If you picked out a handful of media reports about the current state of the U.S. education system, you might think it’s all bad news. Funding is down, teachers are overworked and overwhelmed with too many students, and thriving, successful students have become the minority, not the majority.
But, in fact, the U.S. education system is not all bad news by far. Teachers are working harder than ever to help their students be successful. Schools and school districts are trying to spend smartly, especially to invest in new technology and tools to make required processes more efficient and more precise.
As educators adapt to using new technology, the technology needs to change in tandem. All types of schools and school districts are looking for solutions that are easy-to-implement, easy-to-use, cost-effective, and most importantly, impactful.
And, this is where Schoology comes in. Schoology is an online learning, classroom management and social networking platform, which provides educators and students with more effective, efficient, and engaging ways to learn. Educators use Schoology to post curriculum information, lesson plans, tests or quizzes, activity sheets, and more. Students and parents, in turn, are able to access all of this information at any time, and can even communicate with fellow students or teachers using its built-in collaboration tools. What was once a one-way, flat information delivery process from educators to students, is now an interactive, engaging, and highly successful method for teachers to share and learn with students and parents at the same time.
Over the three years since Schoology launched their platform, they have garnered more and more clout when compared to competitors such as Blackboard, Moodle, and Edmodo. Today, Schoology is looking to grow by signing up more public schools and school districts as users. Before building their marketing plan to do this, Schoology wanted to talk to their target customers — public school K-12 educators — to learn about their pain points and understand how they are currently using technology in their classrooms. But, how could they reach this group of educators? That’s where SurveyMonkey Audience was a great fit.
With an innovative and constantly evolving product, Schoology recognizes the importance of having a strong pulse on their users and core influencers. For Schoology, as they look to build their presence across public K-12 schools and school districts, it’s important to understand the problems they can help solve for educators and how to use this information as they market their product. See below for key insights from Schoology’s research efforts to refine their outreach strategy.
When K-12 Educators were asked about classroom limitations, the majority of educators indicated that having diverse student needs and wide range of student abilities was the most challenging factor, followed by class sizes that are too big, and a lack of resources.
While teachers struggle with managing different student needs in the classroom, they also have strong opinions about how to best teach their diverse student base and encourage success for their students. More than 50% of respondents believe that differentiated instruction, which involves customizing instruction for various types of students or individuals, is the most impactful.
More than 90% of public school educators are already using some type of online or internet-based technology in the classroom. And, many are required by their school district to use online tools.
In addition to using online or digital platforms, educators are also searching the internet for resources and teaching materials.
Almost two-thirds of all respondents are searching for materials online at least half of the time. When searching online, teachers are looking for everything from worksheets to videos to lesson plans.
Outlining the goals and objectives for a project prior to designing the survey is the cornerstone of a successful project. When one starts with well-defined objectives in mind, drafting and organizing survey questions can be drastically simplified, and can help to ensure that the responses provided will generate valuable insights, through even the most basic analysis. Schoology started by creating several key goals prior to writing their survey.
For this project, Schoology wanted to talk to potential customers and users — specifically, K-12 public school educators. After creating their survey and reviewing SurveyMonkey Audience’s targeting criteria, Schoology picked an Audience of people who either identify as working as “Educators” or working in the “Education” field and asked a qualifying question to identify K-12 public school teachers.
Schoology’s respondents came from all over the U.S., and from a variety of job types and experience levels.
Schoology confirmed that public school teachers cite diverse student needs as their biggest challenge in the classroom. Since these teachers have to manage lots of students with different learning styles, and prefer creating varying lesson plans and materials for certain students, they have lots of material and collateral to manage. After learning this, Schoology overhauled their sales and marketing collateral to now highlight the tool’s powerful capabilities for managing lessons, tests, and quizzes over its social media-like collaboration features.
They also learned that most K-12 public school educators are already using some type of online platform or tool as part of their current processes. As Schoology approaches more public school districts, they’ve started to use data from this survey in their new business pitches. In particular, they’ve seen success in highlighting how their tool can integrate with other existing platforms and tools, including Google Docs and Khan Academy, while seamlessly replacing other less innovative and more cumbersome online classroom management tools.