Case Study

Growing an EdTech Startup

BetterLesson was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to connect educators and help them create, organize, and share their curricula.

BetterLesson focused on aggregating and scaling the most innovative content and practices from high-performing teachers across the country.

Story+Structure worked closely with BetterLesson’s Founder Alex Grodd and his team with a focus on user experience and strategic product engagement of the platform. We’ve seen BetterLesson grow from a start-up to a major player with national clients and Gates Foundation funding. 

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Challenges

  • Make BetterLesson an indispensable tool to drive the creation and sharing of outstanding curricula.

  • Create an engaging experience for a target audience that can be isolated, slightly disorganized, and pressed for time (teachers).

  • Create an adaptable user experience for custom implementation in school districts.

Solution

  • Conducted customer experience analysis to understand existing approaches, perceptions, risk and readiness.

  • Designed an intuitive and adaptable information architecture, user interface, and user experience.

  • Designed solutions to support broader company needs for funding, marketing, and business development.


Project Details


Challenge: Understanding Teachers

One of the most challenging tasks teachers face is developing new curricula—units, lessons, and individual files. This is particularly true in an era of school reform aimed at improving educational outcomes. Our collective goal was to make BetterLesson an indispensable tool that would drive the creation and sharing of outstanding curricula. 

Story+Structure worked with BetterLesson to analyze the teachers who use the service to better understand their wants, needs, and behavior. We found that many teachers are isolated, slightly disorganized, and crunched for time.


Solution: Becoming "teacher-centric"

  1. Intuitive experience - S+S designed a human-centered information architecture and user experience that enables teachers to discover content quickly and effectively in multiple and varying formats, and to connect with other teachers for support and guidance.

  2. Encouragement in design - Teacher engagement—with the resources available on BetterLesson and with other teachers—occurs through a tightly connected email and web communication strategy. We created an on boarding experience that encouraged teachers to create innovative curriculum and to share their best work with their peers.

  3. Designed for scaling - As BetterLesson grew, they became the platform of choice for school reform networks such as New Schools Ventures. S+S created an experience that could scale to accommodate BetterLesson’s growth and the needs of their network clients.

  4. From Start-Up to Powerhouse - S+S supported BetterLesson in their efforts to seek funding and gain new clients for their platform. We created marketing materials, in-bound landing sites, email marketing templates, print collateral, infographics, and presentation templates.


Client Feedback

Story+Structure took the time to understand our users—their stories, their personalities, their pain—and this made all the difference. They were passionate about helping us solve the right problems. We brought them a small prototype in 2009, and they worked tirelessly to help us transform it into a robust web application that now serves over 300,000 teachers each month.
— Alex Grodd, Founder, BetterLesson