client Studies

Case Study: Peertutor

“No Learner Should Be Left Behind”

As part of the partnership between cloudThing and PeerTutor, we were tasked with building a new application and learning platform that would disrupt and democratise the tutoring sector.

 

Who Are Peer Tutor?

PeerTutor was a platform idea based on the research of Dr Wayne Harrison, whose researched focused on using meta-analyses to introduce evidence based practise in schools. Principle to this was the idea that online peer group-based tuition strategies improved learning and results in exams.

PeerTutor’s platform was later successfully acquired by NCFE, an educational charity and leaders in vocational and technical learning, who added it to their portfolio of edutech companies.  They’ve over 170 years of education experience combined  with expert insights, and work with a network of expert collaborators to shape smarter solutions around the greatest learning needs.

Founded in 1848, they were born from the belief that no learner should be left behind

 

The Brief:

PeerTutor came to cloudThing having already built a proof of concept to launch their business; this comprised a peer-to-peer learning platform, based around live-lessons and virtual whiteboards, built with legacy web and database technologies.

However, they found their scalability was being limited by their technology choices and architecture, whilst the UX of the platform needed improvement to be truly consumer ready.  ​

They came to cloudThing because they were looking for a Technology partner who understood edutech and how to build hyperscale-ready, cloud software platforms.

 

What Would Success Look Like?

PeerTutors wanted to build a new highly-scalable cloud platform for the purposes of seed funding.​

​They had a concept for a new question-answer App to add to their business capabilities that was a hybrid of Snapchat and Uber – with Tutors waiting for learners to send their questions typically in the form of images and responding in the same way.

They also wanted to platform for a modern cloud architecture.

 

The Build:

cloudThing first went through a UX discovery process with the client to conceptualise the final application.   This discovery process allows experienced consultants to work with clients to find the match between art-of-possible and practical-to-implement.

 

A number of important design decisions were made:

  • To create a peertutors currency, which they called Gems; with a redeemable value in a tutor’s native currency
  • To distribute processing to a mobile app to reduce the platform operational costs
  • To use data science to help drive tutor and learner question and answer matching

 

cloudThing designed and built a highly scalable multi-cloud architecture with GCP and Azure; with features such as a SQL Server transactions ledger.  At the same time, we developed a React-Native mobile app for the new question and answer​ portal PeerTutor had requested with an integrated virtual learning platform to replace their live-lesson functionality.​

 

We also integrated AI-based live session moderation services to better automate the platform, increase efficiencies and reduces costs​ as well as integrating Azure Cognitive Search to give the platform a bot capability to auto-answer questions it had already seen before.

 

This platform build showcased cloudThing’s ability to build a Software 2.0 platform where the data is as much the solution as the code.

 

Technologies Used: 

  • Azure Cognitive Search,
  • Azure Cognitive Services,
  • Azure Functions,
  • SQL Azure,
  • GCP,
  • Firebase,
  • React

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