Developing new student personas for successful teaching and learning design
Linked to the theme of empowerment in Learning Technology, this interactive session will present insights from an in-depth consultation with distance learning students on their ‘Learning Habits, Top Tips and “Study Hacks”’ and discuss the implications of this kind of research on the development of learning and teaching material, pedagogies, tools and services. Analysis of the consultation, which focused on student behaviour rather than preferences, has identified five key personas that have exciting implications for understanding student study behaviours and success. This session will explore the personas, their attendant behaviour, and consider the positive and negative impact of this kind of research.
In this session we will demonstrate the conceptual framework on which the consultation was based, and contextualise it within a broader strategy to include the student voice in curriculum design. The consultation survey was administered to 130 distance learning students. The five personas have been identified through a thematic analysis of the rich mix of qualitative and quantitative data gathered through the consultation. They are:
The Digital Connector
Wants online interaction with others
Wants university online interaction functionality beyond current provision
The Digital Seeker
Seeks out digital information, uses websites beyond university module, outside university
Digital as Clutter
States that website is too cluttered; too much digital info
Digital as Distraction
Switches off device or app, closes tabs onscreen; avoids online interaction
Can’t access internet when required; connectivity issues affect studies
These categories will be introduced in more detail in the session, with supporting data around behaviour and motivation, and conference participants will have the opportunity to take part in an interactive poll to answer questions about their own digital attitudes.
The supporting data includes evidence around:
- Priority when organising study sessions
- Types of notes and reasons for making notes
- Quoting, referencing, bookmarking and re-finding information
- Study location
Some of the key questions that have emerged, and will be discussed in the session, include:
How do we balance user requirements with potential learning gain?
Are labels useful, or limiting in themselves?
How can we test our assumptions about study behaviours?
The session will conclude with an exploration of the potential application of this research and pose the question: is it possible to design for student success?
Digital and information literacy framework (2012) The Open University [Online]. Available at http://www.open.ac.uk/libraryservices/subsites/dilframework/. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
McGill, L., Beetham, H. and Gray, T. (2016) What makes a successful online learner? Findings of the Digital Student Online learners’ expectations of the digital environment, Bristol, Jisc.
Toetenel, L. and Rienties, B. (2016) Analysing 157 Learning Designs Using Learning Analytic Approaches as a Means to Evaluate the Impact of Pedagogical Decision Making. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(5), 981-992.
Vince, D. and Ellis, E. (2016), Students enabling TEL innovation: a pilot, The Open University.