E-learning startup: from raw idea to successful product
7 min read
Six months ago, we received a request from a consulting company to develop a custom software solution for a real-time simulation application.
Our partner wanted an engaging, high-grade e-learning product to simplify, automate, digitize, and scale their consulting events for the global audience. We gladly accepted the challenge and now we can proudly say that together we have created a high-end and innovative app!
Avid Adventures is a Singapore-based company that provides career consulting workshops for schools and corporate organizations.
Nowadays, educational systems are changing to become more practical and provide knowledge that is applicable in real life.
Universities and schools are looking for ways to educate motivated and career-oriented students who will be in demand in today’s job market.
Avid Adventures works with schools, businesses, the government, and non-profits to help their students and stakeholders learn more about the 21st-century jobs scene, and gain motivation to upskill themselves.
We were contacted by Jacintha, their Head of Product, who acted as a professional intermediary between the company’s lead management and our team to maximize the productive impact.
She has extensive experience in investment banking in Singapore and the US, the UK managing clients and projects. Since 2018, her work has been focused on building innovative software solutions for startups.
The client had already made a web version prototype earlier. But they also wanted to create a high-performance e-learning mobile app.
The goal was to bring their current Career Life game online, provide real-time play, expand the audience globally/worldwide with a creative solution, and get the maximum benefit from implementing the product in an online event. They needed an app for those events to engage audiences and automate processes for enhanced interaction between a host and an audience.
After implementing the product, the customer wanted to offer this e-learning startup to a large market and continue development to profit from the application not only at their events in the Singapore region, but also to scale it worldwide.
At the time of the request, the conditions were as follows:
- The client did not have enough resources in the in-house staff, so they wanted to set up a remote team.
- Their event was scheduled for 3 months, so it was necessary to launch a working solution as soon as possible.
- There was a very large work volume.
- A local team hiring was extremely expensive and time-consuming (5-6 months);
- There was a lack of expertise in mobile development.
After the client described to us an approximate vision of the product development result, our team worked out several options for project implementation. Our goal was to come up with an innovative e-learning product that was as easy to use, fast for external checks, and able to meet the company’s requirements and budget. Technically, the criteria were as follows:
- It should be a real-time application, with sessions of several hundred users from different schools and organizations;
- The app must be clear, easy to use, flexible and configurable from the admin panel to work with different conditions and projects;
- It must also be possible to upload data to adapt to other countries;
- The admin panel for the host of the event should allow the ability to interact with the audience;
- The analytics system must provide a detailed report after each event.
This phase involves the formation of recommendations and analytics for the client - for the most profitable bilateral cooperation, and then conducting negotiations and concluding a deal, determination of monetary and time costs.
We chose the milestone-based approach for the MVP because our partner wanted to stay within a budget for the first round.
To implement this approach, we estimated the entire project in terms of cost and divided the entire scope of work into 5 equal iterations.
Thus, the client minimizes risks, since there are clear requirements, deadlines, and a budget. and money for each part was transferred after the delivery of each part to the client.
It was originally planned to create a mobile e-learning application. But we had only 3 months to implement the entire project, and the development of a mob application involved publishing to AppStore and Google Play, which would take about a month only for publishing The product due to the corporate rules of these services.
Therefore, through a detailed analysis and brainstorm, our team came to the following solution: instead of writing a time-consuming mobile app, we offered our clients to create a PWA - or Progressive Web Application. It’s essentially a website, but visually and functionally it works like a mobile application.
Thus, it’s convenient for users to use the product from the phone, and at the same time, we avoid delays associated with the terms of publication of the product in Apple and Google services.
Initially, we create a backlog; we estimate and divide the entire volume of work into milestones; prioritize tasks.
The development itself takes place using the Scrum approach. This is one of the agile development methods that allow you to easily adjust the work process using well-established communication between the team and the customer.
How does this happen? After the milestones are formed, we plan the first sprint. for this, we hold a meeting with the client and the team, where we determine what tasks will be included in it. The sprint itself lasts 2 weeks, at the end of this period, a retrospective meeting is held, during which success is determined, as well as possible problems and ways to solve them. Then the next sprint is planned for early next week.
Thus, the client can always adjust the accuracy of tasks, methods, and quality of their implementation, and, if necessary, even cancel some tasks or replace them with others. At the same time, the organization of the workflow remains simple and easily adjustable.
Well, after grasping the full project and features, analyzing the customer’s UI mockups in detail, we proposed to complete the project in 6 milestones according to features (Education, Work, Shop, Admin panel, etc).
The front-end of the web app was built using React.js and we went with Google Firebase for the backend in order to launch our product as soon as possible and be able to scale to accommodate more users.
The teamwork was organized as follows: two programmers developed the admin panel and the app, technical lead was required for the elaboration of the code, while the project manager was in touch with the client 24/7.
While developing the e-learning application, we also resorted to the following solutions:
- using several test-iterations and demo checks;
- applying Agile best practices in the work process, like daily meetings and regular status updates;
- making final technical changes by customer comments.
The first version of the product was completed within 6 months, with new features currently under development as we expand our product on a market.
Finally, the deployment phase began. We have launched a web application and started working with test groups; then chose the optimal cloud solutions, where the budget ratio meets the server capacity; and also provided technical support of the released product.
The e-learning startup was launched and tested before the deadline (3 months) for the start of its launch in Singapore.
The client saved 40% of the budget compared to developing with local vendors.
It has been played successfully with the admin panels with no critical issues. The game is being played by around 300 concurrent players per session.
Our customer has been able to run numerous workshops since the product launch in October 2020. They have successfully attracted many new potential customers from Singapore, the US, Australia, India, China, etc.
Thanks to the well-thought-out structure, the game is flexible and scalable. So customers were able to close deals with schools and other partners around the world, globalize the product and expand its functionality without problems.
At the moment, we are continuing to work with this partner on the dedication team model. We provide technical support for the product and develop new features.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about this e-learning startup, just mail us!