School’d is a series about the data we collect at Slader and what we’re learning from it.
Some of this data is pure novelty - fun stuff that we’ve become experts in from spending hours with our site and observing our users’ behavior.
Other learnings seem more significant - not just in terms of how we run our site, but in regards to how students today are learning, and how they’re using the Internet to support their learning.
Hundreds of thousands of students visit Slader.com each week to help them with their homework. They are here by choice, not at the urging of their parents, their schools, or their teachers, and they’re taking a proactive approach to their own learning.
What can we learn from them?
We recently started looking more closely at content holes in some of our more popular textbook offerings. As a result, we arrived at some simple charts that show content completion in a textbook against user consumption of the book’s content. The results of this exploration for a popular Geometry textbook are shown below.
The yellow lines moving across the chart over time are views of content on each page of the textbook. The blue lines show a snapshot of the completion percentage of each page on April 13, when this chart was generated. The completion of each page also changed over the course of the year, but for the purposes of this chart we’re showing a single date’s data. As users see holes, they fill them, and we’ll be able to use more of this intelligence to help guide contributions to the appropriate pages in this book.
This chart demonstrates two things we’re already well aware of at Slader, but it’s just so fun to see them in such a clear visual representation:
A. students across the country move through course material at a consistent pace. Near the start of the school year, on September 22, the viewing behavior clusters around page 100 with almost no viewing activity above page 200. By April 13th, the average curriculum using this textbook was around page 700. Among other advantages, this sort of insight into curriculum predictability allows us to know what users will need at a specific point in time and how we might be able to better offer related resources. It’s also entertaining to see how much our traffic drops off around the holidays!
B. we grew a LOT this year and this chart makes that pretty clear. The tight cluster on September 22 peaks around 2000 views on a single page. A wider peak in mid-April tops off around 5000 views per page. It’s exciting to see this growth on the scale of a single textbook in the course of a single year.
While this school year isn’t over yet, we’re looking forward to next school year - more growth and more opportunities to put this intelligence to use to benefit our users
Peter Bernheim is CTO of Slader.com. Questions? Comments? Something to add? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org