For the first time in the history of humanity, people have unlimited access to education. Thanks to mobile development and wireless Internet connections, we can even learn on the go—in the subway, in a coffee house, in the park during lunch break. That is why developing a mobile environment that allows studying anytime, anywhere is critical for the EdTech industry.
Here’s where the new solution Google offers, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), comes in handy. You see, mobile websites usually require a constant Internet connection and often lack speed and ease of use. Native apps, on the other hand, provide better user experience but require downloads and are not always compatible with all platforms. PWAs combine the benefits of mobile websites and native mobile apps to tackle the existing troubles with EdTech.
What Makes Progressive Web Apps So Helpful?
PWAs aim to provide the state-of-the-art user experience. Functioning like a native app, a progressive web application doesn’t require downloads and can run directly in a web browser. Imagine a mobile app launched through the web—that’s exactly how PWAs work.
Progressive enhancement in a PWA’s core extends its bandwidth, providing access to the web page content and functionality regardless of the browser or device type. And since it’s adaptable to every operating system, you can save on developing and maintaining separate apps and additional in-house developers.
Compared to other application types, progressive web apps are faster, more reliable, and engaging. You don’t need an app store to add a PWA to your home screen—just your browser. And when you start it, a PWA launches instantly, regardless of the Internet connection, thanks to scriptable service workers, which also keep PWAs fresh by continuously loading updates and make them handy, ensuring stable app performance in low-quality connectivity areas and offline.
PWAs offer an immersive full-screen user experience and send web push notifications to engage users. Unlike native apps, progressive web applications are linkable and shareable via URLs. They are fast, light, and mobile-oriented, which also makes them Google-search-friendly.
You’ve most likely already had the pleasure of interacting with PWAs, because world-renowned companies and brands are using them increasingly lately. Twitter Mobile, Washington Post, Medium, and many other sites successfully cater to their consumers through PWAs. eXtra Electronics, for example, managed to increase engagement by 4X with PWA push notifications, and AliExpress improved conversions for new users across all browsers by 104% and on iOS by 82%, delivering enhanced user experience through PWAs.
Inspired by these success stories, ElifTech’s development engineers decided to create a PWA of their own. They chose the education technology industry and launched a progressive web app to help ElifTech with an internal educational project.
Using PWA: Our Practical Experience
ElifTech has been working on a dedicated educational project for people striving to improve their technological skills and become top-level software engineers for some time now. Though the program was successful, we thought the process of evaluating the candidates was inefficient, stressful, and cumbersome to us and our possible students. So, we decided to create a next-generation PWA for education that offered a simpler, more efficient way to tackle the assessment.
When it comes to the technology stack, we focused on the following:
- The application must follow the PWA features.
- The application must pass the Lighthouse checklists.
- The application should use the following technologies/libraries/framеworks: React + Redux + ServiceWorker, Node.js + Express, PostgreSQL (preferably), and MongoDB.
The PWA we developed included the following evaluation levels for students:
- General questions about the user
- Technical test
- English test
- General technical test
- Application programming interface (API) checker
- CV generator
ElifTech’s EdTech Progressive Web App Solution Step by Step
When students launch the app, they can log in using their existing social media accounts. This saved users from typing their profile details and gave us access to the relevant information about our future students.
Next is the technical knowledge test. Students can see test descriptions on the test screen and begin their examinations by clicking the Start button. Powered by service workers, our app saves test information, answers, and results to the cache. It is extremely helpful when the Internet connection is poor and enables users to continue or finish the test and submit the results with no hassle when the connection improves.
The system automatically checks all the tests and notifies users of the results. If the student fails, he or she gets another chance to take the test in a week. But if everything goes right and the student passes the test, he or she receives an invitation by email with the description of the next evaluation step—the English test. Its assessment algorithm is the same.
The final stage—and probably the most important one—is the automated technical skill test. The test starts on a page with the task description and an input field. This is where the candidate must paste the link to the code repository with the answer. To evaluate the task, we use an API checker, which examines each request of the program the applicants wrote. You can only pass the test when all methods from the program are validated by the API checker. Every analyzed method goes through an error handler. If there is an error, the candidate can download a text file with the error description and a list of the weak points in the code.
After all evaluation stages, our PWA system automatically creates CVs for potential students, sending information to our HR department for further processing.
We used a simple but smart solution based on the PWA and the EdTech standards to improve our education process. And it worked! This progressive web app for education helped us solve ElifTech’s major issue quickly and efficiently. As a result, we managed to set up a dynamic app that reduces the time and manual effort for evaluating students and creates an outstanding user experience at the same time. If you have any questions regarding our experience or the developed app, feel free to contact us any time!