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Francis Pilon

ESL101.com is a pioneering service provider in the $1.3 billion global English language digital learning products and services sector (source: www.ambientinsight.com). As the first company to build a truly global social community uniting schools, teachers and recruiters, ESL101.com is firmly positioned to take advantage of the surge in demand for English instruction all around the world, helping schools and recruiters source enough teachers, and helping teachers identify the jobs that best fit their needs.

The founders of ESL101.com recognized some critical shortcomings in existing ESL-related job boards and networking sites: existing solutions were highly regionalized (i.e. covering one country or continent only), typically contained outdated information and had a look and feel that reminded one of the web of the 90s. The solution was to build a global database of ESL schools and jobs, and to allow employers and potential employees to meet online in a much faster and much more efficient manner. A robust e-commerce platform that supports market-driven pricing would also be required (the traditional flat rate job posting fee structure of competitive sites effectively prices some less wealthy countries out of the running).

the twist

As a brand-new service, ESL101.com had to pick a place to start feature-wise. The initial goal was to deploy a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to gauge early adoption and gather user feedback. The inherent challenge was in specifying the first-release features of ESL101.com, distilled from the hundreds of features and ideas initially proposed by the client. We also had to devise a technical roadmap strategy that would allow for easy expansion of and addition to these early features.

the solution

We adopted an iterative process to ensure that the MVP would be truly usable, without losing sight of the long-range plans for the underlying service. We had to launch a working model within the client’s budget.

After working with the client to identify the MVP’s core components, we created of a set of wireframes which were then turned into a functional prototype. We invited members of the ESL community -- teachers, schools managers and recruiters -- to our office to test drive the prototype, gaining critical insight into how they used the site.

In order to make the e-commerce component flexible enough to allow market-driven pricing, we implemented a tagging system that lets the administrator assign fees per country. When an employer wants to post a job, the country of employment determines the cost of the listing. Simple enough, yet miles ahead of what other ESL job boards are capable of (due to their regional focus vs. ESL101.com’s global focus).

the results

ESL101.com launched on July 22nd, 2012 after some final modifications inspired by the usability testing sessions. Within 2 weeks of launch, the site saw significant traffic and attracted partners such as The Flight Center, English Central and the Korean National Tourism Authority. Traffic continues to grow, and as of the time of the writing of this document more than 150 teachers have created profiles on the site. As one satisfied teacher wrote:

Frustrated and nervous that I wouldn't be able to find work in Korea for August or September, I decided to check out ESL101.com. Your site made it so easy to create my profile apply to open positions. I began submitting my resume all over the place, and was amazed by all of the instant replies! One recruiting company even called me from Seoul! I had submitted my resume no more than 10 minutes earlier! Wow!!! I don't know how many places I applied to, but within the first 24 hours of doing this, I must have had 20 replies. When I got up the following morning, I had a job offer and a contract to sign. Wow! - Christine T., USA

With slick design, efficient workflows, and a coherent mapping of the ESL landscape, The Jibe has positioned ESL101.com at the forefront of online employment tools for the ESL industry.