Evrlearn – educational marketplace

Evrlearn marketplace

Educational marketplace in Switzerland

Project summary

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 of 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.

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  • Categories:
    Marketplace, UX design, Website
  • Categories

    Marketplace

  • Technologies

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

  • Services

    Web development, WordPress development, MVP development, API development

  • Location

    Zurich, Switzerland

  • Team

    1 Engineering Lead

    2 Backend Developers

    3 Frontend Developers

  • Timeline

    2019-ongoing

Business challenges

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 the years, we have gained vast experience building different software solutions.

Marketplace development is one of the priority areas for our company. We also have been actively contributing to our stock of LMS development solutions.

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 had to ensure 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 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 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 searches, Rene and Felix focused on search engine optimization of the Evrlearn website. 

When optimizing the website for the customer, we faced the challenge of 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 chose full-page caching with the help of service prerender.io.

By making the 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 system 

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 plan 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

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.

The 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 it was an idle fear. All project team members showed a solid grasp of the English language, and there were no barriers to efficient and productive communication.

Project history

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 to create 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 read a couple of our blog articles ensure 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 discussed these tasks, specifying some details, and providing the customer with more accurate estimates.

Services provided by Syndicode team

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 best suited this type of project.

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.

API development. We built clean, secure, and well-documented APIs to ensure seamless integration of the e-learning management system with any other internal or external system. For example, payment gateway API allowed us to integrate Stripe Connect, which was defined by the customer as the primary payment solution.

Back-end development. When building the educational marketplace Evrlearn, our back-end developers focused on building a complex search and filtering system. Other tasks for our back-end development team included hosting settings 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 the software development team would meet all deadlines.

The core idea behind educational B2C marketplace Evrlearn

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 in 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.

  • Filling in skills portfolio

    After registering an account within the system, users can choose one 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.

    Filling in skills portfolio
  • 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 a program, conference, or workshop, degree, learning style (on-site, online, coaching, project work, case studies), or learning provider.

    Finally, learners can filter results by price, schedule, distance, and language.

    Using Evrlearn Map
  • 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 under-challenged.

    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 in (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.

    Filling in skill guide
  • 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, such as 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.

    Getting relevant research results
  • 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 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.

    Booking the most relevant course or program
  • 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 ensure all of them were working properly.

    Search and filtering system
  • Booking functionality

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

    Booking functionality
  • 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.

    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.

    Skill portfolio
  • 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 for improving the quality of the educational services and provides learners with an enhanced user experience.

     Rating and review system
  • Chat

    Currently, our team is working on implementing chatting functionality with the help of third-party solutions. The 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.

    Chat

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

Final thoughts

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.

We were happy to have Rene and Felix as our customers. Their high level of engagement, attention to detail, honesty, and transparency on both sides facilitated productive communication and the successful delivery of the learning marketplace.

Got a project? Let's discuss it!

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    Email info@syndicode.com