Cordova app for taking exams on a tablet in a forest
Inverde is part of the Agency for Nature and Forests of the Flemish Government. They are market leader in the field of training in forest, border and nature management. In Flanders, Inverde is responsible for taking theoretical and practical exams that contribute to obtaining the European Chainsaw Certificate (ECC). This certificate helps people to find a job in the nature sector. Several European countries hand out the certificate based on standardized exams.
In the fall of 2016, we created a new mobile tablet application with a backend that can be used for taking both theoretical and practical exams in the forests. What do those exams conclude? Think of taking care of trees, using a chainsaw and operating a brush cutter.
Those who would like to take the exam - or their employers - can subscribe online. The application adds them to the calendar. Every morning, the examiners download their personal schedule before hitting the road. In the forest, beyond the reach of mobile data traffic, examiners can immediately enter the results of the exams in the app as soon as the test is finished.
Candidates can take the theoretical part of the test online in advance, or on location on the tablet before the start of the practical exam.
We developed the mobile app based on Cordova. What's the advantage? It becomes possible to make the app available for iOS as well as Android. From a Drupal 8 based backend, the app synchronizes exam questions and data of the candidates. The data is stored locally, so that the agency can test the candidates offline, on location in the woods.
All the answers and comments of examiners on the practical exam are saved offline on the mobile device. When the device connects to the internet again, the stored data are sent to the backend.
Administrative employees from Inverde can create certificates and follow-up emails from the backend.
When creating the UI, we paid a lot of attention to the usability of the screens. After all, the candidates have to be able to take their theoretical test in the open air, and they have to see results and tips based on their answers immediately.
We designed the architecture of the application in such a way that it can already manage different types of exams - for various devices - and for different countries. We also advises Inverde on how to create a proper business model that helps to roll out the application to other certification authorities in other European countries.