Using Technology to Improve Education
About Flipped Tuition
Flipped Tuition is an online learning portal developed to give parents key information they need to have positive discussions about learning at home – backed up by an innovative SMS text reminder system.
The Flipped Tuition Project harnesses the methods of communication that work and fine-tunes the timing of this for positive ‘nudges’ that prove effective when parents often have so many other things going on.
For project lead Doug King, a principal at an inner city college, simplicity for both the users and himself in managing the platform was paramount. Doug’s mission was clear and impactful, but he didn’t have the time or technical expertise to set up and run an overly complicated platform with a steep learning curve.
That’s where our Gas Mark 8 team was able to step in and provide a fully integrated system that handled user enrollment into a weekly drip-fed lesson delivery structure, and automatically managed individual customised scheduled text messaging delivery that included the weekly topic content alongside the parent and child’s name. The platform we built was not only visually stimulating but also easy to use and commended on by both Doug and his users with regards to the comprehensive functionality and simplicity of use.
Understanding the technical big picture
Whilst Doug had the pedagogical theory regarding the educational aims of the project, he didn’t have time to dedicate hours in endless technical research and discussion. He wanted a site up and running with the least amount of hassle. With our background in the educational sector, understanding what Doug was looking to achieve was second nature to us and we were able to align with the project vision instantly.
Drawing upon this experience, we were able to develop comprehensive reporting functionality that would meet the evidence requirements for the project and provide a self-serve system that allowed Doug to access the data as and when he needed it. Doug instantly commented on the trust he felt upon working with us – knowing that he was in capable hands and comforted that his project would meet its delivery objectives.
Developing an integrated online learning portal and SMS text messaging system
Harnessing the power of LearnDash
Being LearnDash experts, we knew this would be perfect as the Learning Management System on this project. Not only did it provide excellent course delivery functionality alongside user enrolment processes, it also provided Doug with comprehensive access to course data.
The courses, automatically drip-released in weekly intervals, provided parents with excellent learning content, interactive tools, and comprehensive podcasts – all on the topic of providing parents/carers with key information on how best to support their children with learning at home.
Building a custom SMS text messaging system
Being able to automatically schedule text messages to be sent to the users was a key requirement of the project – and one that we were thrilled to develop a custom solution for.
Our bespoke platform allowed Doug to pre-write and schedule text messages that would be delivered on a set date and time. For just a few pennies per message, SMS is a cost-effective outreach method that has much greater open and action rates compared to email and other outreach methods with an average clickthrough rate of 2.5%.
Building comprehensive reporting
Gathering actionable information was a critical requirement of this project. We built robust reporting functionality including Google Analytics to assess website traffic as well as LearnDash data to track course completions, user activity, and learning objectives.
Coupled with the SMS messaging stats from our own platform and our provider, Twilio, we are able monitor messaging, costs, deliverability, and more.
A custom LMS to exceed learning objectives
The Flipped Tuition project has run through three cohorts since launch and has resulted in excellent impact with students whose parents were involved in the course having improved their grades by at least one full attainment level.
Through this project:
- Our team designed a new logo and color palette for the project.
- We designed and built a full LearnDash platform including adding all course materials.
- We partnered to develop the software to deliver scheduled text messages to parents to encourage and inspire them.
For Doug, being able to pull his own statistical reports with which to present to the project sponsors was a real win. Proving that engagement was taking place and being able to evaluate the intervention via start and end feedback surveys was invaluable functionality.