The Digital Method is a platform for educational support for students in secondary education. A platform where the student can find his bookbag, as it were, and can consult books in an interactive way. The student is provided with a method to make studying exciting.
2020 is the year of educational digitalization. Education demands digital support, the corona crisis reinforced this demand very strongly.
Teachers were already receiving support in managing their classes through the emergence of well-known learning management systems. However, the link to curriculum and content itself is not yet present. The digital method wants to provide a solution here as well. A digital link to the handbook where own content can be created. Students can be followed up on the basis of their performance. A direct link to the general curriculum objectives! With as icing on the cake differentiation where individual trajectories can be followed.
The starting point for the UX and design of the application, was "Distraction-free reading". Students should be able to learn/study the books without being distracted by visual clutter. To this end, an interface was conceived where the book is central, with great attention to readability and quietness. Quick and intuitive navigation through the book was also central.
The application was divided into 2 functional pieces. The trajectory builder and the book mode.
An efficient method was sought for authors to create or edit the book directly in the layout of the site. A clever system to build tables of content is at the basis here. The content can be enriched with videos, interactive exercises and can be linked to the curriculum goals for both Catholic and community education.
Book mode provides the digital methods for students and teachers. The functionality of this mode is further tailored to the role of the logged-in user. For example, teachers can create tasks, manage groups, and create custom content for the needs of specific groups. They can also track the scores and progress of their students. Students, in turn, get an overview of their tasks and can get started with the interactive exercises.
The sometimes extensive table of contents was made clear and quickly accessible. On request, this can also be enriched with additional information about students' scores and progress. Parts of a book can also be switched on and off per group in order to personalize the learning material per group of students.
An efficient method was sought for authors to create or edit the book.
Content creation is done in a builder provided for this purpose where a custom extended Froala-Wysiwyg offers numerous possibilities in a user-friendly React frontend. Flexibility to the max!
As a teacher, it is possible to create versions of pathways so that students can see content tailored to them. Students can be divided into groups and specific content or tasks can be added for each group.
Since thousands of students use the platform here, we have several parts of the application that can cause any bottlenecks. To make sure that there are no problems with the responsiveness of the platform here, this should be as lightweight as possible.
- Archiving: We have set up our data model in such a way that it is possible to archive parts of the database where necessary, especially exercises and content of the pages should not remain in perpetuity. In the future, we would like to simply make the 2021-2022 school year unavailable and only show that of 2022-2023.
- Microservices: By working with a decoupled architecture, we can easily put the different parts of the application on different servers. This ensures that we can use multiple servers and thus spread the load of the application over these machines.
- Performance testing: For endpoints with the heaviest load, we used Blackfire to create performance profiles. To do this, we took the call from the frontend as a curl command and used blackfire-cli to profile that curl command. From these profiles, we were able to read where the bottlenecks were and act where necessary.
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