I was given a task by Byjus’ to design a product solution for their study group feature in their app as a part of their recruitment process
To create a space for students to engage with each other students, and talk about studies, doubts, and subjects
- I couldn’t talk with a lot of users, was only able to talk with 2 kids of 9th and 11th grade, that too remotely
- I didn’t have lot of information about the technical feasibility and the actual requirements in general
- Already massive student base of Byju’s who regularly watch videos and has doubts, might as well collaborate with each other
- Integrated Quizzo could be used to challenge each other, by introducing gamification model the students of Byju’s can be competitive and hence improve their performance. Harry Harlow of University of Wisconsin did an experiment on this which came to this conclusion
Since I didn’t have structured machinery and team to follow a textbook design process but the way I solved the problem pretty much used the usual Design Thinking process mixed with elements and methods from Design Sprint to speed up the brainstorming and ideation phase.
What is a study group?
I started with a Google search, one can call this a secondary research for this project also. Before designing on the study group, it’s important to know what is a study group. Here are a few pointers I got about study groups and what they are:
- Where students can discuss, question and talk about their studies or any common topics
- Where students learn new things (for example new methods, tips & tricks from other students)
- Where students can compare and compete but grow together
- Khan Academy
Good things from the above
- Use of leaderboards and gamification model
- Very very clutter-free by showing less than per view
- Made it very social as it should be
What’s wrong with the other existing study forums
- It’s mostly QnA, posting and feeding
- Almost every other profile is anonymous and unverified
- Very text heavy
Talking to people
- Some kids of 9th and 11th grade
I talked with some students of 9th and 11th grade just to know what they think about this.
- Random sales guy
I talked with a sales guy who called me to pitch for the package, I instead talked to him about the probable product feature. This is the summary of the conversation we had:
The question is why do we need this, in the first place and what problems we can solve using Study Groups in Byju’s app:
- Slow doubt clearing: Currently the paid users have to call customer service and request a Skype call to clear doubts with the teacher which is a tedious task
- No knowledge sharing and collaboration: Students are clueless about other students and users of Byju’s, and studying is incomplete without collaborating with peer group
- Lack of motivation to study: Students find it very boring to study in their own silos and alone at home
- Looking for more resources: No matter how much resources you have, students always keep looking for more all the time
Let’s define the things I learned after the (miniature) research that I did. These are the things that we have to keep in mind as the things we have to offer as per user pain-points and requirements:
- Has to be fun so that students are interested
- Resource sharing
- Challenges, quizzes with other people
- Discussing doubts, topics
So i tend to design the product that revolves around these requirements
Red Route Analysis
- Merging with Quizzo
- Forums like SoloLearn
- Study Groups based on Subject
- Subject > Topics > Titles of Groups
- Feed like Facebook
The whole idea of the map is for students to engage with other users. There are four actors in the journey map, that are: Student (our user), Friends (who are followed by the user), Stranger (who are not followed by the user), Moderator (admins of Byju’s who look after the study groups)
- When student wants to engage, he can either invite his own friends or follow a stranger in the study groups
- The way they communicate is only through public posts in order to avoid this as a personal social networking platform. If people post publicly, it will benefit others as well.
- If a user connects with strangers by following them, they become friends. I think it should work fine as we already have verified profiles on Byju’s
- Moderators make sure that the groups are having their intended discussions and issues are getting resolved, and they can troubleshoot any roadblocks or conflicts. Over time the neural networks can learn human moderator's behavior to train itself so that later this can be automated.
Some rough sketches I made before getting started
This is mostly similar to most of the common study forums, I have taken good traits of successful forums as well as education apps who have employed study forums in their app.
The study groups are internally segregated based on classes as we have to pick on the class while signing up for Byju’s service.
Feed is the first thing people see, imagine it to be your posts update from the people you follow or the groups you follow just like on Facebook
This is for the user to find new study groups, strangers, open challenges where users can compete and take part in other public Quizzo challenges. There are Discussion Rooms, where users can live chat with other people in the presence of moderators or teachers maybe, or they can just have casual chats about different things. This has been made public so that people avoid it to be used for anything other than studies
User can post any new update or post in any study group or publicly on their own feed so other people to see
Inside Study Group
This how a study group looks like, there are question threads just like Facebook or Quora. There’s a follow button on top and you can add notification alert for it as well.
Kept it simple with only a few options, but all are compulsory.
Very similar to what it is in Byju’s. I didn’t know the exact color codes and iconography used, however, I have modified it a little bit. I have not used Montserrat which is originally used in the app and replaced it with Circular because it feels more modern and friendly.
So on closing, I’d like to mention some highlights of this product:
- Best practices: Incorporates all the best practices of good forums and study groups, so that users find it easy to use just like any other social network to post and engage with other users
- Gamification: Employs gamification model, clubbed with Byju’s existing Quizzo game, with a points system to incentivize participation and helping other people
- Moderated: The groups are moderated with humans, can be also with AI in the future. Not only I have designed in a way that users can’t use it like Facebook or any personal social networking. They are allowed to have open conversations and talk to people but only in public forums.
- Feed: Follow study groups as well as people. There is a leaderboard that lets them know other high achievers of Byjus and connect with them. There are Discussion Rooms that lets them talk with other people in the chat room kind of an environment.
I have attached the design file, I used Adobe XD to design these screens.