Brief

To design an App for EkStep to teach literacy and numeracy to class I and II kids in India
This was a classroom project in collaboration with Ekstep, an NGO that is creating a personalised learning platform for school kids.
It consists of a 'container' app that would adaptively list games and stories that the kid can play.

Constraints:
Solution should be an App for 4.7” screen phone

Design direction:
The system would work independently of school learning, even though it follows the same syllabus.
They parent's participation is not mandatory. However can we get them to understand  their kid's learning progress through a visual means, rather than test scores and numbers (which they can't read) ?
Research
Secondary Research to understand Learning and How to design games for learning
Persona
Data Collection and Mapping of the Math subject
Design

The following gamification principles were identified to be central to the 'container' app's design
1. Avatar that scaffolds the game for the kid (Example character used in this project is Chota Bheem, a very popular TV character among Indian kids)
2. Progress / Journey map - that motivates the kid to explore the next lesson.
3. Recurring game themes/mechanics that became difficult as the learning progresses


Ideas like virtual coins to buy virtual pets (that grew as days passed), toys (that would be won as a prize for by solving a question framed around that toy), were explored but not taken forward due to time constraints.

To design the Progress map, the syllabus of Math (as an example subject)  was studied.

EkStep platform - IA and wireframe - their existing design and proposed changes (in Red)
Progress Maps explored
A plant was chosen due to the persona's familiarity with it. The plant grows as the kid grows 'in knowledge'. There would be a bunch of games at a bud. When the kid completes the basic' games in a bud, the bud would get watered, convert into a leaf and grow shoots. There would be one plant per subject.
Mapping topics in learning 'tree' (48px gaps was ensured between the tap-able buds)
Video below shows how the kid would open games by tapping on the buds of the plant that would reveal a list of games for that level.
(The video shows only the game mechanic and not the other screens in the game)

There would be other games at, literally, higher plant levels that would follow the same game mechanics but with increasing complexity.
Bheem catching water is one 'type' of game that is present in different difficulty levelts. There would be other stories/types involving other characters from Indian cartoons.

The game below is an example of 'Co-operative play'. From learning science research, kid's learn to play co-operatively at ages of 6 onwards. Here, kids would form teams and play to score the highest points, while learning counting of numbers in the process.

Every completed topic (leaf) would have a second level of games, that teach the kid how to apply the knowledge to real world situations. Completing these games unlocks a flower at that leaf.

Kid's can compare their plants with one another.
The homepage shows the consolidated learning for a subject, it intuitively makes the illiterate parent know which subjects their kid has learnt well.