Xpress Me

Making / Learning / Work was an adult learning innovation project hosted at the MIT Media Lab from September 2014 to May 2016. This site is an archive of the project documentation.

Get certified and find a new job all on your commute to work.

Xpress Me is a mobile application designed to help users complete a certification program (e.g. a phlebotomy certificate) during their daily commute. Many continuing education certification programs are completed online already. By tailoring these programs to suit commuters, Xpress Me capitalizes on downtime in the user’s day.

For example, a nurse who takes the bus to work daily may choose to use Xpress Me to explore certifications he can achieve to advance his career. If he commutes 45 minutes to work each way, he could theoretically complete a 100 hour certification course in 13 weeks. As XpressMe is designed specifically for commuters, each module is timed to the duration of his commute and users are made aware of other people on the bus who are working on similar certificates, in hopes of facilitating a community of learners on the bus. By advertising on the bus and prompting commuters to login to a local hotspot, we support learners in projects tailored to their skill level and desires.

The next step for this project is to research bus routes and the types of modules that can be completed during a commute. Additionally, we believe that we can tailor available modules to commuters based on when and where they commute to and from. Departure destinations will give us some insight into socioeconomic background whereas arrival destination will give us some insight into the type of work they do. Given that some certification programs only take 100 hours, it is possible that we could begin seeing results just 3 months after launching a pilot.

08/13/14 Update

It was suggested that “Xpress Me” be renamed “Ways Up”.

Thoughts to keep in mind:

  • What if we could showcase job opportunities along their commuting route?
  • Should we keep users anonymous? For example, if I am using the app on the bus, would it be better if I could only see that there are three other active users on my bus, but not be able to see who they are? This could build in a level of privacy (similar to how Waze App shows users anonymously).

08/26/14 Update

Thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Would be interesting to look into using Xpress Me for on-boarding training / basic employee training (e.g. safety routine education etc.)

Q. Is there a way to expand Xpress Me beyond people who take a bus to commute? In New York and other cities, for example, a lot of people take trains and subways. What if it had both “canned”/offline and online content?