Linkedin for School Children
An MVP of a demo proposal (WIP)
It’s quite a novel idea to come up with a social network for children which allows students from different age groups or similar interests to interact with each other not bound by their current institutions.
The 3 parts to the MVP for such a product are:
- A guesstimate of how big is the opportunity and market
- An acquisition strategy
- Initial launch product features
However, to better understand what the product represents, it would make sense to first enlist what problems would such a product solve and what features would it provide for them. This will also serve to define our value proposition to potential users.
Product Features at Launch
To understand what these might be for a LinkedIn like product, let’s first see some features of LinkedIn itself:
- A platform for professionals to put up their profile, discover/follow/connect with other people and organizations, apply for jobs on company postings.
- And for organizations to discover people who might be a good fit for them
- Both individuals and organizations can broadcast ideas
Translating some of these into an academic perspective can help us decide some core features. Problems solved would mostly be the betterment of the individuals — students and teachers — with educational institutions playing a role in providing a structure and bringing them together. It can also provide a platform for parents to get more involved with their children’s studies (Phase 2).
While e-learning platforms can cater to the whole age-group of K-12 children, with the assistance of their parents, our app which focuses on social networking and media, and is an auxillary aspect of learning, it should be reserved for the higher age group to limit their online activity time. Hence, we suggest that the app should be targeted towards students aged 11–18, secondary to high-school to junior college age.
Not a progress tracker for children, nor an online course provider, but a connecting and collaborating tool.
Some of the features can include:
- Student profile: Students, with the help of their parents if required , will be able to create a profile, with their current grade and institute, interests and any activities they might have taken part in
- Teacher profile: Teachers will also be able to build a profile around their area of expertise and institutions.
- Institute page: Educational institutions can have a page with their information, and an events page to broadcast any major activities carried out recently. (This can later also have registrations for events on the events page itself, with students registering, just as LinkedIn allows applying for jobs, however we’ll leave it out of the 1st MVP)
- A Member Forum: Students will be able to connect other students, message teachers and follow schools. This will help them get help in difficult subjects from a variety of people, and benefit other students for future reference as well. Example: Online learning communities like Edmodo, Khan Academy, Byju etc have all shown the group forums much better at answering student questions quickly and foster collaborative learning. https://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-development/discussion-forums-in-online-learning https://elearningindustry.com/7-tips-use-forums-in-elearning
- Direct messaging: Once connected, individuals will be able to direct message each other for in depth conversations.
- A Wall Feed: It would also serve to list any updates, new projects, scientific news, or resources posted by teachers and schools.
We analyze the student market as it is markedly more significant than the teachers and schools count.
- Total population = P
- Percent in 11–18 demographic = d
- Percent of above that goes to school = e
- Percent of above with access to a computer or smartphone = i
P * (d/100) * (e/100) * (i/100)
N = ~43,680,000
It seems the market is about 2–3% of the population, and the product falls into a highly specific category. This is something that would influence our acquisition strategy.
Given the previous, it would make sense to launch it first in a small region limited to a district with a few schools, will also serve as a viability test.
Via families/parents: Our value proposition to them here would be
- Their children can connect with schools and teachers online for better access to learning resources
- Collaborative learning with other students their age
- Showcasing their child’s talent
Target online ads on YouTube are quite effective for reaching out to new users. Other than that media like TV and newspaper ads. We can have perks for early adopters, but currently we are uncertain as to what they could be. Byju’s did face troubles into making parents believe in benefits on online learning early on: https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/the-story-of-byjus-from-a-small-village-in-kerala-to-creating-a-global-edutech-startup-from-india-3688455.html
Via school institutions: This can prove much more effective as schools can drive their own students and teachers to join the platform. However, the value proposition communicated to schools will, other than the individualistic goals above, show them how they benefit:
- Teachers will find it easier to attend to children instead of the face to face interaction limited to school.
- The school can post updates about classes and examinations on their page to reach the students.
- It will also be able to publicize events across other students and institutions.
This is a first of my case attempts during a dive in to explore Product Management concepts with the help of friends over at https://pmschool.io. I hope I can make them more developed studies over time for other folks.