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An e-learning platform

LARION developed a web-based platform to deliver personalized, adaptive learning applications that are able to raise math scores for 90% of users.

E-learning

Executive Summary

Customer Q is a provider of smart learning solutions for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses in the United States. It helps students master critical STEM skills, preparing them for colleges and future careers. Our customer specializes in personalized, adaptive applications under a step-by-step approach. However, the company had difficulties in delivering its innovative solutions to schools and students. LARION has been working with our customer to build a web-based platform in order to deliver those applications and enhance the data management capability.

About Customer Q

Customer Q is a US-based start-up with a vision of helping 24 million American students master STEM subjects, enabling them to achieve their career goals. The founding team at customer Q has experience in building and leading successful start-up companies. Its management and board of directors have more than 100 years of combined experience in delivering award-winning math and science education products to students, as well as successful delivery of complex software solutions.

Challenges

STEM subjects are essential to students' ability to succeed in technology-related courses and careers. However, many students find them rather challenging, especially math. It is estimated that 70% of incoming community college students are unqualified for college-level work and have to take developmental courses. Student must pass these courses before they can take other college-level courses. However, there are several major drawbacks of developmental courses as follows.
  • They not only take time but could be rather expensive. Students must pay tuition fees, and course material costs range from US$266 to over US$350 for a single, 3-hour developmental math course.
  • These courses are non-credit and are not included in students’ required credits for graduation. As a result, students may need to take out additional school loans to pay for them.
  • Most importantly, studies have shown that placing students into math developmental courses increase their risk of dropping out.
Customer Q's StepWise Virtual Tutor, an A.I.-based learning system that utilizes step-by-step tutoring and assessment, represents an effective alternative to such developmental courses.

However, it needed to provide easy and convenient access to the programs for thousands of schools along with hundreds of thousands of students.

Moreover, the company previously utilized Excel with macros to handle the task of data management. This method came with many inherent limitations and could not facilitate further feature expansion and enhancement. Hence, a centrally managed database was also desirable.

The Solution

LARION has developed a web-based platform to deliver Customer Q's programs to schools and students, and to manage all data about schools, students, and results.

The system includes 3 components: the testing and practicing pages for students, the Administration Dashboard for Schools, and the Administration Dashboard for Customer Q.

Students whose schools are clients of Customer Q have access to those programs online and enjoy the full benefit of personalized, adaptive StepWise technology.

  • They can practice doing placement tests using an easy-to-use and adaptive web-based application, in which they receive immediate feedback after every step.
  • The next question is not fixed but depends on the how they do the previous one.
  • The students' results, including scores and recommendations, are calculated using highly advanced algorithms to reflect not just how many correct answers they got but also how they performed and progressed. All these results are accessible to students' schools.
Schools have access to and can monitor the results and progresses of their students. They can also administer the practice tests for their students.

Customer Q’s staff can control which schools are included in the systems as well as manage the test data of all students.

Our web-based platform does not include Flash and requires no other plugins. Especially, it integrates easily with other electronic learning platforms such as Agilix, Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle. And hence it is not a standalone solution only but can be an integral part of a whole eLearning system for education institutions.

Core technologies used for this project: Ruby on Rails, Angular.Js, Backbone.Js

Results

Customer Q’s math preparation programs have helped students achieve higher scores and hence reduce the time and money needed for developmental courses, or even jump directly to college ready level without the need for developmental courses.
  • 62% of students raised their scores above a cut line, allowing them to skip at least one developmental course.
  • 42% of students moved from developmental math to college ready, altogether eliminating the need for remedial coursework.
  • Over 90% of students improved their scores, averaging a 10 point increase.
  • More than 50% of these students raised their scores above a cut line, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for remedial coursework.
  • Moreover, nearly 25% of the students who used this platform attained College Ready scores, versus 16% of those who did not.
As a start-up, Customer Q has received several awards and recognition, such as “The most Promising IT & Web Company” by Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, “Platinum Rating” in Social Impact by GIIRS Ratings, “The most promising Start-up” by the Book Expo America 2015, “Top 50 Austin's start-up to watch in 2015.”

Quotes

“LARION has done a great job with our project and continue to give us excellent customer service.”
Director of Program Management