Prodigy is a math game for students in grades 1-8. During the pandemic, the company decided to test out an online tutoring service to help parents ensure their kids didn't fall behind. The audience was interested, but what would differentiate Prodigy from the tutoring market?
Use research and design to leverage Prodigy's strengths as an engaging learning platform to support tutors and differentiate Prodigy tutoring from other offerings in the market.
Product Design Lead
Leading a team of 3 designers and 1 researcher.
Prodigy mantains a database of lessons and curriculums that are matched with each child based on age, aptitude and location.
In the Prodigy game, children compete in Pokemon style battles by answering math questions from the database.
We studied the market (and signed some of our kids up for tutoring) to understand the typical onboarding process for tutoring companies.
For our major competitors, the onboarding processes were similar and the centerpiece of the offering was a personalized learning plan for each child.
To generate the plan, parents had to pay for their child to take a lengthy, stressful, in-person test. This was a pain point we felt we could capitalize on.
Since the game recorded the child's progress relative to their curriculum, it could potentially be used as an online, enjoyable and free assessment. Parents were intrigued!
Automated learning plans seemed to good to be true and we had doubts that the Prodigy game data could be immediately translated into actionable lessons.
Utilizing a bit of system design, I created a feedback loop using the tutors. The game would generate a learning plan for each child and present it to the tutor, who would then assess and modify the plan. Our success metric was the percentage of tutors who felt comfortable sharing the plan with minimal modifications.
I gathered a working group of execs, product folks, engineers, and tutors to ideate what the learning plan UX might look like. As a team we wanted something that would strike a balance between the fantasy plafulness of the Prodigy brand but still be scholastic and informative.
As we continued to refine the game's algorithms we built confidence in a solution that the tutors could share with parents. While parents appreciated the visibility they were more invested in the flexibility of our tutors, so that flexibility became part of the design, with the tutor and parent able to switch topics and leave each other notes.
While part of our team focused on the parent experience, other members focused on bringing the lesson to life through the development of an interactive whiteboard.
Tutors relied heavily on Zoom whiteboards to demonstrate math concepts. This solution took things a step further by integrating exercises from the learning plans and the fantasy aesthetic from the game.
Our most popular and creative tutors would reward their students by drawing, playing games or bringing in elements from the game. We began expanding on this practice by designing mini-games that the tutors could play with their students.