USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN STRATEGIES: IMPROVING THE REQUIREMENT-GATHERING PROCESS FOR E-LEARNING PRODUCTS ON LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS THROUGH UX WORKSHOPS
Learning management systems that aim to improve the teaching-learning process, have to embrace the change of expectations and learning styles of new generation students, through understanding design and its principles to more effective digital products that enhance the e-learning experience. On the other hand, one of the biggest challenges is to harmonize two large and totally different populations: teachers, people that is not 100% digitized and tends to resist change and students, a population more familiar with digital technology.
In our experience, the most critical part of the process for designing and developing digital tools and apps for e-learning environments, it is the requirement-gathering stage. Requirements were commonly determined on business stakeholders’ meetings, resulting on a never completed list of requirements and products that could highly fail to fulfill user expectations and needs.
To address this problem, on TEC Digital (TD) platform of Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, we propose the requirement-gathering and design process for our learning management systems, in User Experience (UX) design. We aim to build digital products for our users based on their actual needs, products that they really want to use and they feel passionate about and UX design makes it happen. We involve users since the requirement-gathering stage using UX Workshops. An UX Workshop gathers potential users, team members and business stakeholders, to creatively work together ideas and solutions with and specific objective in mind, so the final product suit their needs.
UX workshops are the basis and start of our methodology for design and development of digital tools for e-learning, which in addition to UX design, is based on the concepts Lean Startup Method, approach that allows products to be delivered to users faster and Minimum Viable Product (MVP), from which we evaluate the contribution of the functions generated from the workshops, ensuring that these generate value in return to users, in terms of experience with the minimum effort.
So far, five UX Workshops have been taught at TD, with an average of five activities and a duration of three hours each. The results of these UX workshops are real, deep information about who the users are, what are their needs and expectations of the e-learning digital product, motivations, limitations and even an actual sketch of how they picture the digital product we are working on, improving not only the requirement-gathering process, but the formulation of the design concept itself, significantly streamlining the design and developing processes.