In reviewing the Empathy methods as described in the Bootcamp Bootleg (Stanford University Institute of Design, 2016) and the Design Kit (IDEO, 2015), I believe that a combination of Composite Character Profiles and Group Interviews would be the best path forward for me in my quest to empathize with the adult students of my school board.
My design challenge revolves around the lack the of preparation and knowledge that the adult students in my organization have towards hybrid (blended) courses. Hybrid learning was originally introduced as a more flexible delivery method recognizing that adult continuing education students seeking to complete their secondary school courses have different responsibilities and backgrounds than standard high school students. They often have families to take care of and part-time or full-time work that they must attend to. By allowing these students to take some of their learning online, it was believed they would have an easier time to balance their school life with their other responsibilities. For the majority of students, this is the case. Unfortunately, for others it seems that new barriers are raised that include lack of technical skill to navigate an online environment and an overall lack of buy-in to this method of learning.
Currently I have 2 sets of data in the form of focus group interviews and pre/post course surveys. The breadth of information that I have access to is vast and I hope I can make the most use out of it. From the focus group interviews, I have spoken with many students about their successes, challenges, and suggestions to how hybrid learning can be improved; from the learning management system to the general course overall. By going straight to the students, I have learned first-hand how students are accessing their course and how they are faring in their own opinion. From the surveys, I believe that I can create a composite character profile which will also help me understand the needs of a demographic that is different from my own. I cannot say that I know what it is like to be completing 3 high school courses as a mature adult student while trying to raise a family with 2 children by working a full-time job simultaneously, but at least I feel I can start to empathize with those in similar situations. By having a few character profiles generated, I hope to be better able to understand the challenges that various groups have with hybrid learning and together with the feedback gathered from the focus groups, begin to design my digital resource.
IDEO. (2015). Design Kit – Methods. Retrieved from http://www.designkit.org/methods
Stanford University Institute of Design. (2016). Bootcamp Bootleg. Retrieved from http://dschool-old.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/METHODCARDS-v3-slim.pdf