Evrlearn

Evrlearn

Educational marketplace in Switzerland
Industry
Education
Location
Switzerland
Timeline
Started 2019 – till now
  • Education
  • /
  • Switzerland
  • /
  • 2019
Services

Web development, WordPress development, MVP development, API development

Technologies

Ruby on Rails, React.js, Redis, Sidekiq, RSpec, SCSS, Amazon AWS, REST API/GraphQL, Postgres 11

Evrlearn is a B2C marketplace for people interested in life learning. The platform allows users to find and book relevant online and offline courses from the best universities in Switzerland.

Evrlearn is an educational marketplace from a young EdTech startup that offers users great upskilling opportunities and helps education service providers reach new audiences and save marketing costs.

The platform promotes career development and personal growth by matching skills specified in the user’s portfolio with the most relevant courses or programs offered by the most renowned universities in Switzerland.

Evrlearn also allows users to book a relevant course directly through the platform and manage all their confirmed bookings and enrolled courses via a convenient dashboard.

Business challenges

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Strong marketplace development and Ruby on Rails expertise
When choosing a development partner for their educational marketplace, the customers, to be more specific Rene and Felix gave priority to companies with strong marketplace development expertise and profound knowledge of Ruby on Rails technology.

Syndicode was founded in 2014. Over these years, we have gained vast experience in building different types of software solutions. Marketplace development is one of the priority areas for our company.

As for the technology stack, from the very beginning, Ruby on Rails has been chosen as our main technology. We find this framework the best solution for building robust, secure, and high-performing applications, including multi-vendor marketplaces and e-commerce websites.

Technical challenges

Setting up payment gateway

To make their educational marketplace a profitable and sustainable business, Rene and Felix should have ensured the safety, security, and reliability of payments processed on the platform.

For this reason, they had to choose the payment system wisely.

A payment gateway should be able to handle the payments between the sellers (education providers) and buyers (learners) and allow the platform owners to get a commission from each transaction on the Evrlearn marketplace.

The decision was made to integrate Stripe Connect payment solution to help the customers increase their sales and reduce the fraud risks.

Ensuring the platform’s SEO-friendliness

To attract and convert more users from organic search, Rene and Felix focused on search engine optimization of the Evrlearn website.

When optimizing the website for the customer, we faced the challenge with social sharing. Social media bots that generate sharing snippets could not wait until the web page with dynamic content uploads all the required information. As a result, the shared snippet was blank, meaning there was no image, title, or description.

Since frameworks and libraries aimed at fixing the SEO issue we mentioned above (here we should mention Next.js and Gatsby.js) were not mature at the time when we started working on the Evrlearn project, we have chosen full page caching with the help of service prerender.io

By making Evrlearn website SEO-friendly, we helped customers improve their online presence and provide learners with a better user experience.

Building of a complex search and filtering

The differentiating feature of the platform is a complex system of search and filters aimed at helping learners find the most relevant courses and programs. We set up a great number of different search criteria to allow users to get personalized recommendations.

Since we are working with large volumes of data and the response speed is one of the main criteria not only for end users but for website indexing as well, we use ElasticSearch technology to boost search results.

In due course, we are planning to implement machine learning algorithms in the search system to explore customers’ journey (what blog posts they have been reading, what courses or programs they have been searching for, where they have come from).

This way, we will increase the relevance of learning recommendations.

Concerns

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Fear of poor technical knowledge

When Rene and Felix came across our company, the question arose whether our technical expertise could meet their expectations.

To overcome this challenge, Rene and Felix contacted the customers we work with via Linkedin, Skype, and mobile phones to ask a lot of questions covering all aspects of collaboration with our company. They inquired about our reliability, the quality of our code, the technology stack we use, and the project management methodology we adopt.

Detailed feedback Rene and Felix got from our existing customers proved our trustworthiness and reliability. The communication with our clients encouraged them to take the next step and meet our development team personally.

Language barrier

Since the customers and our development team come from different countries, there was fear that the language barrier may hinder effective project collaboration.

However, when Rene and Felix came to Kyiv to have a personal meeting with our development team, it turned out that it was an idle fear. All members of the project team showed a solid grasp of the English language and there were no barriers to efficient and productive communication.

Project history

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The customer is a young startup from Switzerland engaged in the EdTech industry. The founder Rene Beeler and the co-founder Felix Schmid came up with the idea of creating an online platform to promote lifelong learning. They found the marketplace business model the most suitable one for their project.

Since the customers had a technical background in Ruby on Rails, Rene and Felix started searching for a Ruby on Rails development company to partner with to bring their ideas into reality.

They spotted our website while doing Internet research. Rene and Felix have read a couple of our blog articles to make sure of our expertise in marketplace development.

After that, they contacted our existing customers to get their feedback on our services. This information helped them make the final decision about the partnership with our software development company.

After getting a positive review of our work and the services we deliver, Rene and Felix had a presale session with our company. They were satisfied with its results and decided to come to our Kyiv office for a week to have a discovery session.

At that time, they had an ERD diagram, designs of each web page of the future app, draft documentation covering the key tasks for a software development team, and rough estimates prepared by our specialists at the presale stage. During that week we have been discussing these tasks, specifying some details, and providing the customer with more accurate estimates.

The core idea behind the educational B2C marketplace Evrlearn

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1. Provide learners with upskilling opportunities to help them improve their employability.

2. Offer users extensive portfolio-building capabilities for getting tailored learning capabilities.

3. Allow users to book a relevant training course and manage enrollments simply and
conveniently.

4. Create a vibrant community around the platform to enable users to share their ideas and experience with people from other professions and different levels of expertise, thus, giving them new learning opportunities.

5. Allow academies, renowned trainers, and coaches to list their programs and courses on the platform to connect them with participants interested in upskilling opportunities they offer.

Services provided by the Syndicode team

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Business analysis

Since the customer had zero experience in building marketplace websites, they required assistance from a reliable marketplace development company to create an e-learning management platform the right way.

Our marketplace development expertise allowed us to explore the business idea quickly and provide the most advanced business and technical solutions that suited this type of project the most.

Custom software development

We were excited to help the customer bring their idea of lifelong education into reality by providing them with a stable and fully-functioning solution.

Our highly-skilled developers applied the best development practices such as test-driven development and continuous integration, to name a few to make a stable e-learning marketplace that satisfies all the customer’s requirements.

Back-end development

When building the educational marketplace Everlearn, our back-end developers focused on building a complex search and filtering system. Other tasks for our back-end development team included hosting setting and internal search engine optimization.

Apart from that, we defined the custom rules to regulate the information exchange between the database and user interface and create new ways to streamline data processing.

Project management

Since the transparency of working processes was crucial for our customer, our project manager was sending them sprint reports. Also, this specialist tracked the project progress to make sure that the software development team will meet all deadlines.

How the platform works

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Defining the most vital skills

Filling-in skills portfolio
After registering an account within the system, users can choose either of three available options to define skills important for their personal growth or professional development.

First, learners can fill in the so-called skills portfolio. Here users should specify skills they want to develop and their level. Skills are divided into the following two categories:

Human skills: leadership, ability to learn and change, communication + persuasiveness, etc.
Hard skills: organization + planning, project management, analysis + conception, creativity + innovation, ect. Apart from that, learners mention aimed impact and the topic they are interested in.

Using Evrlearn Map
Learners use the platform’s advanced search to find the most relevant skill, course, program, or academy. Here we should mention a great number of filtering options that simplify this task.

First, users choose areas they are interested in, for example, Finance & Controlling, Marketing, Health and social care, Leadership, and personal development, Communication, etc.

After that, people can define the most suitable type and size of the learning project, whether it is a programm, conference, or workshop, degree, learning style (on-site, online, couching, project work, case studies), and learning provider.
Finally, learners can filter results by price, schedule, distance, and language.

Filling in skill guide
Finally, learners can answer six questions related to their professional life and career. For example, the platform asks them to specify whether they are stressed or underchallenged.

The next questions aim to define learners’ skill level (junior, specialist, or management), current position, years of experience, and type of personality (thinker, motivator, maker, leader, etc.)

After that, learners are offered to choose the specific area they want to advance or specialize (digitalization, transformation, entrepreneurship, innovations, marketing & communications, etc.) and the goal they aspire to achieve (stay on top of things, be inspired for new things).
Finally, the platform asks learners how much time they are ready to devote to their education.

Getting relevant research results

As soon as users specify all the required information, they get a list of curated courses or programs that match their skills and interests.

Users can view additional information about each course as in key benefits, learning targets, target audience, and pricing details to make sure it suits their interests and goals.

Initially, the customer planned to build an educational platform tailored to the local Swiss market. However, they are going to expand the number of course providers by adding such industry leaders as Coursera, or Udacity to this list. If learners want to enroll in the Coursera course via the Evrlearn platform, the marketplace owner will get a commission.

Booking the most relevant course or program

A great benefit of the Evrlearn project is the ability to save users’ time by allowing them to book the most relevant course right via the platform. To achieve this goal, learners click on the Register Now button and fill in their billing details.

It is worth noting that since most of the courses are offered by universities, learners take them offline. Usually, they come to a certain department of a particular university.

Key functionality

Search and filtering system

We used Elasticsearch to build a complex system of search and filters. With this open-source search engine, we can store, search, and analyze big volumes of data and provide users with the most relevant results to their queries.

The number of diverse filters and filtering categories was much bigger if we compare Evrlearn with other marketplaces. It took us some time to set up and manage them to make sure that all of them are working properly.

Booking functionality

Each course available on the Evrlearn marketplace may require from learners a different background, experience or set of certain skills. In some cases, the graduation from a particular university, a certificate or a CV is obligatory for enrolling to the course or program.

Based on the course requirements, the checkout form may need different data from learners. As a result, there can be extra steps learners should take.

Besides, there are courses a learner can not purchase and access immediately. In some cases, they need to send an application to the course providers and get their approval. If everything is done right, the university contacts a learner directly and payment is processed in offline mode.

Skill portfolio

This functionality allows learners to specify working experience they already have and create a list of human and hard skills they would like to develop. Apart from that, users can choose topics they would like to learn and define their targets and ambitions.

The platform gathers a lot of data from users to provide them with the most tailored recommendations.

Rating and review system

Unauthorized users can publish their feedback about the course they have completed, provided they have a unique link.

For registered users the workflow is standard. As soon as they complete a course, they get a notification with a request to leave their feedback about it. To rate the course, learners need to fill in a long-form and specify all the information about their capabilities and impact.

This comprehensive approach allows to improve the quality of the educational services and provide learners with an enhanced user experience.

Chat

Currently, our team is working on implementing chatting functionality with the help of third-party solutions. Ther ultimate goal is to make this feature more user-friendly and convenient for both parties. Besides, integrating a third-party chatting solution, we will reduce custom software development time and help the client cut expenses associated with it.

Our hard work and dedication to the customers’ success were highly appreciated. We were excited to get a positive review from Rene and Felix on the Clutch platform. Feedbacks like that make our work truly valuable.

Result
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The story behind the Evrlearn shows the importance of a comprehensive discovery session and the right technology stack for the future success of the project.

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    USA 490 Post Street STE 526 San Francisco, CA 94102
    Portugal Praceta Prof. Dr. José Sebastião e Silva 9, 2790-045 Carnaxide, Lisbon
    Ukraine Sofiivs'ka St, 1/2а, Kyiv, 01001
    Email info@syndicode.com