Before sketching my ideas, Andrea suggested that it would be beneficial for me to create personas of users that I would expect to use my app. This would give me a better idea of how to shape the experience for a variety of learners and try and meet their specific needs.
Fortunately, on the Tuesday (26th of January) we had a workshop with Drew Hemment called Outreach and Impact in Interaction and Product Design which was centred around designing effective engagement and communication for our project work. As preparation for the workshop, Drew had us create personas for either a user, audience or stakeholder in our projects. He wanted us to create personas with a variety of details including:
- Interest - what relevance does your project have to them?
- Stake - Describe any relationship in your project
- Needs - What needs or requirements does this user have for your project?
- Technical/Research literacy - How literate is this user with research/technology?
With this in mind, I created my 3 personas for my project.
Bright Beginners are confident learners who are very self directed when it comes to their own personal learning. As a result, they need an experience where learnt knowledge can be applied as they learn to reinforce this new knowledge. As they are fast learners, they need the basics explained clearly but should have no restrictions on the pace of their learning. They would also appreciate no restrictions on what they learn and when, as they want more control of the direction of their learning. Bright Beginners usually have a clear learning goal in mind and want to achieve their goal as quickly as possible before setting a new one. If they reach a particular topic that they are unfamiliar with and are struggling with, they will need clear communication channels that provide straightforward answers to get them back on track.
Anxious Amateurs are users who are traditionally used to formal education and are unfamiliar with self-directed study. As a result they are more anxious about using this type of service and may need more reassurance and guidance on where to go next than other users. They need the basics clearly explained and maybe subtle guidance on where to go next to reach their learning goal - as Anxious Amateurs do have a learning goal they would be more at ease knowing which specific path they will need to take to reach their goal. Like other users, if they reach content they are unfamiliar with they will require clear communication channels to access help and require straight forward answers to their problems.
Free Fledglings are confident in their abilities to moderate their own self learning but are more interested in using the service recreationally as opposed to a serious learning tool. As a result these users would prefer no restrictions on what and when they learn about topics - preferring to 'browse' content at their own leisure. They are not looking to apply their newly learnt knowledge necessarily. Free Fledglings have no learning goal in mind and are using the experience purely to satisfy natural curiosity they have about topics and are willing to see where this interest takes them. Since they are working on their own timescale there is no pressure for them to achieve their eventual learning goal and will opt in and out of the service when desired. Likewise, they will unlikely utilise communication systems to find answers - if they struggle with topic they are more likely to move on or abandon the topic. They may however use the communication systems as a social tool.