Once we know the outcomes of our design, we need to consider for whom we design?
The best designed products clearly considered the end user in the design process. When a product is designed for the end user, the user experience is seamless and intuitive. Whether you love or hate Apple products, the end user was considered. I remember having to have my old PC’s power cord in just the right spot so that charging would occur. What did Apple do? Magnet!
Good design for the user (I fully expect rebuttal on this point from Russ).
Unfortunately, some teachers do not consider their end users (e.g. students). Take lecture-based teaching for example. If your teaching would look the same whether students were there or not, you might not be considering your end user.
If students are our end users, what do we need to know about them as we begin designing learning experiences? Any good designer knows that if a product is too far removed from the user’s experience or, the product won’t sell. Remember the Apple Newton? So, if our lesson is too far removed from student experience and/or knowledge, the lesson is likely to miss our target audience. This is where focus group testing (e.g. formative assessment) becomes important. We need to know what our end users know and are able to do so we can use their assets in our design. Even students’ misconceptions become a foothold into their thinking we can use to help them navigate the conceptual terrain.
If they know their end users and understand the intended outcomes, designers have to deal with constraints. Educators tend to focus on superficial constraints related to cost and time. While these are important, there are other constraints to consider that we’ll explore in the coming posts. Subscribe to the right to ensure you receive the rest of the posts in this series.