Peertime

Online Tutoring Platform
and Marketplace

Peertime

Online Tutoring Platform
and Marketplace

Overview

Peertime is an Online Tutoring Platform and Marketplace- where students can select a tutor, schedule a class, pay the tuition and then interact with each other like in a physical classroom.

Challenge

Although, there are a lot of MOOCs that students can chose to learn from, but Peertime was built on the idea to replicate in-class learning. Students are not just shown videos and asked to turn in assignments, but a platform where active-learning is made possible through dialogue and active discussions between students and teachers.

Research

Background

The original idea for Peertime was to build a marketplace for college students to teach each other and earn money on the side.

Since this idea was a new concept, we wanted to make sure that before investing too much time and effort into this new venture, we validate our basic hypothesis, and once it is validated commit more resources to it.

The first step we did was we built our hypothesis and unlearned whatever we knew about this space. This allowed us in setting aside our personal bias towards any idea or new finding that we came across during the research phase.

Our original hypothesis was

"We believe if we create a marketplace for college students to learn from each other, students will benefit by getting better grades and earning additional income. We will know this is true, if we can get 3/5 interviewees willing to pay for such a service”

The 4 main areas we decided to learn more about and validate our hypothesis were:

  1. Buying habits / Budget
  2. Studying habits
  3. General Student Lifestyle
  4. Interest in using Tutoring Service / Tutoring

We arranged for 5 user interviews with college students through our own network (interns at our parent company asked their friends to give us some feedback).

We build a list of interview questions based on the 5 main themes we were interested in learning more about and validating. Some of the questions we asked were:



Key Insights from our interviews

  • We were half right, our findings from the interviews showed us that none of our 5 interviewees had ever taken any tutoring service since starting college. The main resources for them outside classroom were through group study, and other online resources like note-sharing sites, YouTube tutorials, etc.
  • They had no budget for it.
  • We learned that they were interested in teaching others to make money.
  • They had used Tutoring service in the past, in Middle School and High School.
  • A few of them had taken online courses and were not very satisfied with the experience.

These interviews had convinced us that we were targeting the wrong market and should focus on K7-12 students and potentially connect them with these College Students. We repeated the same process by contacting 5 high school students through our network. Our office employees had brought their kids to work for an hour and we asked them the same questions.



Keys Insights from the Second round of Interviews

  1. A few of them had used tutoring service for schoolwork.
  2. Parents were very happy they wouldn’t have to drive around to take them to the Tutors.
  3. They were tech savvy enough to use complex software.
  4. They were also interested in college admission counseling and learning new languages 1-on-1 with a Tutor.

As we learned more about the users, we also started doing secondary research by performing competitor analysis on a few direct and indirect websites that were in the education market. We also studied whiteboarding, video-calling and scheduling features on other websites.

At this point, we had a decent understanding of our users, their needs, their painpoints and the competition. In order to put a face to all our research finidings till this point, we created 4 personas.

Personas

Problem Analysis

Some of the main pain points that we had uncovered up to this point were:

  • Parents were very happy they wouldn’t have to drive around to take them to the Tutors.
  • No reliable way of finding Tutors besides word-of-mouth.
  • Craigslist cannot be fully trusted.
  • Other Tutoring websites do not provide a comprehensive solution that allows from finding a Tutor for any subject to taking that online course.
  • Relied on Skype and Google Hangouts, which are not geared towards teaching online.
  • No credit cards- Cash payment is mostly accepted by Tutors

Ideation

I am a big fan of JTBD framework, so first thing I did was started exploring solutions for our product and came up with a few jobs:

Wireframes

Visual Concepts

Final Design

Course Page

We approached Course listing page differently; instead of showing broad areas of expertise of the tutor, we wanted to allow students search for packaged courses based on their interest. Courses are created by the tutor, in which they give approximate time to cover the subject.

Live Class

This is a Tutors View of Live Classroom, where she can browse the documents through the left side-panel, use whiteboard features under the top Nav-bar and all other administrative issues on the right side-panel.

LMS

This is a Course setup page, where the Tutor can manage the course information like add Lectures, Assignments, etc. Also the Tutor can navigate directly to Documents, Students by selecting a course from the left side-panel first.

Schedule

A student can see the availability of the Tutor's schedule before purchasing a course. A message can also be sent to confirm with the Tutor about their availability.

Course Listings

All Courses are displayed on this page, with the option to perform an advance search. This is the first step in a student's journey for finding the tutor or discovering other interesting courses.