Helping teachers apply to teach worldwide through Outschool

User interviews • UX • Eng collaboration

Outschool suffered from a 70% drop off rate in the very last step of its teacher application


Outschool is an edtech startup and online education platform that offers live online classes for K-12 learners.


There was a 70% drop off rate in the last step of the teacher application, the course creation form. Furthermore, operations had to manually review and often rejected applications for poor quality and lack of adherence to standards.

👩‍🏫Teacher's problem
  • The form was lengthy and dense
  • High drop off rates during the course creation process
  • Not much guidance on how to properly fill out the form
👨‍🔧Operations's problem
  • Manual screening process
  • Applications often didn't follow Outschool parameters
  • Rejected applications were manually sent for re-submission


The business goal was to decrease drop off rate in the course creation form, and increase quality of submitted courses. The design goal was to decrease friction in filling out the form, and to help teachers better understand how to create a high quality course.


Design lead


Responsive web


User interviews
User experience
Card sorting
Information architecture
Comprehension testing
Cross functional collaboration

Course Creation Form


A never-ending form with a lack of hierarchy, confusing grouping of categories, and large input boxes with little guidance.


Easy navigation, information hierarchy, and informative microcopy guides teachers through filling out their form

I interviewed current teachers, new teachers, and the operations team to identify common pain points.

Teacher interviews

My team and I gathered 8 total teachers (5 new users, 3 current users).
We conducted research through comprehension testing, which allowed us to gauge the effectiveness of each field label and microcopy, and user interviews, which allowed us to interact with the user and discuss their thought process.

Operations interview

I sat down with Outschool's operations team and asked them about their application screening process. As it turned out, the issues they often rejected applications for were also areas of confusion for the teachers.
🔍 Top Screening Factors
  • Detailed description of course offerings
  • Logical course format and reasonable pricing
  • Professional writing & appearance
❌ Top Rejection Reasons
  • Missing weekly course breakdown
  • Breaking the maximum 5 year age range
  • Errors in course format, pricing, and content

Engineering Input

I used affinity mapping to organize our key insights, and sat down with engineering to discuss what is feasible, what is difficult, and what is low priority for implementation.

Top Pain Points

I found 3 main pain points: Lack of clarity on Twitch Prime and its benefits, friction in finding and claiming loot, and a lack of personalization throughout the platform.
Confusing copy and labels
Comprehension testing revealed that many teachers were misinterpreting the form labels and had difficulty understanding how to draft their course.
Lack of logical structure
Teachers did not follow the original set up of the form. Many of our users jumped around the form in a similar pattern that they found more intuitive.
Pricing is hard to calculate
Teachers complained both in our research and on the Outschool forums of confusion around pricing. Similarly, operations often had to correct inaccurate or unreasonable pricing.


We believe that by improving the form through information architecture, categorization, and copy, we can streamline the class creation flow to reduce drop off rates and increase the quality of class applications.

Teachers, Outschool founders, engineers, operations, and designers all collaborated to reach the final designs

Design Methods

I used card sorting and rapid iterations to come to the final design for the course creation form. Card sorting allowed me to easily shuffle and reorganize sections of the form to consider the most logical layout. Feedback from design, operations, engineering, the founders, and users led me through 3 iterations and validation testing of the final designs.

Design iterations


My team and I collaborated with client stakeholders and users to inform our designs. Outschool's founders, operations team, engineers, and designer were all heavily involved in the following design discussions.
🔄Iteration 1
We tried to keep the form true to their design system, adding only slight changes to font hierarchy and navigation (Options 1 and 2 above).

To our surprise, Outschool encouraged us to branch out and explore larger departures from their design system.
🔄Iteration 2
We added a navigation side bar which broke the form into logical sections and allowed for easy navigation.

We continued to iterate on clear and consistent copy, optional fields, edge cases of introduced features, and more.
🔄Iteration 3
We aligned with Outschool on consistent use of jargon (course vs class, meeting vs session, etc) and on the overall breakdown of sections.

We then focused on refining a few major design components: course format, course breakdown, and pricing.

Final Designs

Course Creation Form

Fly through the form with easy navigation, logical sections, clear guidance, and a pricing calculator that does it for you.

Navigation Side Bar

  • Previously, teachers were scrolling up and down the form to fill out related fields. Now, the form is broken down in a logical flow.
  • Progress is marked as incomplete or complete as a user fills out the form.
  • Optional sections are grouped together and pointed out for skipping convenience.

Course Format

  • Previously, the form did not explain the various course formats, and did not tie the course duration back to the format. This caused a lot of inaccurate format/duration inputs and rejected applications.
  • The course format is now clearly spelled out, with an adaptive design for the corresponding course duration.
  • Course duration is designed in one intuitive sentence, rather than as separate aspects (meetings per week, minutes per session, total meetings per course).

Course Breakdown

  • Previously, there was only a large "description" text box with little guidance on how to structure their description. Operations and teachers both desired a breakdown of the course by each meeting.
  • A modal reminds the teacher how many meetings they had planned for this course.
  • Requiring a course breakdown addresses the main reason why applications get rejected.

Pricing Calculator

  • Previously, there was only one input field "list price" with minimal guidance on how to price your class. Outschool also takes a 30% cut, which was not spelled out.
  • The pricing calculator allows teachers to easily see the two most important metrics: the list price parents see, and estimated hourly rate teachers receive.
  • A reminder modal shows teachers their course format, which helps calculate the price.

Teachers and Outschool team were delighted by the final designs and excited for implementation.

Validation Testing

I validated our designs with 5 potential and current users, including a couple who had been previously interviewed. Overall, teachers were thrilled with our main design recommendations: navigation side bar, course format, course breakdown, and pricing calculator. There is ongoing discussion with both teachers and Outschool around standardizing copy across the platform, which requires more strategic decision making.

A quote from our validation testing:
“I really fancy the course details section— breaking up the meetings— because I find myself doing that on my own anyways.”

Learnings and Implementation

This project was largely successful due to 1) investment and involvement of the founders, and thus the commitment of other teams, 2) rapid iterations, and 3) tight project management. It incredible to work so quickly and collaboratively with a cross functional team, and see the product grow from our original options to the final designs.

Outschool is currently implementing our designs and is expected to finish by October 2019. The analytics team has built a dashboard to see the results of our hard work, so we expect to see metrics soon after implementation.
"I'm impressed. Excited to triage these into our next sprint." – Mikhail, Outschool founder