experience design & strategy
for IMMERSIVE In-CLass Learning Experience
ELA Quest: DECLARE YOURSELF
Amplify Education sought to develop a series of the new type of learning experience called ELA QUEST for middle school ELA with appropriate use of technology. Our Quest team challenge to create next product around the topic of American Independence.
Every Quest project, we ask ourselves
What do we love about this text, and how can we get students to love it, too?”
We sought to build an experience that enables students to genuinely tap into how people experience the time of independence.
I was a part of the Quest team formed by front-end web developers, back-end developers, playwrights, designers/illustrators and digital prototypers. My duties were to help defining the ideation process, facilitating co-creation workshops, designing concept, building prototypes, overseeing user experience design, leading usability research, synthesising research findings, working with developers for design implementation. For this Declare Yourself Quest project, I took a role as a design lead to help defining overall product strategy, visual/ux design, art direction for 3D designer.
There were four main parts of interface that students need go back and forth. Challenge was that interface is intertwined and it was difficult to intuitively understand which part of interface screen students are at each moment.
Phase 1: Research & Ideation
Based on each assigned book(s) or text resources, playwrights would come up with few pitch ideas. Then, multi-disciplinary team members meet and participate in co-creation workshops that I lead. Through ideation workshops, we explore various ideas and define direction for research exploration.
phase 2: TECH RESEARCH
Then, technologist team, designer team, writer team separately work on research phase to further develop concept and feasible technology to implement. It is important to note that we paid great attention to no wifi connectivity in classrooms and our solution must work within this restriction. With this restriction in mind, we conduct tech research.
phase 3: Paper Prototype
Based on in-progress learning concept, we design paper prototypes and conduct paper-based usability tests to examine effectiveness of learning contents. We then synthesize feedbacks and observation, determined further improvements.
phase 4: field research at the american independence hall
As part of the research for both learning experience, visual strategy / ux strategy, I made a trip to the American Independence Hall to get in touch with the real historical artifacts. This enabled me and our team to imagine authentic visual design direction.
phase 5: building VISUAL strategy / Product branding direction
During this phase, we developed visual language through mood board, concept sketch, then final illustration.
Phase 5: exploring user experience strategy
We explored various UX strategy about how user would navigate the digital space during the Quest.
Phase 6: Wireframe and digital prototyping
We explored various UX strategy about how user would navigate the digital space during the Quest. I decided to use drawer as main UI navigation to visit four main parts of the interface.
Phase 7: USABILITY TESTING
We conduct series of usability testing throughout the development process. After having a digital working prototype, we either visit schools or invite students to conduct test to measure their engagement, level of learning and usability of digital products.
Phase 8: Final Design & product introduction
The Declare Yourself! Quest is intended to pose the same question to students as that which confronted the Second Continental Congress: Should we sign this declaration or not? To find the answer, students have the opportunity to adopt the identities of various delegates from the Second Continental Congress. Through the course of the lesson, students assume each delegate’s position on the debate and try to win over their opponents using evidence, argument, and teamwork. In this Quest, students work independently and in small groups to create well-formulated positions from an ample selection of primary source documents. Students must defend their opinions in front of the class with opinion pieces intended to recreate the energetic debates from the time period of the American Revolution.
Walk Through of the app
This product brings students together for an immersive team experience that feels so much like a game, they won’t notice how much they’re learning. Students collaborate to solve mysteries and make sense of historical events. This week-long narrative lesson plans build on the literacy skills students have been developing in traditional lessons while shaking up classroom routines and allowing students to take the lead.
Quests are dramatic.
During the week of a Declare Yourself Quest, students take on new roles and new goals. Amplify ELA aims to create fresh motivations for students by connecting each classroom activity to an exciting situation that the class needs to solve together. Quests encourage all students to take new risks and engage more deeply with their work and with each other.
Quests create new connections.
Declare Yourself Quest is intended to serve as a jumping-off point, providing students with the opportunity and incentive to delve more deeply into in a new field of study. Quests are packed with a variety of content-rich texts and other media, allowing students the autonomy to explore texts as dictated by their curiosity both inside and out of class. The lesson plans provide students the space to create personal relationships with the texts they’ve chosen, so as to give them keys to new bodies of knowledge.
Quests are collaborative.
Declare Yourself Quest create multifaceted opportunities for students to interact in pairs, groups and together as a whole class. Discussions, both in-character and out-of-character within the contexts of the works they read, are critical to each lesson, and students are encouraged to cooperate to achieve their goals.
This project taught me a deep insight into designing an appropriate design process. The most relevant lessons as a designer were the following:
regular design thinking process didn’t work
Initially, we approached with normal design thinking process by conducting the design research to understand who and how students are. Design research on students does not mean it would provide significant insights into what product we need to build.
Instead of starting with design research, we internally develop exciting ideas and brought in front of teachers and students. What we realised is those excellent movies are not born out of design research, but rather from strong passion and energy from a movie director. Much like a movie director or scenario writer pitch ideas about overall experience, we employed the power of playwrights to come up with great storytelling.
Designers, technologists all then collaborate to refine further or change for a better course to develop exciting learning experience.
“immersive” means different from rest of digital products.
Another valuable lesson is that constraint of Wifi connectivity helped us to be creative. We naturally came up with a fusion of printed materials and digital materials that don’t require connectivity, and we decided to rely on students for most ‘interaction.’ We learned that ‘immersive’ in learning experience does not mean to immerse yourself into the digital screen, but rather, engage yourself in the learning. So by design, we intentionally design the digital product are a catalyst for human interaction.