Case Study: Making Learning Fun
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or the FCAT, was the standardized test used in the primary and secondary public schools of Florida. Our team was asked to make the online courses more interesting and engaging to students.
My primary challenge was to come up with ideas that would appeal to children while not distract from their learning.
The grades for our target audiences ranged from 4th grade to 10thgrade. Our team split up the grades with myself and another designer assigned to the younger grades while the other designers handled the older grades. Throughout the project we conducted ethnographic research and user interviews. We went onsite to several schools to watch the kids work on the computers in the school's computer labs.
Insights from our discovery work indicated that many young students are visual learners. If content can be expressed in interesting visual ways, young students have a better chance of grasping new concepts.
If we truly wanted to make a difference in students improving their scores on the standardized testing we needed to:
- break content into smaller chunks
- make art and visual diagrams more in context to the lesson
- provide effective tooltips to help students who may get stuck in certain areas
Instead of wireframing, I opted to sketch my designs in sequential order on paper. I used paper prototyping techniques to bring the designs to life and evaluate them with our users. Thanks to user interviews, we discovered children in our target age group liked anthropomorphic ideas. They liked animals who could talk and other ideas ranging from fantasy to science fiction. I sketched up many ideas based on these findings.
FCAT Explorer was a web-based tool that helped prepare students for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The FCAT Explorer project came to an end in 2010 and is no longer online. I worked on 4th and 5th grade reading comprehension modules. Here are some samples of the final designs along with sketches of original artwork.
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