Soho Strategy was approached to develop a platform for text-message based interventions in schools. With a brief of helping college tutors compose and send a suite of text messages to students, including helpful reminders, study tips and motivation throughout the academic year, SOHO designed and built the Promptable platform. In addition to receiving messages themselves, students can choose to nominate a ‘study supporter’ to receive these messages, which enables someone the student is close to (a parent, older sibling, other relative or a friend) to initiate regular conversations with them about their studies.
SOHO developed the Promptable back-end from scratch in Go, and a React front-end was built to deliver a fast, responsive, and reliable cross-platform experience. Advanced administration features include ghosting and rate-limiting, as well as bulk-uploads of student data, and integration with the Nexmo API to enable automated message scheduling. Students’ replies to texts can also be captured and displayed to tutors, and messages can be sent to segmented groups of users who fit specific criteria.
Promptable minimises the burden on colleges and tutors of utilising science-backed research in their institutions. BIT‘s programme resulted in an average 7% increase in the attendance of learners whose study supporters were sent messages, compared to those who were not, as well as an increase in attainment scores overall.
The platform was deployed on AWS, and subsequently Heroku cloud services, and handles large volumes of traffic and SMS messages every day.
increase in attendance across schools
The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is a social purpose company jointly owned by the UK Government and innovation-charity Nesta. The company was founded from 10 Downing Street with the aim of making public-services more cost-effective and easier for citizens to use; improving outcomes by introducing more realistic models of human behaviour to policy; and wherever possible, enabling people to make ‘better choices for themselves’. The world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences, today BIT has offices not only in London, but Manchester, New York, Singapore and Sydney – serving governments and businesses worldwide.