Before we began designing, within our problem space we did research within different settings with a variety of stakeholders. Our research includes a literature review of existing portfolio practices, directed storytelling from informal and formal organizations, contextual interviews with expert portfolio users, guerrilla research with teachers and students at a STEAM showcase, and an open-ended interview with a private school administrator.
We used a variety of methods to collect the data including guerrilla research, open-ended interviews, contextual interviews, and directed storytelling. We synthesized our data using affinity diagramming and a workflow model techniques.
Through our research, we gathered a variety of insights from students, educators, and administrators on their experiences and needs around project-based learning and documentation. We created proto-personas for our target users to highlight their particular needs, goals and motivations, insights, comparative value dimensions of interest, tools that they utilize, and characteristics of portfolio use.
Each persona is an archetype based on patterns that we observed amongst educators who shared common needs and motivations as well as exhibited differences in accessibility to resources and level of engagement. We will be using these proto-personas to help us understand our users and design for their needs and goals.
As we go into the design space, we want to focus in on the goals, needs, challenges, and opportunities for teachers that use project-based learning in their classrooms. We want to design a platform or tool that helps teach the process of process and reflection in a formal environment. Educators are actively looking for a way to incorporate portfolios and/or documentation into their courses. As more schools begin to incorporate project-based learning into their classrooms, institutions need a way to share their process, exchange ideas, and collaborate effectively between public and private schools as well as informal-learning programs. Students are excited about sharing their work and knowing what other people are doing.