We unlocked the challenges and motivations around education that drive the Next Billion Users

CHALLENGE:

Help decipher the unmet needs, motivations, and learning behaviors, of parents and children belonging to low-income communities in the Hindi belt — all within 6 weeks

OUTCOME:

A holistic view of the learning ecosystem and its varied stakeholders, typical social and cultural dynamics present in the context, product specific opportunities, guiding design principles, and success criteria for augmenting the reading experience of children by leveraging mobile technologies.

IMPACT:

Successful launch of a digital reading tutor that fits the defined success criteria, sufficiently fulfills poorly met needs and tangibly improves the reading abilities of children.

For the past thirteen years, ASER findings have consistently pointed to the fact that many children in elementary school need urgent support for acquiring foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic. The 2016 edition of ASER suggests that the reading abilities of rural children in Class 5 reading a Class 2 book sits at about 30% of all children in Uttar Pradesh, 40% in Madhya Pradesh and 50% in Rajasthan. However, learning behaviors have acutely evolved since 2016 with the introduction of ultra-low cost, unlimited voice and data packs in tandem with affordable internet-connected smartphones.

 

A global technology corporation approached Turian Labs to observe and understand this new learning behavior, and the motivations and challenges that now exist in rural and peri-urban low-income communities in central and northern India.

Turian Labs responded to the ask by forming an interdisciplinary research team consisting of child psychologists, art therapists, design researchers and educational consultants that conducted immersive ethnographic research in the hinterlands of the country to form a foundational understanding of lifestyles, behaviors, and attitudes towards learning.

"If he studied in an English medium school right from the start, his future would have been better. In today’s world, we speak more in English and less in Hindi.” 
– Parent in Rural Madhya Pradesh

This interdisciplinary team used projective techniques building upon Turian Labs’ previous experience in the space, by engaging the line of inquiry with interactive tools, cultural probes and novel ethnographic methods to understand, discuss and observe individual behaviors in parents and children to unravel variances in behavior and practices between and across multiple contexts.

 

The team returned from the field to design deeply engaging stimuli to translate the empathy they discovered in the field to actionables for the client team. These stimuli consisted of immersive simulations of the typical day-in-the-life of the families belong to low-income communities that the team interacted with. The immersive stimuli were accompanied by a full stack insights report that articulated the learning behaviors, map of challenges and motivations of every stakeholder in the ecosystem, their social and cultural aspirations, along with opportunity areas best aligned to client interests and the criteria to succeed in the space.

 

The synthesis framework set up by Turian Labs before the team even entered the field, helped exponentially reduce the time spent sensemaking and analysis, facilitating a near-immediate response to the client ask and making way for an agile approach to the product development cycle at the client’s end.