As a Product Owner, develop a product development framework and vision to create a simpler, streamlined and easily adoptable 2.0 version of the existing FeedbackFruits.
Qualitative research, market research, user journey mapping, user interviews, product vision, features and concept development, usability interviews, backlog grooming, user stories
FeedbackFruits, as a blended learning platform aims to increase interactions among peers and make learning faster, easier and more fun. The main users of this platform are students and teachers. I wanted to understand the target users of this platform on a one to one basis. So, I created a very basic questionnaire and went scouting for a few students in the local library. I got insights about their in-class and outside class activities related to their study from different perspectives. These interviews and information gleaned from them helped me to propose the plan of developing a product development framework.
The roadmap ahead included more in depth interviews with potential users, interviews and working with pedagogical experts, brainstorms with the team, creating different personas to understand needs, and mapping the user’s journey based on the insights which we gathered during the interviews.The journey map would also help us generate ‘seeds’, which were the ideas generated to cater and fulfil the needs which we had come across during the course of our research.
Setting up interviews with teachers to understand the different tasks they do while teaching a course was one of the foremost things in the preliminary research. Teachers with and without experience of teaching with Feedbackfruits/other LMSs were interviewed to understand what are their methods and approaches of setting up a course, taking classes and improving certain activities based on the student engagement and reaction.
Similarly for students, we interviewed students to understand the different learning needs and study habits. We inquired about the their approach towards learning a subject, the activities to understand and learn the subject during a course. Students with and without experience with Feedbackfruits/other LMSs were interviewed to understand how much are they engaged with their platforms. They also talked about helpful and much used features in other non educational digital tools which they used for learning and group activities like whatsapp or facebook groups.
Since the platform’s major users would be teachers and students, we created Personas based on our interactions with teachers and students to guide our idea generating process in future.
The teacher persona
The teachers perform a plethora of tasks as educators, course managers, observers as well as counsellors. Based on our observations and interviews, we created a persona to represent teachers who were ready to experiment and innovate with their teaching styles, content and methods. And another persona which represented teachers who were scared of changing current order of tools, lectures and methods in favour of new possibilities.
The student persona
As much as one would like to categorise students into a few kinds, they all have different styles and ways of learning. To be able to deal with a data in a manageable manner we thought of students as the intrinsically motivated or the extrinsically motivated. Intrinsically motivated are the ones who learn for the sake of learning and acquiring new knowledge. The extrinsically motivated ones are the ones interested in what it will bring to them in the future, namely a diploma which will further lead them to a job prospect.
We mapped experiences of our personas, two teachers and two students on their journey of an acadmic course. The journey was divided into main sections of:
- Before the course
- During the course
- Before the exam
- After the exam
The during the course section was further divided into before course, during the class and after the class to understand these three phases in detail and chalk out opportunities which we can design for.
On the vertical axis, the journey mapped what they felt( FEELING), what they thought( THINKING), and what they did (DOING) in the different stages of teaching or studing a course.
Needs and Seeds generation
Brainstorms were organised to elaborate on the essential needs of our users we had to fulfil and what were the different ways to achieve them. The team developed ideas based on the user needs we formulated through these maps and then mapped them in below the relevant section in the journey map.
The seeds were also generated keeping in mind the educational goals which were contributed by the educational expert in the team.
The Product Development Framework
Creating exhaustive journey maps of students and teachers, provided an overview of what we wanted to create as the next platform. The formulation of a vision seemed to be a logical next step and then a strategy to achieve the vision.
Keeping the vision as the core, I created a model which encapsulated our insights and user needs in the current higher education scenario and the broad concepts which would help us reach our goal of fulfilling the user needs and create a delightful and useful product. Universities were included as a third stakeholder as they play a very fundamental role in our product ecosystem by being the main customers.
This model also helped us to align our further development while writing the user stories and design sprints to the needs.