Prototyping, User Research Pilots and Findings for the BuildmLearn Toolkit

As mentioned in my post in October, we have kicked off this project i.e. BuildmLearn Toolkit – A toolkit for educators to create mobile applications with their customised learning content. Teachers using the toolkit do not require any technical knowledge about mobile application development.

It has been two months since we started the development effort for BuildmLearn Toolkit and I am happy to say that we have a working prototype ready for people to use.

Last month, we carried out some user research activities to validate the concept and if the toolkit would actually be useful to educators. Our target user group was a total of 12 selected educators,including a mix of – teachers from primary school and high school as well as some professors from well known university. Amongst the participants, the teachers from primary and high school were used to teaching science, maths, social studies, art  and computer related subjects. We also had a few participants who used to practice teaching at a university, subjects include graphic design, maths and other engineering subjects.

The teachers were given access to our prototype which would create a basic learning application. The teachers could personalise the application with the learning content from their favourite chapters. We gave them about two weeks of time to explore the BuildmLearn Toolkit and come up with their own learning applications on the topics of their choice.

Some of the members of the our community got the opportunity to talk to these participants personally and interview them.

Here is the summary of our learnings from the conducted user research,

  1. There is a need for a toolkit like this amongst teachers.
  2. Teachers are familiar with the benefits of ‘learning on mobile’ and ‘informal learning’.
  3. Most of the teachers are not familiar with the mobile application development technologies. They however recognise the mobile application trends, app stores and app installation / uninstalling, since they do it for their own phones on a regular basis.
  4. Teachers acknowledged that their students have an easy access to smartphones – either parents lend their phones or there is a family phone or tablet they can use for playing games usually.
  5. Teachers are willing to learn how to use a tool that would create mobile applications for them, rather than coding / developing the application by themselves.
  6. Specific to the feedback on the prototype that was tested:
    • Teachers like the concept of the toolkit and the realise the usefulness for enabling mLearning
    • They really liked how the toolkit offered ready to use templates for customising their learning content
    • Suggestions on the preliminary templates that the toolkit should target were collected
    • Ability to add Multimedia content like images, videos and audio would be great to have

Overall, we sense a positive response from the community of educators (representation of which was our target group). We are very happy about the positive feedback which we received during this user research phase.

Thanks to everyone who contributed has contributed to this project so far right from the ideation, prototyping and user research. There are many tasks and technical challenges that we need to solve to make this toolkit available to educators. We will post further updates here.

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