Module 3: Scoping

Welcome to the third blog in our module preview series giving you a glimpse of what students taking the Apps for Good course are learning. In Module 2 students focused on idea generation – exploring the problems they would like to solve with their app and beginning to narrow down that pipeline of ideas through initial research. Now it’s time for students to undertake scoping – investigating the world around the problem they want to tackle – to help them focus on a single app idea that’s worth building.

What’s it all about?

In Module 3, teams investigate the small number of ideas that made it through the screening activities in Module 2. Students validate what they’ve explored about their ideas so far by undertaking market research and user testing, and by investigating the technical feasibility of their app ideas. These processes will help them focus on their most viable idea and ensure that it makes sense in the real world.

Students use market research to review and finalise their app idea
Students use market research to review and finalise their app idea

What do they learn?

At this point, many students are getting excited about their app ideas. They may have a favourite or two that they would love to build. However, in this module students learn an important part of the product development process: resiliency and flexibility. Students are taught that while it can be hard to let go of something they’ve been working on, pivoting on an idea to better serve their users or stand out from the competition, or even abandoning the idea altogether, can help them develop a much more successful app in the long run.

In this module students learn key market research skills and look at the role market research plays in the development of a product. Students are introduced to the concepts of market competitors and market analysis allowing them to understand the world in which their app will exist. Students will also focus on understanding their potential customers by conducting interviews, building user profiles and developing user stories. Conducting market and user research forces students to rethink and adapt their original ideas based on their findings. This may be because their audience have needs that weren’t previously anticipated, or they may find that similar apps are already in existence.

When dealing with the technical elements of Module 3, students will once again need to be flexible to adapt and adjust their idea in line with the technical tools available to them. Having been introduced to digital tools in Module 2, students can now consider how to use these tools to make their idea a reality. The knowledge obtained from market research will provide students with valuable background for this exercise. Students can use this information to answer key questions such as what functions will their app need to have, how much data will be needed to produce the app, and much more. Students should remember that the simplest approach is often the best – an app that tackles one issue in a simple, straightforward way is far better than one that tries to tackle too much.

Students will need to consider the technical challenges of building their idea
Students will need to consider the technical challenges of building their app

Module 3 is an excellent time to book an Expert session to ensure students are ready to build a prototype of their most viable idea in Module 4. Experts will be able to give advice and tips on how best to use the information gathered during market research and provide further market insights. Experts can also help teams understand more about how best to build their app to match their idea and meet the needs of their customers.

What’s next?

At the end of Module 3 students should have a thoroughly researched idea ready to be developed. In Module 4 students will move onto one of the most exciting parts of the course – building and testing a prototype app and sharing it with users. More on that in our next preview blog, until then we hope you enjoy Module 3!

Calling Apps for Good Educators – Share your stories on the Educator Forum

Do you need help on how best to approach Module 3, such as how to allocate enough time, particularly outside of the classroom, for thorough market research? Have you had success with this module so far and want to share your experiences and help your fellow educators? Start a conversation on our new Educator Forum or contact us through Twitter @AppsforGoodCDI.