December 2023 Product Update

2 months ago

tl;dr: Thanks for all of your support so far! Please help test the new "Learn anything" feature.

When I started RubberDuck in May this year, I wanted to help software engineers by creating the tool I wish I had when I started. "Rubber duck debugging" has helped me solve a lot of bugs - basically, the Socratic method - and I had a hunch on how to use it to teach coding skills.

The idea was that short quizzes, gamified and progressively difficult, can help you learn better than reading a textbook or documentation. This is still RubberDuck’s core thesis today.

Building an MVP was simple, but quickly I realized creating an educational course is a difficult endeavor. The GPT3.5 API had just been released, and I experimented with using it to generate courses. It worked! Over the summer, I concentrated on gathering user feedback, iterating, marketing the idea, and leaping over setbacks.

Somewhere along the way, I tried using the tool I built to learn some math instead of code… and it was awesome. I realized that I was holding the concept back to “niche down”, when in reality this technology could be used to learn anything, and fast!

I was nervous to pivot again. Over the summer, I tried a few marketing experiments that did okay but distracted me from building the core product. This feels different though: it’s too good not to share, so much so that I’m waking up excited to show people.

So today, I want to share what I’m so stoked on: the next iteration of RubberDuck: learn anything.

Learn over 200 topics

From Physics to Business, there is something for everyone. All of the same Software Engineering courses are still available, with more on the way!

RubberDuck now supports over 20 fields of study, each with their own set of courses:

Improved gamification

Learning a bit every day dramatically increases how effective your time spent is. RubberDuck now has Streaks, which help you remember to practice every day! They're as simple as they sound - if you take a lesson every day, the streak goes up - but have been found to be ultra effective in learning efficacy.

Learning can be hard, and mistakes are a natural part of the process. After feedback that running out of Hearts was slowing some people down, RubberDuck now has Stars which you can use to refill your Hearts. You can claim Stars by completing daily Quests like simply finishing lessons.

RubberDuck uses gamification not just to make learning fun, but also more effective. Spaced Repetition, Consistency Bias, and Visual Progress all are proven to help you learn better. RubberDuck is fun, but also helps you use your learning time more effectively!

Polished experience

A janky experience can slow down your learning. Over just the last month, hundreds of changes and thousands of lines of code have gone into simplifying and polishing the user experience on RubberDuck.

Login with Google is now available, with Apple and Microsoft login planned soon.

The only thing holding you back from learning is giving RubberDuck a shot :~)

A bigger mission

Now with more powerful technology, the RubberDuck mission is larger too:

Help humanity learn anything, as fast as possible, for free.

How would a utopian society teach itself? How could the world look if education was not a boundary, either by privilege or difficulty? What could we achieve if everyone understood quantum physics?

What’s next?

Web-based RubberDuck is a minimum viable product. People are on their phones, and mobile web lacks some key features that would make learning more fun and engaging. RubberDuck's next step is a mobile app, which should be fully baked early 2024.

If you’d like to beta test the app, get in touch and we’ll get you on the list!

You know who you are

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who’s supported me this year. I couldn’t have launched this iteration without your encouragement and help. I truly appreciate the countless favors everyone has done for me this year. I owe you one.


Click here to learn anything