
Many courses are too intense for beginners without teacher assistance. It would be ideal if the teaching burden could be reduced while encouraging self-learning. Self-learning with minimal teacher guidance reduces workload while encouraging independence if materials accommodate independent study.
What do learning reports mean to students?
Reports assess student learning outcomes, identify issues, and demonstrate abilities to schools and parents. Electronic reports should be provided to teachers (detailed and comparable) and students (summary and visual). Certificates and awards should also be issued to complement and showcase students’ learning and abilities.
Do programmes have to be taught by school teachers?
Have you ever considered having third parties teach in schools? Third-parties may teach if courses do not have strict criteria. This provides faster adjustments from instructor feedback than school teachers.
How do user flow and learning tools influence learning outcomes?
Self-learning platforms are popular because they unify text-based learning, assignments, and other learning activities into one, eliminating accessing multiple sources. When designing new products, aim to provide a single, unified platform for students to complete their learning process.
What hardware or environmental limitations does the school encounter?
Some schools lack updated hardware and have privacy concerns about cloud services. Additionally, classrooms often have weak Internet connections, making it essential to market a particular type of school. However, it is crucial to think twice before catering to individual requirements.
These are key lessons learned from years of EdTech product design. B2B products for schools are complex, as school interests are harder to grasp than consumers. They often request trials, so the lead time is lengthy, and many factors influence its success. Ongoing communication with teachers and students necessitates patience.