The problem

PTE Academic is an online English-proficiency test that learners take when applying for international visas and overseas university places. Pearson noticed that test candidates were not arriving for their tests fully prepared for what they were expected to do, or for how the test was delivered. This resulted in candidates being unnecessarily overwhelmed with the test day experience, which had a negative impact on their final results.

The solution

We designed and built a mobile application that helps learners better understand the test format, gives them tips and allows them to practise the different activity types in the exam. We started by taking time to understand our primary persona, define the value proposition and produce a clickable prototype, then built an iOS MVP that we launched and tested with users. We went on to iterate on the initial MVP (minimum viable product) and launched a full feature-rich iOS and Android app to the app stores.

Key takeaways / results

Currently the app is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and performing better than target projections. We received positive overall feedback from the client and the learners we have tested it with.

Other related case studies

See all


A remote Learning Design Sprint to conceptualise new Babbel product i


Learning design for a Vietnamese language school chain


English language learning for Africa’s digital future