Amplify Reading is a data-based, adaptive learning program for students in grades K–8. Features within the product include adaptive skill games, interactive eReader books, vocabulary practice, close reading lessons, along with a teacher dashboard for monitoring student growth. At the time I joined Amplify, this early literacy product was experimental—only in the research and development stage. We worked directly with learning and data scientists, teachers-turned-PMs, game developers, and literacy measurement experts to create a supplemental product that ensured students get the right skill practice based on the latest science of reading. The product not only had to be engaging for young people but needed the same approved content as the Common Core standards, from the classroom curriculum. I was the lead designer on the project the full way through: from board pitch, to field trials, to sales pilots, to Alpha and Beta releases, to the first commercial release and post-release maintenance phases (please see my Accessibility case study for more on one of these phases).
Our core use case for this digital supplemental product was a student independently working on a school issued device, so that teachers could be freed up for other needed attention in the classroom. There are truly not enough hours in a day for teachers. To accomplish this, Amplify Reading was designed to adapt to students’ needs with a specialized user experience for people new to using devices (please see my K–5 Design System case study for more on this). The system we designed maintains a rich profile for each student as they master or struggle with different skills and tailors the content they see next based on their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The Alpha release saw early success but posed an opportunity for us to finely tune the student experience of getting placed in the program; so they can practice the right skills from the start.