What it is:

We assumed students are fairly motivated to begin their learning journey, so we chose to focus on retention. Betucation is a platform where students are incentivized to continuing learning by betting on themselves.

How it works:

At the beginning of a course, students pay a certain amount to begin their coursework — for example, a course on Java. After each successfully completed lesson, the student earns back a small portion of the price of the course. By design, we think that students would get back 80% of the money they “bought the course” for.

Each month, the student is sent an email reminding them how much they’ve spent on the course, how much they’ve earned back, and how many months are remaining during which they may earn back money. (We think that notifications can be “nagging” and wanted to keep these to a minimum — also, “Good design is as little as possible” 😉 .)

We also wanted to create a platform, not just a standalone product: thus, anyone can create a course on Betucation.

The “cashback” system works best with courses that have some testing involved. This works especially well for language and coding, where testing is an inherent part of the learning process.


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Target users and user journey:

Betucation’s style is targeted to a younger audience comfortable with technology and their own mediocrity. This is reflected in the website, which is minimalist (Dieter Rams) with a snarky vibe. We found that too many websites were idealistic, especially when compared to the experience’s everyone shared in class. Most people fail, and we accept that.

Looking at the website through BJ Fogg’s framework, our goal is to keep motivation as high as possible through the learning process. After starting a project, there is often a drop-off in motivation (New Year’s Resolutions fail quickly). We take some of that motivation and transform it into a long-term cash investment. The pull of keeping one’s money should propel the user through low-motivation stages and help them build habits. We made the percent of money the user earned back high to maximize motivation. We think that after the user has completed one lesson, he or she will come back to keep learning through the platform: if he or she maintains effort, it is no more expensive than another platform.

If we had more time, we would have worked more on making the user feel guilty (that is, penalizing them when they don’t work hard). We could have made jokes about what Betucation would buy with their money to highlight their lost consumption.