Feb 16, 2022 Written by Tamar Barlev
edtech startups: how to develop an edtech tool
E-learning, online learning concept - pencil on a white laptop

Hello! Today we’ll be discussing how to develop an EdTech tool.

(This is a continuation of our Part I: “What is an EdTech App and What are Its Benefits?”)

How to Develop an EdTech Tool 

1. Choose the problem you’re addressing
and how your EdTech tool addresses it

At first, it’ll be all about isolating the problem you’re aiming to solve or the process you’re aiming to streamline. So, call your inner entrepreneur, do some industry research, and see: what gaps are there to fill in the education space? Or, what products could be improved upon?

You might already know what your solution targets, be it with inspiration from hands-on experience or something you’ve witnessed. But either way, this is the time to strategize: how will you deliver your solution? What would its distribution look like? And, with what business model?

Of course, these aspects will have to be open to iteration as you gather more and more data on your potential users. But we’re getting to that.

2. Research the market and target personas—thoroughly

After you’ve ideated and spent some time at the drawing board, it’s time for some exhaustive (but with some good self-care practices, not exhausting) research.

Your research should encompass market research, market validation, and target persona research to identify to which audience you’ll be catering. And it should include both primary and secondary research.

Ergo—conducting your own user interviews and gathering your own robust data. However, you should also conduct market research and competitive analysis, and scour for additional relevant information that’s out there.

Why both? Because primary research gives you a competitive edge; it gives you insight others might not have.

But, secondary research—because your primary research might be limited in scope, and after all, you do want the information that others have as well.

Lastly, your research goal is to (in)validate any and all assumptions possible about your user and market with robust, qualitative, and quantitative data.

To successfully launch and tailor a product to a user, you need to be as familiar as possible with your audience’s motivations, behaviors, demographics, psychographics, and so on.

3. Know the learning principles at hand

Given that you’re creating an EdTech tool (emphasis on the “Ed”—as in, educational)—it’s imperative to be aware of the learning principles behind how people soak in information.

There are many, and they’re actually super interesting—but some of the learning principles to touch on include:

  • Knowledge organization 
  • Development of skill competency and practicing
  • How students learn to learn
  • The role of prior knowledge in hindering or assisting learning
  • The way that teaching environments and climates impact studying and learning
  • How learning motivations play into determining, directing, and sustaining learning
  • Alignment of goal-orientation with targeted feedback

4. Identify your EdTech tool’s core functionalities

Let’s go back to your target personas and value proposition. What problem is the tool aiming to solve, for who, and how?

Answering these questions will help you uncover the core and key functionalities of your EdTech tool. For example, you wouldn’t create a statistics-teaching application without adding the capability to calculate functions. Or build an English-tutoring app that written exclusively in Wingdings.

Those are, admittedly, basic examples. But you get the point.

It’s critical to isolate the key points in your value proposition and then distill them into your features and functionalities in a way that’s direct, organized, and user-intuitive.

After all, your goal is to deliver value—and yes, transform education—but also to gain traction and increase adoption and retention.

5. Build a beautiful UX/UI which includes easy, streamlined onboarding

When it comes to getting people to actually use a new technology or app, the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) matter more than…well, anything?

Think about it—even if an app carries a ton of value, if it’s confusing or annoying to use, would you use it? Probably not. We have very low tolerances for frustrating technology these days.

And so, it’s critical to design your EdTech tool with impeccable UX/UI standards. The navigation needs to be crystal clear, and so does the information architecture. Features need to be placed in the most helpful and relevant places. And it must run smoothly and quickly—with no Spinning Wheel of Doom-esque experiences.

Additionally, onboarding is equally important. With teachers and facilitators experiencing a high rate of tech burnout, it’s critical that teaching them how to use a product—that’s supposed to make their lives easier—isn’t a burden.

7. Conduct plenty of usability testing and iterations

Once you’ve created the high-fidelity wireframes or even interactive prototype of your EdTech tool in the Design Phase, it’s time to get honest feedback on it from real (hypothetical) users.

You can conduct moderated and/or unmoderated usability tests and distribute surveys to potential users that fit in with your target audience.

So, give them tasks to complete, and observe how quickly and well they’re doing them. Or, let them explore the tool on their own to see which features they’re finding and which they aren’t, or where they’re getting stuck.

Your goal is to see how real users would respond to your product before developing it.

And, once you get that feedback, it’s time to make some tweaks—or even significant changes. Believe us; it’ll be easier to do this in Figma than have to reprogram everything.

8. And finally—development, QA testing, and launching the thing (your EdTech Tool is the thing)

Alrighty. So you’ve conducted your research, fit your product to your user persona, designed it beautifully, and usability tested it a bajillion times pre-development. Now it’s time to get coding—be it software, web, mobile (iOS, Android, or Native) development.

After development, you’ll run through another round of testing—this time, quality assurance (QA) testing. Again, you’ll want to make sure your EdTech tool operates as smoothly as you imagined before launch.

Ergo, in this stage, you’ll find and fix bugs that will make your product run beautifully before gifting it to your users.

And then finally…launch! 

There are so many ways to go-to-market, we haven’t finished writing about them yet. But here are a couple of articles on GTM and product-led growth for you. Enjoy 🙂

Well, this was a lot. We know.

Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.

Looking to develop a new app or revamp an existing one? Need some product strategy or mobile app and software development help?

Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?

Reach us at GojiLabs.com or drop us a line.

– Goji Labs