About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Developing DigiLearn — The learning platform that learns with you

Sopra Steria is a European leader in digital transformation. Our Tech for Good Programme designs and uses technology and innovation to help address social challenges.

As a business working in the technology sector, we see the change that technology is bringing to the world of work every day, and that while technology is playing a pivotal role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, we all need to work to ensure that people affected by change have opportunities to adapt and thrive. With support from the CareerTech Challenge and in collaboration with one of our charity partners — East London Advanced Technology Training (ELATT) — we were able to design, develop and test a new learning platform, DigiLearn that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with several innovative features to help motivate adult learners and help to build career adaptability skills.

What we did

We worked closely with ELATT students and teachers to design and develop DigiLearn. This included several workshops, interviews and focus groups to allow us to build out user personas, user journeys and concepts so that we could be sure that what we were building was solving real user needs. We also ran regular usability tests with students during development to iterate our designs and make sure that the platform was easy to use.

Through DigiLearn, learners were able to access a resilience course developed by ELATT. Each learner had a personalised journey through the 12 lessons based on some of their own characteristics which were captured during registration. For example, if they worked part-time, had caring responsibilities or owned a house. The platform adapted to learners’ needs based on their engagement levels, and used several different features designed to motivate and re-engage learners:

Personalised lesson scenarios

At certain points during the course learners were presented with personalised scenarios to make the content they were about to engage in more relevant to them.

description text from digital platform

Personalised learning journey

At the beginning of the course, learners were provided with a time estimate that the AI predicted they could commit each week based on several different data points collected at registration and comparing them to others that had already used the platform.

Personalised learner journey

Recommended lessons

Each time a learner re-engaged with DigiLearn the system asked them questions to recommend the most suitable learning method for that day. This feature was introduced to try to emulate the feeling of a teacher that cares and sees you and creates a personalised lesson.

Recommended lessons

Gamification (Rewards & Leader Board)

Learners were awarded points throughout the course for different interactions and for completing activities.



Personalised email reminders were sent to learners based on the AI’s understanding of their engagement levels to try encouraging them to re-engage with DigiLearn.

What were the successes?

Partnership: Sopra Steria and ELATT have a long-standing partnership which has been strengthened through the collaboration on the CareerTech Challenge. We expect this to bring further opportunities for us to work closely together in the future.

User Centred Design: We included users throughout the design and development of DigiLearn. This helped us to build a platform that was not only easy and enjoyable to use but that helped our users learn valuable skills.

Tech Development: We managed to develop a new digital learning platform with several innovative features that learners enjoyed engaging with.

Learners: Our analysis suggests that some learners really benefited from the innovative features of DigiLearn, and that it not only helped them to engage with the course, but it also increased their confidence in their new and existing skills.

For example, learners responded positively to one recommended lesson that gave them an opportunity to share how they’re feeling, and then gave them an uplifting message if they weren’t doing well. We are proud to have delivered DigiLearn to over 150 learners to help them navigate potential labour market shocks such as automation and increased unemployment.

What were the challenges?

Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to recruit as many participants as we initially hoped due to the COVID 19 pandemic. This had the unfortunate knock-on effect of limiting the amount of data that the AI-enabled features had to work with.

Building a digital learning platform from scratch also meant that we had to prioritise certain features during development which impacted the overall user experience. Some features that you may expect from a modern online learning platform could not be included in the pilot version of DigiLearn (eg. Accessibility features).

Future plans

Both Sopra Steria and ELATT are excited to take the findings from DigiLearn forward. At Sopra Steria we are looking at how these innovative features can be incorporated into several different projects and ELATT are taking these learnings to understand how they can better deliver remote training to their students each year.

Please connect with us on the platforms below:

Sopra Steria Website: https://www.soprasteria.co.uk/

ELATT Website: https://www.elatt.org.uk/

Sopra Steria Twitter: @SopraSteria_uk

ELATT Twitter: @elattlondon


David Raymond

Innovation Team Lead, Sopra Steria