Advances in education technology, or edtech, come from a change in approach in the face of shortcomings. Innovative educational technology can adapt existing tools or create new tools to help people overcome barriers to learning.
King of the Curve (KOTC) is a disruptive edtech startup that is all set to help address the growing shortage of doctors. KOTC combines sports and social strategies to help science students score better on medical school entrance exams and related challenges. The company is also developing productivity-style apps to help health care workers in the field better manage the challenges of medical treatment.
Heather Rutledge-Jukes founded the company to pursue a career in psychology before focusing on becoming a surgeon. He is now a medical student at Washington University School of Medicine.
Before entering medical school, however, he took an unlikely detour to put his science skills to use as a software developer. Rutledge-Jucks transitioned from designing instructional strategies for people with dyslexia to creating a series of exam preparation apps for medical school applicants.
KOTC does not copy other self-learning products and is not based on typical learning app thinking.
“People have their own learning paths. Education should be based on that. It’s not just cookie-cutter templates for everyone,” Rutledge-Jukes told TechNewsWorld.
The app is optimized for user performance
That philosophy is evident in his educational path. As a psychology major, Rutledge-Jukes researched various teaching methods. His research focused primarily on using video games to learn valid skills such as eye-hand coordination, strategic thinking, critical thinking, and more.
After graduating from college, he designed learning tools for children with dyslexia. That effort included the creation of tactile devices for young students to better understand and retain information.
Unlike other learning tools, KOTC does not become routine or less useful to users due to over-familiarity. Instead, the app adapts to the user’s performance so that they can improvise, not just memorize predetermined answers.
The King of the Curve app uses game-based elements to help students study for the Medical School Entrance Exam. Its features include Adaptive Question Bank, Review Mode, Endless Mode, Timed Mode and Multiplayer Mode. (Photos courtesy of King of the Curve)
Educational apps may remain without updates for extended periods. Or they rely on rote learning strategies, which limit progress to the test of learning. “It makes users more desperate to try something else,” Rutledge-Jukes said.
make a better mousetrap
Rutledge-Jucks launched KOTC in 2020 with a focus on preparing students for the Medical School Admissions Test, known as the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. Test prep for admission to medical schools was a logical starting point for his company’s first educational app. The developer was already well aware of its contents.
“That’s how we started. That was the seed to put together this app to help people qualify for various tests,” he said.
KOTC’s mission, as its founders see it, is simple: to turn student stress into success. In this way the student of today becomes the professional of tomorrow.
Solving a National Medical Crisis
KOTC’s unique strategy for preparing students for the MCAT is helping it accept more applicants in its own way. It could take up to 10 years to train competent physicians, according to 2022 AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, in a Leadership Viewpoint column.
In its report released in June 2021, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projected that the US faces a shortfall of 37,800 physicians – and 124,000 within 12 years. Preventing “game over” for Doctor Optimistic.
Routledge-Jukes said that 60% of people who apply to medical school are not accepted. Applicants are three times more likely to attend medical school if they score above 510 on the MCAT, and it is the only part of the med school application that is standardized.
KOTC has an impressive success rate in helping applicants score high marks. The score range for the MCAT is 472 to 528 for the four-part written test. The scores of the four sections are added to form the total score. The midpoint is 500.
The KOTC development team is staffed by people who are intimately familiar with the MCAT testing process. To be hired, they must score in the 99th percentile.
The app developer also meets that standard, which makes sense from the app user’s point of view. Rutledge-Jucks took the MCAT and scored well “above the curve,” so she’s well-versed in its content. To start with, he handled most of the query silo and app building tasks himself.
“I consider myself a tech founder in that sense as well. Not just tech on the content side, but tech on the development side,” he offered.
He built most of the early apps and taught himself app programming when the pandemic shut down. He started the KOTC project with the help of two co-founders and an angel investor. One of his primary jobs now, while still attending medical school, is leading the team.
Since earning more revenue by adding in-app features, he has been able to engage more workers. Once users are in the app, they can purchase customizations and additional upgrades.
His company’s staff fluctuates between two to 10 full-time and part-time employees, who either excel in the testing content areas or app building. This includes four interns, two content specialists and two developers.
“We are definitely expanding the team as we grow. Right now, we are about to open an investment round to expand the team even further,” said Rutledge-Jukes.
Test Prep Course Inventory
KOTC’s learning lineup now offers test prep apps for a range of professional entrance exams, with more updates to come. Staff includes students and researchers in each test preparation area. They maintain high level content.
The primary course list includes the Medical School Entrance Examination for Nursing Examination (NCLEX), the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT) and the Registered Dietitian Examination (RDE) for the Master’s Examination.
According to Rutledge-Jukes, the company plans to expand into two other high-pressure academic test preparation areas: the LSAT for law school candidates and the Bachelor of Accounting (BACC) entrance exam.
To provide a more all-inclusive option for future users, the company plans to expand its existing website as a home base for online learning, apart from offering Test Prep through a mobile app. Yes, Rutledge-Jukes agreed.
Apps are now available for Android, iPhone and iPad devices. However, some are not available on all three platforms.
for established medical professionals
The ongoing purpose of KOTC is to help students and entry-level health care professionals enhance their knowledge. It is now also catering to the needs of already established practitioners. These other app categories address a much broader range of content and target specific business areas that are mostly medical-related.
For example, current procedural terminology (CPT) aims to improve the patient experience with medical providers at the bedside. A team of pre-medical students devised their intuitive technique to limit barriers for patients in discussing the finances involved in important medical decisions.
One of the latest is the Rutledge-Jukes Telecatalyst, due to be introduced in March 2022. This app specifically caters to the needs of medical personnel in Tanzania who require a data collection and telehealth app.
Regenerative Pain and Spine App is also under development for medical support. Anesthetists will use it to generate reports about their patients to record blood pressure, machine checks and patient information during surgery.
Simplify the process with deep learning
According to the developer, med school candidates have few options besides taking industry-standard tests or paying the higher tuition associated with hiring tutors.
“We have designed our app to promote a sports and social element as all these students are going through the same process. As soon as they move on, they should be in the same team,” Rutledge-Juks said.
Some 7,000 questions built into this all-in-one MCAT study game are divided into six categories: biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and behavioral science.
“We basically leave all the questions up to the user in the beginning. We’re able to provide people with the product if they can’t subscribe at all. They can still use it and still prepare effectively.” Huh.’
But the add-on lets students maximize their effectiveness by zeroing in on specific parts of the test, he said. The app recommends videos to watch and points students to particular parts of the study guide based on the accuracy of the answers.
Another benefit of KOTC is the comment section on individual questions where people can explain their rationale. Test Prep challenges students to compare section-by-section scores to other users as they go through the program.
“This is an oversimplification, but we also have monthly competitions between schools. For example, every March, we mimic March Madness, but we do it with schools across the United States, and their users compete with theirs. Will improve,” the developer explained.
covering all bases
KOTC is built on a holistic picture of edtech, including elements from adaptive learning fields. Competency based education is also an important element.
“I think competency-based learning is the future of education,” Rutledge-Jucks said. “Once you have the foundation, it hits these checkboxes.”
King of the Curve is available on Google Play and the App Store.