Want your mlearning app to be a success? ☑Tick these points before you start.
Developing a mlearning app in current times
Presently, it has become a common phenomenon for software based enterprises to keep releasing a flurry of in house mlearning app products. They invest all their resources, making an array of designers and developers commit their precious time and efforts in developing the “ultimate” tool for mobile e-learning. But most of these companies end up with a venture that ends as quickly as it began.
Launching a mlearning app just to get a piece of the said industry is one of the worst reasons to start off with. Most of the times it will result in a failed product and end up hurting your business. From my personal experiences with handling mobile e-learning development, I have gathered a few queries that you should take note of before starting off with an MVP.
What is your cause?
It might sound irrelevant, but one needs to have proper cause before commencing with the development of an mlearning product. This is different from developing a product based on client requirements. Here, you are going after a niche audience that needs to be convinced enough to choose your offering. If your cause is lackluster then no one is going to use your product.
In our case, we came up with Barnoparichay while discussing the need to build a mobile app for regional languages such as Bengali and Hindi; it should actually offer something functional, polished and appealing for our target audience i.e. kindergarten kids or first time learners. Yes, there were other applications on offer but none of them seemed like a complete offering as a product.
Which is the best platform to go for?
Thoroughly research your target audience and track market trends before you finalize the launch platform. Although common usage patterns favor smartphones/ tablets heavily, you need to make other decisions.
- Is your app going to be web based or native?
- Is your app too heavy on resources to run on mobile hardware?
- Should you compliment your product along with a proprietary hardware (in cases of rural learning programs and similar initiatives)?
- Which launchpad will be the best way to connect to your user base?
These are just a few of the questions that you should be clarifying before jumping into actual development.
In our case, we wanted to primarily target the Bengali audience, situated across various continents where access to native content is mostly through digital platforms. Among them the obvious ultimatum was smartphones and tablets. After analyzing the content that we wanted to put through, it just reconfirmed our decision to go for mobile apps.
Is your app an actual ‘alternative’?
Most mlearning offerings seem to forget that they are supposed to be a replacement for their pulp based alternatives. Why shouldn’t people buy books and hire a tutor, rather than choose your app? It all depends on the technique you employ with your approach. If your solution is just as slow and monotonous as books then it will fail miserably. I am not calling books bad but the present generation tends to opt for something that is more pleasing to the senses.
Our goal was to make sure Barnoparichay didn’t end up being the same. The application was designed uniquely with the inclusion of interactive tools. To understand the mindset of our young learners we tested the app by letting kids use them and observing their reactions.
Have you verified the USP of your product?
You think you have a great product on your hand but in actuality it might just be the catalyst for a disaster. If you want to the right idea always take the opinion of several other experienced people before launching the product into the market.
After consulting various industry professionals we came up with the fact that there was a lack of Bengali mlearning apps that offer perfectly working interactive tools, or a fun learning experience that challenges a kid’s interest to learn more. Our unique offering was to make a mobile elearning product that was more complete than those existing at that time.
Is your marketing strategy right?
You need to know how to properly market your application to your audience. This needs to be planned much prior to the actual release so that no time is wasted in following up with the promotion of your product, once it launches into the market. Each mlearning product comes with its own appeal and it is what you need to capitalize on to make it a success.
Barnoparichay was featured in multiple magazines (http://yourstory.com/2015/09/barnaparichay/), blogs (http://blogs.eisamay.indiatimes.com/saikatsengupta/entry/the_love_for_bengali) and radio talk shows (http://www.radioone.in/kolkata) to begin with. We also started a social campaign to connect with people on various topics related to language, contributing writers and other aspects that form the core of the referred culture. Rather than directly promoting a product, we were able to create a certain appeal by making people relate to the app on a personal level.
Something to think about…
The mobile e-learning industry is a niche market. You cannot expect your product to receive instant fame, as it takes time to reach your target audience. Products that have received immediate reception are very rare and you should rather aim for a long term approach.
If you have already followed all the mentioned points, chances are that your product is within the reach of success. For those who are still not able to reach any of their goals for their mlearning product, this article will prove to be a good start. Remember one important thing though. These applications are all for the long run and you have to be patient enough to see its effects.