#WeStudyTogether - A peer-to-peer learning community platform

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation. ~ N. Mandela

The problem

  • 19 million tertiary students in EU-28 are currently unable to have (physical) engagement due to COVID-19
  • Expected high negative impact on engagement levels and student retention
  • Research shows that student retention largely depends on three factors of engagement
  • More dropouts will negatively influence universities as they lose income, lose reputation and lose funds
  • Next to this, drop outs are causing economical damage and lead to long term not seized opportunities due to early knowledge and education gaps

The Problem

Resources: Attrition in higher education, NSSE Indiana University Survey report I, NSSE Indiana University Survey report II

The solution

#WeStudyTogether is an online peer-to-peer learning community that helps educational institutions to engage remotely with students and to prevent student knowledge gaps and attrition.

The platform allows students and universities to:

  • Increase the quality of students' interactions
  • Boost students' sense of belonging to the university
  • Provide a safe and supporting learning environment
  • Contribute to the university's culture
  • Provide opportunities to socialize and have fun
  • Help students feel comfortable about seeking help
  • Help students prove they mastered a subject - teaching shows mastery
  • Develop employable skills of students (coaching, teamwork, ...)
  • Allow students to differentiate themselves by building extra curriculum
  • Enable students to provide another strong indicator of their academic achievement next to their GPAs
  • Provide employers a reliable evaluation of the graduates on the subjects they mastered

PROTOTYPE - Check it out!

The Solution

The Architecture

Cloud Architecture

Input - Hackathon - Output

Before Hackathon

We started this project two weeks ago when we saw that there was a need for students to interact with one another and help each other out. After launching the initial website in Dutch (now westudytogether.org - translated to explain to the others) we had already more than 2000 visitors, 150 volunteers and we helped over 50 students. And so the Hackathon begun...

During Hackathon

  • Friday 24/4: expanded team with very talented and diverse members, team brainstorm and blueprint next steps
  • Saturday 25/4 - morning: found new mentors after initial mentor dropped out and got blessed with Anna (pitch) and Katerina (overall)
  • Saturday 25/4 - day: pivot initial idea to shared economy and scaled solution, integration gamification, creation visualization (prototype) and late-night feedback sessions
  • Sunday 26/04 - morning: incorporated feedback, pivoted idea again, made final proposal and assessment feasibility
  • Sunday 26/04 - day: draft pitch, two final mentor sessions, creation of final pitch, story board and video

Now

A platform to help educational institutions engage remotely with students and build an online peer-to-peer learning community to prevent student knowledge gaps and attrition.

Solution's impact to the crisis

  • Prevent attrition of students causing loss of funds, reputation and tuition fees for universities
  • Digitalize peer-to-peer assistance learning with an engaging factor
  • Keep the "university community" engaged and stay connected around a common topic of education

The necessities to continue

  • Prototype: translate model into real prototype ready for A/B testing and being able to assess user experience - need for engineer (front- and backend development
  • Competitive and business analysis: research on the current market dynamics using: Porter’s 5 forces, business canvas model, SWOT analysis
  • Route to market: market research educational institutions and student, grow network associated universities (crucial as product is B2B2C or WeStudyTogether-to-university-to-students)
  • Financial assessment: explore different revenue models and feasibility:
  • Payment per registered student by university
  • Full-year subscriptions
  • Software licensing for private usage within domain of the university
  • Freemium model for course takers (first private session free)
  • Revenue model (commission based) on earning tutor (if not free)

Timeline to market

  • When technical resources available we would need around 4 weeks to turn the idea in a workable product
  • Next to this we will have to tackle the network of universities to have their buy-in and spread it across their students
  • We expect to have it on the market before the European examination period when the product will be the most valuable
  • It gives us afterwards the summer vacation to incorporate feedback and come up with a final product
  • Final product wil be ready by the start of school year 2020 - 2021

The value after the crisis

  • Make education more inclusive, more engaging and personalized to prevent attrition of students
  • Promote digital peer-to-peer learning to all to decrease pressure on teachers and democratize private tutoring
  • Corona is expected to come back multiple times - and it will still take a considerable period of time before we will go back to normal
  • Education is a right - also for those in remote areas - the tool allows universities to acquire new students without geographical / physical limitations
  • The platform will allow those who cannot attend classes physically due to financial reasons or the fact they combine it with other activities (student job, job, top sport, ...) to still be part of the community
  • Regardless of where we are born, we should have access to education offered across the world and 'hack' our way out

The long term vision

Scale: plan of a bigger digitalisation of higher education, existing of three elements:

  • 1. Existing product: a platform to help educational institutions engage remotely with students and build an online community of peer-to-peer learning to prevent student knowledge gaps and attrition
  • 2. Small private online courses in educational institution context: professors and teaching assistants can engage close with students in 1-to-small group sessions - moreover they can participate in activities that are facilitated realtime by real people. More resources mean their work can be scrutinised and credentialled with more confidence. With the small number of students, the individual learning process can be emphasized, evaluating their growth (Li, 2016)
  • 3. Massive private online courses in educational institution context: courses can be taught by professors - can be pre-recorded sessions or live sessions, allowing students to be part of educational programs across the globe without being there physically (global acquisition).

Tha Hackathon Team

Except two members, the team had never met before, here is a little bit about us:

  • Jeroen (Belgium) - Background in sales, marketing and B2B educational program management at Google
  • Miher (Belgium) - Background in sales at Google and finance at venture capital firm
  • Lupo (Italy) - Translation from "idea/sales" into user experience, visualization and design
  • Ebru (Turkey) - Educational researcher, higher education, self-regulated learning, creative and productive thinking
  • Iago (Spain) - Started LMS from scratch in early 2000s with 6.000 users, sr. Software Engineer, digital architect
  • Mark (Canada) - Contributor of critical thinking and a new vision closer to market

team-c23-WeStudyTogether t_westudytogether_jtg94

+ 18 more
Share this project:
×

Updates

posted an update

Final Day - The end

While a project never ends this marks the point we went from storyboard to story and produced a 2 minute video in the past hours representing our idea. We are done for now and looking forward to feedback which we can iterate again in the next draft of the product.

Stay tuned and never forget: because, notwithstanding the virus or a crisis, we do believe in a world where students can always study together.

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

posted an update

Final Day - The last sprint

We are almost there! The final past hours could easily be what normally a full week looks like - putting on one’s research, marketing, sales, business, engineering and finance hat all at once.

To keep it brief:

  • We wrote down all answers to the different questions in a document and started cutting down to the core
  • We filtered our current presentations and crafted a one final document
  • We had two last check-ins both with our pitch mentor Anna and our overall mentor Katerina - again thank you so so much!
  • We updated the Devpost completely to a holistic picture of the concept
  • We crafted a four-part board for our final video

Now the last hours we will use to filter even more and make a final video to be uploaded and craft a Devpost page from A-Z!

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

posted an update

** Final Day - Morning - Update **

With a couple of hours of sleep and as many liters of coffee, the new and final day started this morning. Putting us in the last straight line towards finish:

What was done overnight:

  • Assessment of technical feasibility and service / cloud platform model
  • Gathering of objections and finding answers / solutions
  • Zoom-out and reprioritizing

Which has brought us to our final battle plan for today:

  • Focus on 7-key questions keeping in mind pitch-recommendations of Anna
  • Iterate existing mockups to an "in-community" space
  • Resurface research / key numbers backing our pitch
  • Iterate and feedback session
  • Write script for final video and build storyboard
  • Iterate and feedback session
  • Make the video and clean submission
  • Crack a beer and celebrate!

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

posted an update

Day 2 - End of Day - Update

Day 2 comes to an end and will go down in history as the day we went from blueprint, to written business plan, to visualization and ending up with ‘challenging everything we did so far’ to deciding to pivot once more with a clear eye on the goal.

What we did in the past hours:

  • One session with @Annathomlinson (Managing Director KBC Start-it & our pitch mentor) who challenged our business model and revenue streams to have a sustainable project that can cover costs and help people in the longer run - Thank you! Bedankt! Merci!
  • One session with @katerinazourou (Director Web2Learn & our overall mentor) who challenged us in “picking our battles”, defining a clear target audience and seeing how we could reach the most people taking loads of objections away. Thank you so much, we are looking forward to speaking to you tomorrow! Efcharistó polý
  • Defined our audience as university communities and their students
  • Taking away potential objections for safety, security and language barriers (more or less)
  • Expanded on incentivization by solving needs of students (recognized extra-curriculum), solving needs of institutions (getting a community, interaction from students) and employers of grads (better insights in real mastery of a subject - through teaching - and interpersonal skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork)
  • Defined clear action items for tomorrow, the last day, the last sprint, pivoting the mock-ups towards the goals, creating a business plan and finally mixing it all together to a final pitch!

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

posted an update

Mid-day 2 - update - 4PM CEST

Glad to announce we are making progress:

  • Pivot of the initial idea to a shared economy and scaled solution
  • Integration of gamification and quality/reward/incentivisation
  • Look for our new mockups and platform here
  • Visualization of landing page (pivot) and user interface (login)
  • Visualization of subject selection, search and front-end user profiles
  • We are welcoming feedback, all our documents are open to any viewer, the more feedback the better

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

posted an update

Hi visitor!

We are glad to welcome you on our Devpost post page Please find here the updates of 24th of April

  • Team forming
  • Explanation initial idea platform: WeStudyTogether
  • Group brainstorm for ~ 3-ish hours for different ideas
  • Temporary pitch summary updated on Devpost
  • Creation of Working Document
  • Creation of BluePrint structure of Purpose & Vision, Product, Users and Community and further possibility for Business Plan
  • First ideas around safety and quality

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.