Tempo Learning—Mobile Vision

Changing the way we think about higher education by making learning accessible, flexible and cheaper


The way people learn is changing, but higher education is slow to adapt

Traditional course-based education has been the same for ages. It continues to grow more expensive, leaving students with insane amounts of dept. It also requires students to spend a substantial amount of time in the classroom, making it challenging to gain professional experience outside of school. 

Walden University introduced a competency-based approach, Tempo Learning, in 2014. Tempo allows students to set their own pace, learn anywhere, and use their professional experience to get to graduation faster, for less. The following is the future vision for the Tempo mobile experience, helping students everywhere fit learning into their lives.



User interviews

We chatted with several active Tempo students to understand their pain points. We learned that they're often overwhelmed with work and family, but they're extremely passionate about their education and careers.


Before ever touching the computer, I worked through several flows to make sure students could access their learning quickly and easily, while still meeting regulatory needs.


I created prototypes and variations using Sketch, Invision, and Principle.

Design system

Using Sketch, I designed a system of elements that could be repeated throughout the experience. The goal for the design system is to make the process fast and iterative, while maintaining the thoughtfulness of the Tempo experience.

Finding the perfect tempo

Tempo students have the flexibility to adjust their pace at any time so they can adapt their program to life changes. The pace determines how many competencies are visible each term. If a student consistently exceeds their set pace, Tempo will suggest more competencies. What the student doesn't see is the complexity of the regulatory requirements, which are met by the slowest speed. Students who have fallen behind will be notified by the application and their academic coach. 


"Can you take my kids to soccer practice?"

In an interview with a student I asked, "How can we help you earn your degree?" Our user jokingly responded, "Can you take my kids to soccer practice?" 

Tempo students are busy and they're always on the go. The goal of creating a mobile experience is to let our users to access their learning anywhere, even soccer practice. The standard learning flow was created to help students get to their lessons quickly and easily see their progress. 


Fitting learning into everyday life

We've all found ourselves stuck on bus, waiting in line, or with awkward amounts of time between meetings... so we created a feature for those moments in the middle. Students can access a list of lessons based on the time they have and the type of activity they prefer.


What's next for Tempo

The Tempo mobile vision was created with busy students in mind. Like any good product, the next steps are to learn and iterate based on smart data and our user's needs.


Further reading

An article about getting to clarity while building a product

More about competency-based learning as told by Tempo

Tempo Learning—Custom Learning Plan case study