in Case Study, Education, Portfolio

In-Context Training for Educators

Career Cruising is a leading developer of college and career readiness resources used by over 5 million students. As the lead Product Designer for the Educator’s side of the Tool, I was tasked with solving a complex piece which involved efficiently onboarding the setup tasks for Educators in preparation for student course selection time.


“I’m already a busy Administrator with barely enough time to eat lunch, and now they want me to do this too? I didn’t realize it would take this long.”

The Problems

  • The existing system involved over 40 hours of onboarding and tasks, including watching 4 long webinars and doing their ‘homework’ before it was ready to be launched to students. The process involved a dozen steps, each with many, many, sub-steps
  • Career Cruising’s frontline staff ironically spent more time nagging educators to complete their ‘homework’ and hand-holding them through the process than advising.
  • Educators tended to procrastinate, as they underestimated the amount of effort required to be onboarded.

Starting Simply

We started with an audit of the total steps required, and questioned all of them.

  • Which ones were required, and which could be completed later?
  • Which ones could be automated?
  • Which ones could be completed within Career Cruising, and which ones were external?
  • Why do the Educators have to do all of them? Are there any that we can take on?

Many of the tasks involved validating the data entry of courses and ensuring the required exceptions were put in place for so students only select the correct courses.

We also questioned the webinars. Were these necessary? Did they really help educators understand the system better? Webinars could become outdated quickly as the software evolved, and therefore would be expensive to maintain.

So we ditched the webinars, and were able to reduce the number of steps to 7 easy steps.

The Proposed Solution

Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that the existing webinars and steps was too far removed from the product. The ideal solution would therefore be to embed the onboarding into Career Cruising’s Educator Tools. This would solve the problems two ways:

  1. Educators could not launch the Course Selection process until the setup was complete
  2. We could illustrate up-front the amount of effort required as they go.

Measurements of Success and Challenges

At the time of writing, this solution is not yet live. It was challenging to get user research for this updated onboarding process as it required the attention of highly specialized individuals within the education system. In lieu, I worked closely with the front-line staff to validate the proposed solution.

Success measurements would include:

  • Reduction in urgent last minute support calls
  • Higher completion rate of onboarding
  • Reduction in the amount of time it takes to get up and running

Skills involved to solve this problem

  • Collaboration with multiple stakeholders
  • Systems and holistic thinking (Thinking beyond the screen)
  • Empathy for both internal front-line staff and educators

Important Note:

I’d love to show you the prototype however due to NDA constraints and with respect to my previous employer, I cannot publish the designed interface for this product. Please contact me for an interview.

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