Everyone loves a Eureka moment. That one instant when you have the perfect solution to your problem, and one that fits like a puzzle piece. It’s amazing.
Our client had a unique problem. They were setting up an e-learning business for secondary school kids. And they needed an innovative solution for making payments. And when they came to us for help setting up their system we were excited to tackle the challenge.
This is the story of our eureka moment and how it made it possible to build an e-learning system where you make payments, but without actually using money.
The client and his partner got in touch with us for building a complete system for their business. This business was selling e-learning courses geared toward children in secondary school.
Since their business was selling e-learning courses to students, the target audience was children in secondary school. This posed a problem. As kids, most of their target audience didn’t have the autonomy to make purchases. There was also the possibility that they might not be accustomed to performing online transactions.
But on the other hand, the client didn’t want to restrict course purchases to just parents. He wanted students to have the purchasing power to sign up for any course they desired. Without the need for intervention from an adult. So we needed to find a way to make a system where students can purchase courses without having them perform any actual online transaction. This unique purchase flow was the highlight of this project.
Making payments without actually making payments. It was a tricky little pickle indeed. So, after a number of discussions and intense brainstorming sessions with the client, we finally had our Eureka moment. We used stars. To be more clear, a point-based purchasing system that uses stars.
We allow the parents to purchase a number of points(or stars) on the website. These points automatically get added to their children’s accounts. Children use these points to purchase any course. Once we had this part of our problem ironed out, we got to working and setting up the entire system.
The first thing we had to figure out – a way for students to make payments without a credit card. That is when we decided on setting up an e-wallet that you can add points to.
The initial idea was to attach the wallet to the child’s account. And a parent can then top it up. But what we didn’t like was that then it’s isolated to only that child’s account. The parent has no way to access the wallet unless logged into the child’s account. Also, if a parent has more than one child, we wanted a way for both children to share the points between them.
And hence the idea of a shared e-wallet, between the parents and their children, was born.
POINTS-BASED COURSE PURCHASE AND SHARED WALLETS
At the parent’s end, a user can make payments to add points, see where your kid(s) have redeemed those points and your total remaining balance. At the child’s end, a user can see the available balance in his parent’s account. And if there are enough points he can purchase the course by just clicking on the ‘place order’ button. Points will be automatically deducted from the parent’s account.
The wallet is completely shared between the parent and any number of children. Making for simple purchase flow, while remaining hassle-free and easy to use. Providing an elegant solution to this unique problem.
While the kids have the power of purchasing their own courses with the shared e-wallet. We also wanted the parents to be able to enroll one or more kids into the course of their choosing. And also track how the kids are progressing through the courses. This was made possible by using groups.
With a separate ‘group management’ page, a parent can create and manage groups. Groups can have one or more than one kid as a part of it. The parent can purchase a course for his child. He can select a group at checkout using a dropdown. All members of this group will be assigned the course.
In case a child has already purchased that course, the parent will not be able to assign it to him. In the same way, when a kid purchases a course, it is assigned to the group the child is in. Which lets the parent track the course progress of the child. Ensuring that while children have autonomy over enrolling in courses, the parents can also have some power and are able to track what their kids are doing.
Another issue we observed was that the process of purchasing a course was really long. Since we were using WooCommerce, to purchase a course a person would have to – click on the course, be diverted to the product, then add that to cart, then go the checkout page and then make the payment to finally buy the course.
On the instructor/ admin end, the same issue was happening with linking courses to products. It was a long-winded process that we thought could be simplified. So we got to work on creating a simpler process and making a better user experience.
With our efforts,
On the frontend, a user can click on the ‘buy’ button on a course and directly be diverted to the checkout page. Eliminating multiple steps in between. On the backend once a course is created by an instructor, a WooCommerce product will automatically be created and the users will then be able to purchase the product from the shop page.
We also implemented other required features like allowing other instructors to sign up and create their own courses. And put the finishing touches to our project.
After testing extensively on our end, everything was packaged up nicely along with the documentation and delivered to the client for deployment on their site. And with that, we came to the end of our journey on this unique project.
The project involved building a LearnDash website, with BuddyPress integration, to support group registration, forum management and course progress tracking.