We asked Learning Circuits founder, Matt Jenner, about building an app that teaches children and youth about the basics of electricity and circuits. Matt is the Director of Learning at FutureLearn, a global platform for online learning. On his free time, he works on side projects like Learning Circuits. He chose Bubble because it offers all of the features necessary to build a fully functional web app without knowing how to code.
Tell us about your app and what it does.
Learning Circuits teaches children and young people about the basics of electricity and circuits. It uses interactive tutorials to guide learners through different parts of the 4th grade (US) / Key Stage 2 (UK) curriculum. It features such as; explaining basic circuits, types of power source, types of appliance, different circuits, how switches work, safety & how to change components in a circuit. There is a quiz and an interactive circuit builder for learners to test their knowledge and practice their skills and understanding.
How does your app work?
Learners, who are generally aged 8-10, follow six tutorials which each last between 5-10 minutes each. The tutorials are in a single page format but I used hidden groups to add pagination. Interactive elements help practice new knowledge or skill but using simple actions with visuals graphics and animations.
Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.
I've worked across all ages - young to old - in the field of digital education. My full time job is Director of Learning at FutureLearn - a global platform for online learning. I have a series of side projects because I enjoy getting hands on and seeing direct impact. One is Learning Circuits which originally launched in 2004. Education for the world comes in many forms, one is online. This means anyone, anywhere can learn - as long as they are connected, and can access the learning, it opens that opportunity.
Why did you build your app on Bubble?
With origins in Flash, I had to rebuild Learning Circuits - which I did in 2019 in specialist e-learning authoring software. But I was not happy with the outcome and knew I could not rebuild it from scratch in HTML5 - its hard to 'get into' for me and my skills. After some searching I took a punt on no-code, Bubble stood out as a winner and it evolved from there.
I started with a few of your lessons, which were good - but then wanted to build. Learning Circuits became my first priority project and I built it over a few weekends during September / October 2020.
What have been your milestones or successes so far?
Launched on top of an existing platform - so I hit the ground running with SEO and link building. But pandemic traffic has been really strong, its had about 250k users since November. I do not advertise. I feel bad for all the children forced to go online during the pandemic. But, I get really positive feedback. It has been online for 16 years, I have a sense of what learners need and I've enjoyed seeing the Bubble version become popular. I have sacrificed some parts - Bubble is not designed to create interactive content (like Flash was). So far - I'm really happy with the outcome.
What are your future plans for your app?
I have a few bits I'd like to fix but nothing too major. I'm mobile friendly but not 100% compatible. I'd like to reduce the file size & bandwidth demands. I think the Bubble version is about 100MB (guess) but the Flash version, with vector animations, was about 300kb - which is superior when it comes to speed & bandwidth. I have unavoidable gifs in there - I need to explore how to reduce those. I had translation plans but I can't quite see the best way forward. I'd love to make more on different topics, if I ever slow down my professional life and increase my side projects time - I'll build more free to learn interactive science content.
Learn more about Learning Circuits: Twitter
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 500,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.