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Human-centred design for Learning Experiences

Four types of users are expected to enter your eLearning-module. Your job is to adapt the interactive learning and give support to all these user-types. But what characterise the four categories of users?

One of the main features of modern lifelong learning is usability. In an eLearning-module for instance this would mean that the student intuitively would be able to navigate the content, use the tools and other functions available without instructions or help-files. This becomes trickier by the fact that different people choose different paths when they navigate through an eLearning-module. When this is more profoundly analysed four types of users reveal themselves.

The Purposeful

…is fully focused on achieving all the objectives of the curriculum for the module with the highest scores and the most articulate comments. For this user-type it is important to have quantifiable goals and content should be tailored to effectively achieve these goals. The Purposeful want preferably that the end result is linked to an existing standard such as the Council of Europe’s attainment scale for foreign languages.

The Explorer

…wants to receive as much of the content, functionality and tools as possible. Every little corner of eLearning-module ought to be examined and all the tools will be tested. Direct and comprehensive feedback, research information connected to each of the exercises of the module and lexicons are some features that are very welcome for the Explorer. Development of knowledge is the primary objective, while achieving the objectives of the module’s curriculum is a more secondary goal.

The Contactor’s

…main objective is that through dialogue with other learners improve their own skills but also to share their own experiences. Surely, the Contactor also does the various exercises in the module. However, this is done mainly in order to be able to fully participate in the discussion forum, chat, phone or physical meetings. The Contactor use targeted networking in order to reach the best possible result and to meet curriculum objectives.

The Hacker

…is by far the most difficult type of user. The primary goal is to beat the system, find the loopholes, taking shortcuts in order to find the easiest way to reach the end of the course module. In addition, the Hacker uses the communication tools to mislead and sometimes harass other students. Since this user-type is very active with great commitment, the focus should be to inspire to transform into one of the other user-types. By their actions, however, this user-type has a constructive role as an error detector. Especially since an eLearning-module always should be updated, improved and developed.

User-friendliness in focus

The user’s experience of the eLearning-module involves a combination of functionality, interactivity and aesthetics that are crucial for effective learning. The next step is to satisfy the four user-categories preferences. This concerns both the developer/author of an eLearning-module as well as the teacher.

Written by Lars Göran Boström©


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