In five days, we discovered a growing problem with online education and designed a prototype to help make the experience significantly better.
The online education industry is booming. But, we discovered an anomaly between its growth and the actual results it’s having on students.
Online Education is Growing
Students enrolled online.
Number of consecutive years enrollment has grown.
The size of the online education industry.
But it’s not working…
What’s Going On?
We chatted with leaders in the online higher education space to find out what isn’t working.
Online education is all about relationships. And it’s really difficult to build a one-to-one relationship online.
Seth Odell Helix Education
The tools that students and professors use don’t always talk to each other. They are not completely integrated.
Ellie Rivera Suny Broome
Despite incredible growth in the online higher education sector, students and faculty often feel isolated and alone throughout the classroom experience.
Online students are putting in far less effort than their on-campus peers. Consequently, they're falling behind.
Meanwhile, professors find themselves investigating other technology—often using social media to bridge the gaps.
A group of us met for an intensive five-day workshop in Chicago to get to the heart of the problem in order to come up with a real solution.
Cups of coffee
(26 cups for Wil)
5 Day Design Sprint
Review the research, frame the problem and identify the user.
Discover opportunities, brainstorm and strategize.
Outline ideal user workflow, discuss technology and map the solution.
Prototyping and Testing
Design and test our theories with influencers and experts.
What We Found
We’re not going to solve this problem with more technology.
Creating a shiny new app is tempting but it wasn’t the best answer. Behavior and habits matter just as much as technology.
Online education can learn from remote companies.
As a remote-first company, we discovered that employing similar tools to online higher ed would be beneficial to students and professors alike.
Go where people already are.
Existing technologies, like Slack, already have a high adoption rate. Marrying these tools in a unique way could benefit students and professors alike.
A Slack room is setup based on data pulled from the University’s student management database, a Slackbot encourages communication and a light-weight video chat application enables more face-to-face time.
Course Management Tool
Content pulled into Slack
A stand-alone video chat app that interfaces via slack and email
Accounts setup based on univ. database
Univ. Student Database
A slack bot to encourage higher quality communication
“I love this concept. I’m already thinking of tons of ideas to build on this.”
“You just combined three steps I have to take right now into one. This would change how I engage with students.”
We're in the midst of building this for use in universities across the world if you are interested in helping out or using this at your university, please contact us.