Sequoia Capital funded born-again-as-an-education-portal Minglebox, which focuses on MBA Test preparation and admissions, has launched a free Android app called CAT Prep (download), that intends to help Indian students prepare for Common Admission Test-CAT.
The app is rather basic with the home screen displaying buttons for accessing sections dedicated to Learning Material, Practice Tests and Mock Tests. A button for the Community section is also present, though it just leads to a “Coming Soon” landing page.
The app seems to be designed for a generic J2ME phone although the Back button is similar to the navigation controls seen in iOS apps, even though Android phones come with a native Back button. It does not make use of Android’s contextual Menu function, except in the Mock Tests and Practice Tests for selecting answers or for resuming tests and accessing instructions.
The Learning material section features course modules on Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability. The modules are long pages of textual content, and don’t offer anything in terms of interactivity or multimedia.
Even the mock tests and practice tests are just a set of multiple choice questions and offer no value-add. We thought that at least the app would allow candidates preparing for the tests to do self assessments and analyse their preparation, but after one completes a test, it just asks for the user’s e-mail id and password, and at times gets stuck at that screen. The more irritating part is that there’s no link to register to Minglebox, leave alone an in built registration page.
Although, the app is still in Beta, we’d expect the developers to sort out basic usability issues. It looks like the same app would be ported across other platforms, since integration with the native features is not present. We don’t understand why content players and developers think that apps are just replacements for websites and port content, without offering any value add.
– Course modules should be made more interactive with the option to connect with subject matter experts and links to access more material online.
– Multimedia can be used to make modules more interesting. Although we know the target here are not primary school kids, but the current implementation is no different from a text book approach.
– Timed practice tests with instant self assesment should be integrated.
– There should be no need to register for the Minglebox service or an in-app registration should be introduced.