This project was conducted with the Government of Bangladesh flagship digital programme – a2i. To improve access to skills through e-learning programmes, a2i’s Education team developed MuktoPaath – a free e-learning platform in Bengali – in 2016. It was created as a low-cost solution to upskill teachers across the country. However, it has since branched out to different target groups, and is today central in offering access to online learning at a time where schools, universities and training centers have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2018, there were over 130,000 learners registered on MuktoPaath, with course completion rates ranging between 30 and 50 per cent. a2i and BIT collaborated on a project to identify and test low-cost ways to boost completion rates and help learners achieve their skills development goals.
Leveraging the fact that planification and reminders can help people achieve their goals, we designed a simple ‘planning tool’ to help learners manage their time and additional weekly SMS to provide learners feedback on their progress.
Although the planning tool alone did not have a significant effect on MuktoPaath course completion rates, the combination of planning tool and the SMS reminders increased course completion by 2.6 percentage points, from a baseline of 35.5 per cent in the control (an effect which rises to 15 percentage point when looking only at learners who completed the planning tool). This translates into an additional 171 courses completed on MuktoPaath throughout the duration of our trial, helping teachers and learners develop new skills.