Testing our Design Ideas

This week we had our first user testing. We quickly put together two user testing plans for both of our design ideas and split the time up with the user to test both of our designs.

Career Management Module

For the career management module we developed a digital prototype and presented the user with tasks and questions regarding our design. Below is a description of our objective for our user testing:


  • What are the user reactions to the e-learning information prototypes
  • Does the module design engage learners and sustain their interest?
  • Is the design of these modules appropriate for use across majors for WGU students?
  • Are the modules easy to update or recontextualize?

We observed the user as he progressed through the module and took notes on his behaviors and where he got confused. We also asked him to complete some of the exercises and activities to see if the questions we were asking were an appropriate level for the students.

Screenshot of the entry point for our module

Design Implications from the User:

The user we tested with was already familiar with the contents of the module, so he didn’t find the content all that helpful or relevant to him, however, he was able to provide some valuable insight into the layout and design of the module. One thing he brought up was being able to skip certain sections of the module he might have already completed. Another important design implication was being able to come back to the goal he had set during this course. From the module, there did not seem to be an easy way to do that, so he was interested in the initial dashboard idea where he could update his goals and track his progress.

WGU student doing a contextual inquiry and card-sorting activity

Learning to Learn Tool

Since we pivoted our design direction for our L2L tool, we had some questions about how the user interacted with WGU’s current interface. We also designed activities to help understand what students value in terms of their own learning habits and peer’s learning habits. The protocol for the interview was as follows:

Step One: Please show us how you take course through WGU system?

The first part of the learning to learn user testing was to observe how the user navigated the WGU system. We asked him to show us how he interacted with the interface and walk us through how we would access and navigate his coursework.

Step Two: How do you evaluate yourself?

The second question we had for the user was how he evaluated his learning? He used a variety of strategies such as looking at the rubric for performance assessments and taking the assessment to figure out where he was in his learning.

Step Three: Which types of data do you find useful?

Using a card-sorting activity we had a the users rank the different types of data they would like to see :

  1. The time in total you spent on your study per day/week/month ( e.g. the time you review the video lecture, reading materials,.etc.)
  2. The time you spent on each course you are taking per day/week/month.
  3. The number of assignments you have finished on time. The number of assignments you missed the due time.
  4. The frequency you requested the help from your course mentors through the course.
  5. The average time you would spend to complete one specific task/assignment.
  6. The learning strategies that your peer think are most useful for specific course.

Step four: Activity: draw a mind map

One of our design ideas was to help students better reflect on their learning by letting them draw a mind map of their course. We had concepts and elements of a course a WGU student would take and the user make a mind map of the course. We observed the user while doing this and asked him if he found this helpful for his studies. He thought it would be most helpful to see how other students mapped out and connected concepts to the course.

Moving Forward

Next week we plan on iterating on our designs and conducting another round of user testing.

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