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Questo

Boosting school children's curiosity and motivation for learning

Work project / 2022

Background

Questo is a tool for developing curiosity, inquisitiveness and the skill of asking questions in school children

Goal

Boost school children's curiosity and motivation for learning 

Role

In this work project, I was responsible for the entire MVP process - from research and ideation, to UX/UI design, user testing, and handoff to development

CONTEXT

Context

🧐 The problem

SCHOOL ISN'T THE MOST EXCITING PLACE.

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Children would rather spend most of their day playing soccer, dancing, running in the park or playing their favorite computer game than attending school.

Can you really blame them? At school, they have no choice but to study subjects they usually don't really like and aren't really interested in.

With time, children tend to lose their desire, interest, and curiosity for learning - making the learning process even more difficult for them (and for their teachers).

🤔 How might we help school children boost their curiosity and motivation for learning?

RESEARCH

Research

📚 Literature review

EXPLORING THE PROBLEM SPACE

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To understand motivation and learning, we conducted a literature review. We explored the problem space by reading articles and research papers, learned and defined how motivation, curiosity, and learning are related.

Curiosity is the interest to learn more about a subject; Motivation is the desire to do something with that information.

Curiosity is an intrinsic motivator that encourages active learning and spontaneous exploration. Thus, curiosity-driven learning and intrinsic motivation are fundamental ingredients for effective education.

Intrinsic motivation

Students feel intrinsic motivation when they feel learning has meaning for them - when it is something they want to do or when it is relevant to their lives and identity

Intrinsic motivation occurs when the learning is interesting, and it is accompanied by feelings of interest, pleasure, freedom, choice, peace, and sometimes even a sense of fulfillment. 

Curiosity

At any age, curiosity stimulates learning and development. It influences the student's connection to what is happening in the classroom, his ability and desire to "survive" the next lesson, and his motivation to be actively involved in learning.

🔎 User research

MEETING SCHOOL TEACHERS & STUDENTS

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We conducted surveys and interviews with teachers and students of various ages (From 5th to 12th grade) to better understand their perceptions of motivation for learning.

45% of students said that learning a new subject is motivated by their interest in it.

A majority of students (55%) believe motivation for learning is their own responsibility, whereas a majority of teachers (55%) believe it is shared between teacher and student.

The lack of motivation is the main factor preventing students from learning certain subjects, according to 30% of students.

Interviews with teachers have revealed that they believe their role goes beyond teaching. Their role is to stimulate, reveal topics to their students.
Their goal is to expose students to new concepts and ideas, motivate them, and stimulate their imaginations and interests.  

Interviews with students revealed they enjoy learning new subjects when they have an interest and when they feel connected to the subject. However, in order to get there, they need someone to push them.

Interviewees' quotes

WHAT DO THEY SAY?

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RON, 6TH GRADE STUDENT

“I am really interested in learning things I don't know. The more I know, the more successful I'll be”

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LILY, PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER

"As a teacher, I want to develop students' motivation, help them become more autonomous, and promote their creativity"

KEY INSIGHTS

01

Lack of motivation

The main reasons students fail to learn a new subject are lack of motivation, boredom, and lack of persistence.

02

Interest is the key

A strong interest in the subject being studied seems to motivate students to learn.

03

Responsibility for motivation

Most students believe that motivation to learn lies in their hands, whereas most teachers believe that it rests with both the teacher and the student.

04

Will to change

Teachers are willing to develop students' motivation, help them become more autonomous, and promote their creativity.

IDEATION

Ideation

💡 Ideation process

PICKING A DIRECTION

Through POV and user journey workshops, we explored both the student's and teacher's perspectives, and realized we needed to produce a solution that would benefit both - primarily within the school's boundaries (but not limited to).

Through a group ideation session, we came up with ideas, thoughts, and directions for an MVP. We decided to develop curiosity and motivation among students through asking questions.

Student's perspective

Asking questions makes the students more invested in their learning — if they care to ask the question, they will be more invested in discovering the answers. It increaes motivation and interest through cognitive curiosity.

The ability for formulate questions promotes curiosity, stimulates further learning, helps to develop creative thinking, expresses personal opinions and interests, and gives legitimacy to uncertainty.

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Teacher's perspective

Students' questions provide a teacher with insight into their previous knowledge and difficulties. 

Additionally, the questions can influence the curriculum: using students' questions in the classroom can be a great way for a teacher to engage students. Lessons may concentrate on answering students' questions, motivating them to learn

DEFINING THE MVP

To validate our findings, we planned our MVP. We identified what features it should have and what the user flow should be.
 

  • Phrase search: Using a free search bar with autocomplete, users can get Wikipedia-based results
     

  • Explore results: Users can explore the search results and related topics, refresh them, or go to Wikipedia to continue reading
     

  • Add questions: Users can add questions to each topic they search for, with or without using the suggested interrogative words
     

  • View questions: Users can view and rate other users' questions

USER TASK FLOW

DESIGN

🎨 Solution design

DESIGNING FOR CHILDREN

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To ensure our solution is suitable for children, we followed these guidelines:

01

Minimal design

Children shouldn't be overloaded with information

02

Use of images and icons

Makes it easier for children to read and comprehend

03

Auto-complete search

Search may be challenging for children, but auto-complete may help

04

Sans-serif fonts

Considered more easily readable when compared to Serif ones

05

Desktop compatible

Since children use computers during class instead of phones

Design

💡 Solution overview

MVP DESIGN

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MAIN FEATURES

Search area

By typing a phrase (for example: Anne Frank) into the search field, the autocomplete results from Wikipedia are displayed.

The original result appears with its image, along with 5 related results based on hyperlinks in the Wikipedia entry summary. 

By hovering over a result, the user will be able to explore the Wikipedia's summary of the entry.

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Questions area

Under "My questions", the user can write new questions about the topic he's researching, and view previous questions he has written.

To write questions, the user can use the question word list. An explanation and example will appear when you hover over each question word.

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Under "All questions", the user can view and rate the questions written by his classmates or search Google directly for the question.

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TESTING

Testing

🕵️ User testing

TESTING THE MVP PROTOTYPE

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As part of the prototype phase, we built a version of the MVP to be tested. We built a functional prototype using the no-code Bubble platform.

Before investing in our next version, we wanted to identify UX frictions, uncover false assumptions, and eliminate as many errors as possible.

In the testing phase, we visited 4 classes - one 4th grade class, two 5th grade classes, and one 6th grade class.

Based on the topic the teacher wanted to cover, we asked the students to complete the following tasks:

  • Find and explore the required topic

  • Add at least one question about the required topic

  • Rate the question you like the most from the questions of your classmates

TESTING INSIGHTS

  • All tasks were successfully completed by the users

  • Users' cooperation was excellent, they were enthusiastic about the tool, and they added a great deal of questions

  • Several users were unclear about the order of actions - first you should search for the phrase, then ask a question about it

  • Users want to be able to respond to each other's questions

  • Users expressed their desire for a more colorful and rich design rather than a minimalist

  • In most cases, users did not notice the Google search button after writing their question

  • Some users missed the option of refreshing the related topics

NEXT STEPS

🤔 Final thoughts

WHAT'S NEXT?

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Adding new features

Following feedback from users, we would like to make corrections to the design and add additional features - suggestions for relevant videos on YouTube, an option to respond to classmates' questions, and a personal notes option.

 

Teacher dashboard

For the teacher to get the most value out of the questions the students write, we are planning to create a dashboard where he/she can see the questions and the complete details of the lesson.

Next project

Festigo

Allowing users to find the music festival of their dreams

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