GO Learning Expeditions

“Expeditionary Learning” is a method of learning that focuses on inquiry and standards-aligned learning through active participation in experiential projects out in the world. 

Problem

GO Learning Expeditions is a company that offers project-based learning expeditions, providing students with opportunities to engage with interdisciplinary curriculum out in the world. 

GO Learning Expeditions needs a website that can guide users to one of three core competencies they have to offer: free resources, pre-constructed learning plans, and bespoke learning plans tailored to a user's specific needs. Due to the unique nature of expeditionary learning, the site does not operate like a traditional educational product web page.

Solution

We created a research driven design that  was informed by the insights we discovered throughout the design process. We balanced the clients needs with the needs of the user to create a site that addressed the the following challenges we uncovered:

1. GO Learning Expeditions offers 3 types of services that vary greatly from on to the other and require particular ways of presentation to make it easy for the user to convert.

2. Expeditionary learning is new and users need more information about it to make decisions.

3. Parents were needed an easy way to implement a trip-based learning plan despite their lack of confidence in their ability to educate their children.

4. K-12 educators want to implement some form of expeditionary learning but were apprehensive about how to work within the limitations of their school's resources/budget.

Role

I worked with a small team to design a website that would allow the client to reach a very specific customer base. I was a primary contributor to the following aspects of the project:

Research

Conducted competitive and comparative analysis to gain context.

User Interviews

Recruited users, created interview questions, and conducted interviews.

Synthesizing Data

Identified patterns from data, defined the problem, developed personas to empathize with.

Prototyping

Created and tested a hifi prototype that demonstrates key user flows.

User Testing

Developed a user testing plan, conducted tests, and reiterated based on insights gained.

HiFi Designs

Designed high fidelity screens, developed a style guide, created custom illustrations and logo.

Accessibility

Ensured that the designs were accessible and adhered to WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

Delivery

Worked with client to identify business needs and delivered Zeplin file for developers.

EL education seemed to be the most established competitor and we dialed into 

Research

Competitive Analysis

In order to gain some context into the product and truly define our problem we first had to understand the the space our client occupied.  The client described her company as a cross between consultation and a curriculum writing. She expressed the need to be able to present her services to the appropriate clientele which was a little tricky because of the hybrid nature of expeditionary learning.

Insight

Due to the destination-based nature of the product, it shares characteristics with the travel industry as well as education. The need to account for location is vital in developing a solution for our users.

 

Competitors

We began our exploration with expeditionary learning products in the current market. Due to the relatively unorthodox nature of this approach to learning the products that currently occupy the space of expeditionary learning varied greatly in their offerings and approach to delivering content.

Comparators

Our next step was to explore other products that share certain aspects with GO Learning Expeditions but my not necessarily be identified as expeditionary learning. We looked at traditional education curriculum, educational subscription boxes, and travel websites with the intention of identifying functions of their websites that might address the needs of potential users.

Our next step was to explore other products that share certain aspects with GO Learning Expeditions but my not necessarily be identified as expeditionary learning. We looked at traditional education curriculum, educational subscription boxes, and travel websites with the intention of identifying functions of their websites that might address the needs of potential users.

User Interviews

We interviewed six potential users that were a mix of teachers,  school administrators, and parents.

Gaining context into the product itself was important for us to devise meaningful questions for our user interviews. We had the information we needed to be able to draw out key insights into our users motivations and needs. I personally enjoy this part of the process because of the potential for spontaneous discover. Asking probing questions after hearing a users comment produces an understanding of the user that organic and humanizing.

User interviews were conducted and observations were recorded. User statements were then isolated and sorted in an affinity map to identify patterns and insights.

User interviews were conducted and observations were recorded. User statements were then isolated and sorted in an affinity map to identify patterns and insights.

Defining the User

The research drawn from competitive analysis and user interviews allowed us to define personas to empathize with as we progressed through our design process.

Paula represents our primary user, parents who want to be able to infuse their vacations or outdoor adventures with standards-aligned educational material.

Eddie represents our secondary user, k-12 school educators that want to try expeditionary learning with their class in the form of a field trip.

How might we provide Paula with the ability to locate a curriculum plan that is easy to teach her children on her own?

How might provide Eddie with a cost effective way to educate and engage with his students outside of the classroom?

 
 
Wireframes and Prototype

We began with low fidelity sketches and then moved into mid-fidelity wireframes on Figma once we agreed on an approach. 

Early iteration of a landing page the displays three 

Early iteration of a landing page the displays the 3 types of products/services our client has to offer to potential users.

Mid-fidelity versions of the Product Landing Page and Product Description Page were designed to address specific user needs that were discovered through research including: filters, reviews, and ratings.

The homepage addresses the need for context and information. Being a non-traditional format of learning, users are often new to expeditionary learning and seeking resources and information about what it is and how to implement it. The homepage aims to provide users with a way to learn as your scroll or to be able to contact GO Learning for more information.

We created a sitemap to identify the pages we needed to design. The information architecture of the site was developed based on the offerings of the client and the users need to easily navigate to existing packages or consultation services.

 
User Testing

Educators and parents were recruited to test the prototype. They were asked to complete 3 user tasks which represented GO Learning Expeditions' core competencies. 

User Test Tasks

1.

Download free resources so that you can create your own learning plan.

2.

Submit a request form for a custom expedition plan consultation.

3.

Locate and purchase a pre-constructed  learning plan for a Hawaii trip.

Usability Insights

The initial prototype utilized a wizard but testing revealed it confused users and it was too many clicks to get to the content

Consultation was a major aspect of the business and testing revealed that we needed to make it easier to navigate to a request. Making the CTA more prominent facilitated the success of the task flow.

Users seemed confused upon arriving at the free resources page.

Insights revealed that we needed to add a download button so that users know how to interact with the link. 

 
High Fidelity
 

We approached the design with scalability in mind. At the time of the work, our client's product was in its early stages and they were planning to expand their product line in the near future. We made sure to build our client a site that would grow with her company. We designed a site that ensured that users felt comfortable exploring the services offered by providing context and scaffolding the user experience to address the frustrations uncovered in research.

“There needs to be balance between like “this is cool,” but it's also feasible for a school to like pay for. ”

Based on feedback from the user interviews, high quality videos and photos made teachers feel like the content was too expensive for their schools and would immediately drop-off the site. We carefully devised a color scheme and curated the visuals in order to make it feel accessible to the user and less intimidating.

I created custom illustrations for that matched the locations for the existing pre-packaged lesson plans, ensuring they were aligned to the brand colors.

I also designed a logo system for the client that could easily be adapted to include a feature of the various locations.

Addressing Specific Needs

Expeditionary learning revolves around the destination and the landing page search function is structured like a travel site in order to draw on the familiarity heuristics to guide the user experience.

“I like Expedia because it’s an interface that I'm just used to. It's easy to put my destination and dates in and get what I need.”

“I want to be able tell them the destination and what I want them to learn so that when I finally meet some planning has been done.”

GO Learning Expeditions emphasized that the core of the business was bespoke lesson plans tailored to the specific needs of clients after one-on-one consultation. We ensured that this flow was smooth and visible with a prominent CTA and as few steps as possible

“I'm just more concerned and worried about me as a parent actually understanding their curriculum and what I'm teaching.”

We implemented a teachability rating scale that can be found on each product description page. This was done in order to assuage the apprehension parents might have in teaching the lesson plan that they purchase. Empathizing with parents who might be on the fence about purchasing a plan will positively impact conversion.

Accessibility
 

In order to ensure that our design is universally accessible we adhered to WCAG 2.1 accessibility guidelines throughout the process. Readability of all text was checked against WCAG standards and passed visibility tests. All of our background and foreground colors passed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AA and AAA standards with the lowest ratio of 6.11:1.

Delivery

We maintained constant communication with the client throughout the product with standups twice a week to go over progress and concerns. We delivered a Zeplin file, Figma file, and drive with assets and research after presenting our completed product.