How can we create a student-centered learning experience?
Pearson is one of the largest providers of textbook-based courseware on the market. My of our widely opted offerings, like Mastering and MyLabs, were old, difficult to use and felt like enterprise software. It was created with the instructor in mind, without regard for student’s study habits and needs. We aimed to change that by better understanding student needs and collaborating with students directly.
My role: UX research, Workshop facilitation, UX concept creation
Together with a team of researchers, we set out to local libraries, coffee shops and dorm rooms to observe first-hand how students study and what print and digital materials they use throughout the process. Through this, we identified a few key behaviors where we wanted to focus our efforts:
Referencing notes, textbook, and other items while doing homework
Using study guides to aggregate and synthesize materials for comprehensive exam study
We had students come into our lab with their notebooks, textbooks, planners, and digital tools to walk us through their study and homework processes. In addition to better understanding our students’ mental models, this activity gave us a lot of insight into how students use and organize their physical and digital materials so that we could meet these needs in our digital courseware solutions.
Over the course of several days, as a collective group of designers, researchers and product owners, we reviewed the research and defined themes and How Might We statements to define how we could create an engaging and effective learning experience for our students.
We conducted mapped out user activities, starting with high-level user tasks, and ultimately landed on designing a system personalized to the student that would have two distinct modes: homework and study.
We further validated our hypotheses by conducting a co-design session with students. Students took part in story mapping activities and filled in gaps, and together with our design team, sketched designs for their ideal courseware solution.
After additional testing and refinement of our solution, we defined flows to allow the user to reference content at any time, be alerted to topics they should focus on and create custom study guides.