Team Violet Project – Our Prototype

I’ve just had my TMA03 marked, my third assignment in the H817 module, Openness and Innovation in eLearning and am thrilled with the mark so excuse me whilst I do a little celebration dance!

But more than just the mark, this has been my favourite block of the Masters in Online and Distance Education as it involved a group project.

In a team of four, we were tasked with creating a learning application or content, exploring local history using mobile and/or social technology.

Unfortunately, our fourth member was unable to take part due to a sudden family illness, so the three of us undertook the brief with six weeks to complete and document our process, and create a prototype of our idea.

Throughout the design process we created a team site to display our approaches, activities and our final prototype, Please do visit the website at https://sites.google.com/view/h817-19b-violet-team/home

A screenshot of our Prototype

The main objective and educational aim of our project was to produce an activity-based app that allowed foreign students in the UK learn and improve English language skills in a practical way whilst learning about, and engaging with, local history via mobile and social media technology.

Our target audience was foreign students studying in the UK who may or may not be formally studying English.  During group discussion we agreed encouraging participants to undertake activities in this context would be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Encourage exploring the local environment with purpose and encourage engagement with others both at the historical site and online.
  • Expose participants to different and colloquial English language both spoken and written.
  • Offer activities suited to a wide range of language ability.
  • Create an application that was non-linear and endless to allow for follow up, continual usage, and growth.
  • Allow participants with different degrees of confidence in using a social platform to partake and expand their comfort zone.

I undertook the role of media manager and instructional designer, though as a team we were highly collaborative in all activities that were given us as part of the learning design process.

In terms of theoretical framework we used Connectivism and Constructionism, further details of which you can find on our team website.

On the completion of our storyboards and a meeting, I amalgamated the storyboards and our decisions to build on my initial Pidoco wireframe to create an interactive prototype. This was my first time using Pidoco and I really enjoyed it and will definitely use it again.

I then created a video walkthrough of the prototype which you can view here (closed captioning available):

Team Violet Prototype Walkthrough

And you can try the prototype out yourself:

https://pidoco.com/rabbit/result/view/283091/page350834731/plain

Personally, the project helped me understand the importance of creating personas as part of learning design. Whilst at the time of the persona activity we decried it as a team as ‘overkill’, at the storyboarding and prototype design stage we came back to the personas frequently. They focused my mind on how the design would be viewed and experienced from the participants viewpoint which would be inherently different to my personal experience (Malamed, 2009).

Having never used Pidoco before, using it was both a practical learning but also a further insight into the importance of storyboarding and wireframing, rather than jumping into final product creation. I have experienced being asked for rapid prototyping or immediate creation in the corporate training field and understand from communications within the instructional design community this is very often the case. In my opinion, this risks undermining the final product and hoped for objectives.

In reviewing the prototype as a team, we evaluated that it presented a strong skeleton for a final app and if pursuing further would spend time on the provision and context of in-app resources for participants, ensuring the technology was adaptive, the language contextualised, and explanatory feedback was being achieved which echoes the finding of Heil et al (2016) during their study of mobile language learning applications.

I really enjoyed working with my teammates and am very proud of what we achieved, especially in the time frame.

I hope you find the prototype and project interesting and welcome any feedback.

Resources:

Heil, C., Wu, J., Lee, J. and Schmidt, T. (2016). A Review of Mobile Language Learning Applications: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities. The EuroCALL Review, 24(2), p.32.

Malamed, C. (2009). Learner Personas for Instructional Design. [online] The eLearning Coach.

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