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How authentication impacts the experience of eLearning participants

The context

In our fast-paced and digitalized world, people favor the more accessible option of eLearning. The integrity of the certificates awarded by online learning schools as well as their brand reputation is eroded by exam cheating, with more than one-third of students admitting to cheating online classes. In response, regulatory bodies impose special requirements on online learning providers, especially when it comes to safeguarding the participant validation criteria. For example, in the field of online driving courses, the New York DMV sets standards on the types of authentication methods employed, their accuracy, and other aspects including private data storage.

How can companies protect the students’ experience and also ensure that remotely enrolled applicants stay the same throughout the entirety of the learning process?

Authentication impediments

Automated authentication measures secure genuine interaction of students with the online examination. However, when authentication fails several times, students can be excluded from the learning session regardless of their progress. Such impediments determine customers’ tendencies to switch to competitors, demand money-back, and leave negative reviews, leading to financial loss and diminished brand image for online schools.

In this context, online schools have to carefully select the participant validation methods to be student-friendly and to suit their business needs. We highlighted some of the differences between measures and most importantly, between their effects on the user experience.

A short comparison of authentication methods

Physiological biometrics and voice recognition require additional equipment in order to work, which can be expensive to implement (i.e., web camera, fingerprint scanners, other accessories, etc.). While in certain high-stakes scenarios it might make sense for students to authenticate with these measures, the additional effort required to users creates friction. In turn, this has a significant negative impact on the overall user experience.

Personal questions or third party database questions involve privacy concerns as customers are disinclined to offer personal data. Besides privacy concerns, the pressure of remembering predetermined answers adds to the stress of adapting to very short time-frames.

Phone and SMS verification tools create accessibility issues. Many applicants sit online exams in loud environments or can’t access their phone or email temporarily. Even if they do have the necessary gadgets or accounts at hand, sometimes, instructions can be unclearly stated and challenging to understand. By being inherently time-consuming and subject to poor accessibility issues, these measures are bothersome to students.

We mentioned above that among other disadvantages, mainstream authentication methods add friction, present lower accuracy, have an intrusive nature, and require additional equipment. There is a snowball effect from the outset as these disadvantages drastically weaken the user experience harming eLearning providers’ profitability. tweet

Typing biometrics authentication provides enhanced user experience

Positive user experience encompasses both high technical usability and hedonic qualities that address the product/service appeal to the customer. As for authentication interests, linked to both online learning and other use cases, typing biometrics accurately identifies users without any additional effort needed.

Typing biometrics solution works by recording behavioral features, like flight times between keys and dwell times on keys. Using typing biometrics is highly convenient as it only requires an existing keyboard to confirm that the right person is taking the test. Periodical checks look into who is completing the assessment, eliminating the risk of online cheating by providing passive authentication throughout the learning session. By only recording how and not what users type, the solution improves privacy protection. TypingDNA offers typing biometrics technology through an API which maximizes user experience with no additional customer effort. tweet

Achieving certificate integrity happens in a way that is browser-based, as vigilant as a human, and as cost-efficient as a machine. By working with companies like Improv, we reach millions of students and provide a more natural and faster learning process. Employing typing biometrics has considerable positive effects on customer retention, higher return on investment and overall enhanced brand image. These build long-term customer loyalty delivering an indisputable competitive advantage.

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