Strategic Content Moderation for Sustained Growth at Outschool

Author: Andrea Okonkwo

Outschool operates an online education marketplace connecting independent teachers with students for small group classes on diverse topics ranging from math and science to languages, arts, and more.

Challenge: The Scaling Dilemma

Despite its groundbreaking educational approach, Outschool faced a significant operational hurdle: a backlog of over 7,000 teacher applications and new class listings, all awaiting review within just one week. The platform’s commitment to providing high-quality, safe, and appropriate educational content necessitated a rigorous screening process to ensure all teachers possess the requisite subject matter expertise and experience with children. However, this backlog resulted in inconsistent vetting decisions, review delays spanning weeks, and mounting frustrations among applicants. More troublingly, it raised concerns over unchecked listings and under-qualified teachers gaining access, posing risks around child safety and class quality control.

Additionally, Outschool’s overall goal was to maintain a rapid response time, addressing all new applications and class listings within 24 hours—a daunting task given the volume of submissions. Needing a better solution to keep up with demand, Outschool partnered with Hugo. Tristram Hewitt, Outschool’s Head of Operations, reflected: “We’ve relied on Hugo for customer service outsourcing, and our synergy with frontline support made it a natural decision to scale up our partnership to address our content moderation challenges.”

Crafting a Tailored Solution: Hugo’s Custom Approach for Outschool

Through a meticulously designed and implemented strategy, Hugo helped Outschool overcome its immediate operational hurdles and established a scalable, sustainable model for ongoing content moderation and teacher vetting.

Assembling an Expert Review Team: Understanding the nuanced requirements of Outschool’s educational content, Hugo formed a specialized team of experienced and qualified educators. These subject matter experts were equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to assess the suitability of prospective teachers and the proposed class content. This approach ensured that every application and class listing was reviewed with a critical, expert eye, guaranteeing that only the most qualified educators and appropriate content would be approved.

Designing a Customized Approval Rubric: In collaboration with Outschool, Hugo developed a comprehensive approval rubric. This rubric standardized the evaluation process for teacher applications and class listings, ensuring every decision upheld Outschool’s high quality and child safety standards. By standardizing these criteria, Hugo streamlined the vetting process while maintaining the integrity and educational value of Outschool’s offerings.

This dual focus on efficiency and excellence allowed Hugo to effectively address Outschool’s backlog, swiftly processing thousands of applications and class listings. “Hugo’s approach didn’t just meet our expectations,” Hewitt explained. “It redefined them, proving that even the most daunting challenges can be turned into opportunities for innovation and growth.”

Hugo's approach didn't just meet our redefined them, proving that even the most daunting challenges can be turned into opportunities for innovation and growth

Key Metrics: Driving Quality at Scale

Efficient Processing and Review Times
  • Teacher Applications: To date, Hugo has reviewed 25,000+ teacher applications, achieving a median response time of 40 minutes, with an average handling time of only 3 minutes, well below the 6-minute goal.
  • Class Approval Requests: Hugo has processed more than 215,000 requests. With a median response time of 30 minutes and an average handling time of 1 minute, Hugo surpassed the 4-minute target.
High Standards of Quality
  • Quality Reviews: Utilizing the Klaus quality tool, Hugo achieved a 97% approval rate for teacher applications and a 70% approval rate for class listings, indicating a high level of quality in the review process.


Hugo’s collaboration with Outschool illustrates the transformative power of effective outsourcing in tackling operational challenges: “Hugo’s content moderation work extended even to bolstering our digital presence,” Hewitt detailed. “They moderated over 10,000 pieces of social media content in just two months! All of their efforts have remained aligned with our core values of creating a positive learning environment.” By leveraging specialized expertise and a tailored approach, Hugo enabled Outschool to overcome its backlog, streamline its vetting process, and maintain the high standards that define its educational offerings, ensuring Outschool’s continued growth and its ability to offer enriching learning experiences in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

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