3 Things Coursepad Learned in 2014

Hey guys,

2014 has been a great year for Coursepad!

Here’s just a quick rundown on what we did and achieved last year!

  • We launched the 30 Day Life Upgrade for Robin Sharma, which is currently being used by thousands of users worldwide!
  • We exhibited at StartupAsia, Techventure, and NUS InnovFest 2014
  • We hopped over to Silicon Valley to learn from big boys in tech (Google, Facebook, Evernote), accelerators, VCs and other startups (learnt so much from Nitrous.io)!
  • We organized our very first sales event — Supersize with Coursepad — which was a huge success with more than 35 training organisations represented.
  • We expanded our core team to 10 very awesome people!
  • We improved our internship program, providing hands-on software and business training to our world-class interns (we even had our intern Louis who flew in all the way from France to join us)
  • We are working on 2 huge projects that will really change how two large organisations learn on the go!
  • We did a rethink + overhaul of our design and user experience

That’s really cool and all, but even more important for us is some key learning points we took from 2014. We are sharing this to let you guys know where we’re heading, and also hopefully help some of you who are going through these too!

What we learned in 2014:

1. Single-minded focus is key for Sales & Marketing (+ startup success)

While scoping out our target market in 2014, we decided that we needed to get the following market: HR managers of organizations that wanted to train their team in an easy way, and training consultants that wanted to offer more effective training solutions and higher value for their clients.

Turns out that wasn’t specific enough.

Our messages were still designed too broadly, and its effect was diluted. To cater to an audience covering most organizations, the stories and examples were too unfocused. We contacted all kinds of organizations without focusing just on one segment.

As a result, we didn’t really learn in-depth enough about a particular customer segment, and thus missed out very nuanced details about what they really want, how they work, messages that provoke them etc.

In 2015, we are aiming to create value for just a specific type of user. We really want a core group of users that love us, rather than a huge mass of people that are lukewarm about us.

Sam Altman, founder of YCombinator also emphasizes on this in the video below.

2. We said yes to too much customisation

In 2014, we felt really fortunate to get a few large projects from enterprise customers.

Being large organizations, they also had a strong vision and a long list of requirements. It may be an awesome and challenging adventure, but it also taxed our team heavily, and distracted many of us from actually working on building features and a product that was rapidly scalable.

Although exciting, the opportunity cost of having to delay your main product for just one or two clients pushed our general product launch back a bit and taxed the team. We’re going to be a lot more disciplined with our features + roadmap in 2015.

3. We had a lot to learn on software project management

As we went on with building customized apps and the main Coursepad app, we met with many bugs and feature requests.

Back in early 2014, we had a very compact team handling all our design and development work, and they were absolutely amazing at doing a lot of work with so little manpower. However as the year progressed and as we got more projects, it got harder to manage which features to build and which bugs to squash first. Even as we expanded our team, a lot of the work was done hit-a-mole style, where we did work that seemed the most important at the moment.

Although our team was technically capable, a lot of energy was wasted on managing the project and allocating resources to ad-hoc requests. Towards the end of 2014, we realized that we needed a better methodology and process of working, especially when we’re expanding our team.

In 2015, we are implementing the Scrum Methodology for a more tangible, flexible approach to tackle our design and development needs. We think it’ll work great because it allows the team to visualize and manage the work process and progress.

What do we have in store for 2015?

  • An overhaul for the UI/UX for Coursepad, including the back-end. It’s going to be super simple and easy to use!
  • Robust and accessible applications for iOS, Android and the Web.
  • Amazing value creation for our targeted users — we’ve got something in the works that we hope you can’t say no to!
  • Be the thought leader for mobile and elearning solutions that can spur better performance and success in our client’s teams.

Cheers to an amazing year ahead!

Wishing you well,

Kevin

Kevin Chan and Team Coursepad

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The future of learning: Coffee Chat with edu-explorer Dr. Ashley Tan

Welcome to the first post in our ed-tech Coffee Chat series! This week, we will be featuring Dr. Ashley Tan, a prominent and well loved figure in Singapore’s ed-tech scene.

Education consultant and facilitator of professional development on technology-enabled learning and systemic change.
Dr. Ashley Tan: Education consultant and facilitator of professional development on technology-enabled learning and systemic change.

Dr. Ashley Tan is no stranger to most of us in Singapore’s ed-tech scene as up till the 30th July 2014, he was the Head of the Centre for e-Learning (CeL) in Singapore’s National Institute of Education (NIE) strongly championing enlightened adoption of technology and proper pedagogy in Singapore’s world-class education system. Dr. Tan was also awarded the Overseas Graduate Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D in Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University and a brief chat with him with him will very quickly reveal both the depth of his knowledge as well as his immense passion for empowering educators with the latest ed-tech practices!

Dr. Ashley also did a really cool interview with me on Coursepad early last year! It’s a real blast from the past to check it our now!

Do follow Dr. Ashley Tan on his really cool blog on his “edu-adventures” at ashleytan.wordpress.com – the Coursepad team does and i’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

1. What is your biggest gripe with the state of education technology at the moment?

I should first point out that “educational technology” is a sociotechnical phenomenon. It is about how people leverage on technological tools. The tools might enable people to do things more efficiently or effectively, but it is up to people to adopt, adapt, or augment the tool use.

My biggest gripe is that people tend to use new educational technologies to do old or out-moded activities. For example, what do mobile devices, PowerPoint, overhead projectors, whiteboards, blackboard, and cave drawings have in common? Presentation and content delivery.

Presentation and content delivery are not wrong in themselves. It is the co-opting of newer tools to do the same old thing that is the problem. Newer and more powerful tools should instead be used for learning that is discovery, game, problem, or creation-oriented. These tools should be used to enable change, not maintain the status quo.

2. What one thing has you most excited about the future of learning?

The trends in technology-enabled education all point towards greater individualization of learning.

All of us learn differently, but schooling treats us all the same. Schools were designed to support the industrial age and have processes akin to inputting raw material, transforming said material, and quality control. Relatively few do well in school and those that do learn to game the schooling process, e.g., being book-smart and getting tuition for formulaic test strategies.

The information age is about living in world that is VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. It is about going beyond the industrial processes and producing individuals who are adept, possess initiative, and have the know-how and the know-who if they lack the know-what.

Current and future technologies will enable such individualization of learning. Consider what is already happening. Non-English speakers who play online video games learn English from native speakers they interact with in gaming worlds. Learners who want to know what their favourite K-Pop group is singing, how to perform a particular dance move, or how to prepare a dish are flocking to YouTube where informal instructors teach them the things that school does not have the inclination or bandwidth to do.

YouTube, Wikipedia, and social media tools are all part of the Web 2.0 phenomenon (user-generated content) that is contributing to the individualization. The next phase is Web 3.0, the semantic web. Web 2.0 is pull-oriented; we have to look for information we need and it is not always easy to find. Web 3.0 is push-oriented; intelligent systems know what we need and relevant information is pushed to us.

An alpha preview of how Web 3.0 might work is how Amazon predicts what you want to buy (or buy next). Imagine being a learner and having meaningful choices and challenges offered to you because an intelligent tutoring system monitors your progress. That is the future of learning.

3. What is one thing you would like to tell our audience?

You might start with standardized and compulsory schooling, but you must break out of it and demand your own education. If someone else cannot help you get an education, you can find or make your own. Evolving technologies will only make it easier for you to to do this.

Thanks so much for the interview, Dr. Ashley! We wish you all the best for your future endeavours!

Dear readers, is there a question you’re dying to ask ed-tech professionals and experts? If so, let us know (via a comment or email) for our next ed-tech coffee chat and we’ll get all your questions answered!

Kevin

Kevin & Team Coursepad

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We’re looking for an awesome Mobile Dev. Lead (iOS/Android)

Join us in empowering thousands of lives by writing code-poetry!

Coursepad Team

Coursepad comprises of a group of digital natives who see a better, more engaging way to learn with technology. We pride ourselves on steady personal improvement as well as unveiling new learning concepts that can help make the world a better place.

Job Description: If you’re passionate about making apps and having fun at the same time, you will love working with us. You will spearhead our mobile app development alongside our team of designers and developers.

You will work together with our core developers and designers to create sleek looking apps for multi-national corporations like Standard Chartered Bank, and internationally acclaimed authors like Robin Sharma.

You will be contributing to the evolution of our corporate learning apps that are used by thousands of employees worldwide. You will enjoy a bigger opportunity to grow as you have the freedom to make key decisions and be given significant product ownership.

Requirements:

  • Candidate must have at least a diploma or degree in computer science or equivalent
  • Have at least worked with Objective C and REST APIs using JSON before
  • At least 3 years of experience in object oriented programming
  • Prior experience in iOS/Android (experience in one is good enough – we don’t expect you to be amazing at both!)
  • Fresh graduates are welcome to apply

Benefits:

  • Succeed together in a fast-growing company
  • Work in a cozy office environment (informal wear)
  • Opportunity to learn and develop technical skills
  • Open family culture with young, dynamic people in the company (Everyone is less than 30 years old)
  • Salary will based on experience and merit.

Locations:

  • Kota Damansara, Malaysia
  • High Street Plaza, Singapore

Send us your resume and portfolio at hr@coursepad.com


Kevin

Kevin & Team Coursepad

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Supersize Your Training Business with Coursepad Pulse – 30th April 2014

Know any awesome training organisations, coaches or We’re going to be doing an invite-only session for leaders in training organisers and professional coachers on how they can totally supersize their business with our mobile learning solutions! Drop our Coursepad guru a line at guru@coursepad.com to request an invite (we have limited seats)!

Supersize with Coursepad

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Press Release: Mobile Learning Startup Coursepad Wins Big at Ideas.Inc. Business Challenge

SINGAPORE – Mobile learning startup Coursepad bagged the Most Innovative Startup Award as well as up to SGD 200k worth of investment awards at the Ideas.Inc. Business Challenge. The awards were given out at the Ideas.Inc. StartingUp 2013 conference held at *SCAPE on the 31st of August.

The Ideas.Inc. Business Challenge, organised by Nanyang Technological University, is an annual elimination-style startup competition in Singapore that guides entrepreneurs under 35 from idea to fundraising. The top 10 startups would received SGD$ 50k to prototype their concept for a pitch to partnering angel investors at the end of the process. This year, the partnering angel investors for the Ideas.Inc. business challenge pledged a total of $1,000,000 worth of investment awards for top 10 startups.

Coursepad, which has soft-launched its mobile learning platform at the StartingUp 2013 conference, aims to revolutionise workplace learning by turning boring e-learning courses into fun social games. ”In traditional e-learning, it’s all about just reading materials, completing tests and hoping the learning sticks. Coursepad turns learning objectives into fun challenges that learners can complete with their friends,” says Kevin Chan, Coursepad’s CEO and co-founder.

The Coursepad team is currently planning for pilot runs of their mobile platform with companies in the training, education and financial industry and will be exhibiting at the MobiLearnAsia 2013 conference from the second to third of October 2013.

About Coursepad Pte. Ltd.

Coursepad is a mobile learning platform that allows organisations to rapidly deploy social learning apps that are perfect for delivering bite-sized training material and social assignments to teams. The Coursepad team believes in a future where learners effortlessly create content, share knowledge and participate with learning on the move. Coursepad is headquartered in sunny Singapore. To get in touch, check our website out at coursepad.com or email us at guru@coursepad.com.

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