AskBee - Online Homework Help

The first-of-its-kind live tutoring app that helps your child to complete their homework anytime and anywhere.

August 24, 2022
AppLab Team

• About the client

AskBee is the first on-demand video tutoring platform that enables students to get 1-to-1 guidance with their homework or revision in real time. Students can select a subject they need help with and the app automatically matches them with a tutor who then appears live on screen. An interactive in-app video call experience enables face-to-face explanations, text chat and screen-sharing functions.

Think of it as being able to FaceTime a personal tutor safely within an app!

• The client’s need/idea

AskBee was developed entirely in-house by Apptivity Lab during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was conceptualised during the first Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia as a response to learn-from-home challenges faced by students and parents. 

We saw how the education experience essentially shifted online, be it school lessons or tuition classes. Despite going digital, the implementation remained traditional in the way that tuition schedules were fixed, classes were typically one-hour long, and the cost of private tutoring remained high. 

We wanted to find a way to make tuition affordable, accessible and enjoyable by harnessing the benefits of an online learning experience.

• The solution we designed

We developed a platform to match tutors and students on demand, instead of waiting for weekly, hour-long tuition classes to get help with homework or revision. Students could use AskBee to find a tutor, and be guided with their question over live video. AskBee’s in-app video sessions are equipped with screen-sharing functionalities, and capped at 15 minutes to facilitate focused learning.

Behind the scenes, our team conducts screenings and onboarding of tutors to ensure that they are qualified to teach the subjects they sign up for.

• Key features and innovations

One of AskBee’s key innovations is a “Guardian AI” that we named Phoebee. Phoebee is a conversational AI tool that facilitates the learning process, especially for new students and teachers that may be unfamiliar with the platform. In addition, the helpful Phoebee “sits in” on each session to provide familiarity and security – which is particularly helpful for younger schoolchildren.

We also built an entire video platform within AskBee, as we wanted to ensure quality of delivery and user safety (which is harder to monitor with an external tool). This also allowed us to experiment with unique live video formats that enhances learning: link sharing, screen sharing functions, as well as different interactive modes.

For instance, we took the time to understand how school-going children felt about video-based learning – and discovered that some were shy about appearing on screen. As such, we designed interactive modes such as “bubble mode” (where their face would appear much smaller on screen) and even avatars as an option.

• The impact it brought

At its launch, AskBee saw close to a thousand tutors come on board the platform to help students in Malaysia through #SaveSPM2020 – a nationwide campaign to help SPM 2020 exam takers with revision through guidance from volunteer teachers and tertiary students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPM 2020 candidates had their exams postponed twice –  and could not attend school for months before sitting for a major exam. 

We saw great support from educational partners like Teach For Malaysia and REAL Education Group, NGOs like Generasi Gemilang, as well as compassionate volunteer teachers and tertiary students. This impact upon launch validated the potential of AskBee to help students learn at their point of need – and we continue to grow with this same mission to ensure no child ever has to struggle with their studies alone.