Saurabh Gupta, Co-founder, Zeux Innovation

An alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Saurabh is an established user experience (UX) design and innovation leader with proven passion for UX and strong belief in design’s ability to simplify, amplify and delight. Over a decade long design and innovation career, Saurabh has established, mentored and led digital design and innovation teams that have regularly delivered award-winning digital solutions and tremendous ROI for Fortune 500 companies worldwide across domains such as banking, financial services, telecom, technology and eCommerce. Saurabh is passionate about helping incumbent players and startups understand what it takes to create best-in-class digital experiences, leverage UX as a strategic differentiator and integrate design & innovation into their culture and long-term strategy

The Indian education system is one of the largest in the world with 1.4 million schools, 36000 higher educational institutes and 227 million students. Combine that with the perpetual shortage of qualified teachers, the Indian obsession with marks, the COVID 19 pandemic and you have the perfect ingredients for an EdTech boom.

A growing edtech sector promises to fill this urgent need for useful and effective tools for virtual learning. The purpose should be to enhance the role of educators and ensure quality education for all with the new tools.

So, what does it take to create ‘exceptional’ learning experiences in a hyper-competitive EdTech landscape?

Designing edtech apps in a way that’s user-friendly and engaging ensures students and educators get the most out of their time.

Step 1: Know thy User
Building applications that are both useful for students and educators is the principal goal of any new solution. A typical target persona for an Indian EdTech would be a student who is used to a daily schedule of regular school (for now online) and extreme tuition classes (also online), is under a lot of pressure to score high marks in a hyper competitive environment but at the same time is also highly distracted thanks to the constantly connected lifestyle of the Instragram/ TikTok/PUBG generation.

The user likes/ dislikes, colour preference and concentration changes with the ages and profession. EdTech companies should tailor their products designed to appeal not only to the student’s needs and interests but schools, teachers and parents. This means when designing the focus should be on the primary user’s needs, age, educational progress and knowledge.

Step 2: Define “Exceptional”
From a UX standpoint, all digital experiences in the world play one or a combination of three roles: Concierge, Coach and Court Jester. Uber or Ola are examples of digital experiences that play the concierge role. Their role is to fulfil the user’s need for a cab, at the desired time and place. Netflix is an example of a court jester whose role is essentially to keep you entertained. And which category does EdTech fall into? EdTech’s core purpose is to help students achieve their full potential by enhancing learning experiences and improving education outcomes. EdTech is not just about instructing students in the relevant educational content but also about tracking and analysing their progress and providing continuous feedback and encouragement. So, an exceptional EdTech platform would play a role similar to the sports coach would play for an athlete. The true measure of an exceptional EdTech experience would not just be about student registrations and course completion but also about learning immersion, retention, achievements, and advocacy. An exceptional UI and UX help the user to be more involved and keep the concentration. A disengaged user will move to another app.

Step 3: Gamify
EdTech caters to one of the most challenging target audiences – typically kids aged 6 till 14. To ensure high levels of engagement and class completion is always a big challenge. One of the keys to EdTech success today is integrating gamification strategies with state-of-the-art courseware to deliver a potent blend of highly engaging online learning. Badges, levels & leaderboards all need to come together to form a holistic engagement framework focused on increasing student & parent engagement that ultimately leads to an increase in lifetime value. In a hyper competitive landscape, it’s also becoming imperative to employ specific persuasion design techniques to drive accelerated learning and provide continuous feedback and encouragement to students. For instance, badges and/or points to reinforce qualities such as curiosity, creativity, and perseverance.

Designing EdTech apps should be user-friendly and engaging ensures that students, teachers & parents get the most out of their time. Introducing some simple gamification features can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the application. The gamification features encourage users to engage and make learning fun. As students go through a course with many lessons, a poor user experience will put off the user. A gamification, at each level course could engage the user to make their experience better Earning recognition like badges and honours to show off while finishing the course leads to higher engagement rates.

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