Organisations are generally speaking rather good at gathering data about their customers. However, data alone does not tell the story of the customer or, in education: of the student. If you don’t use the ‘voice of the customer’ in education you run the risk that the material you are teaching is structured to fit your perceptions, functionalities or organisational requirements but not the requirements of your student.
When making teaching materials it is important to pay attention to the customer journey. This is a concept from marketing, where the central question is which way a consumer travels until the moment a product is purchased.
Until well into the last century, manufacturers devised products based on technological possibilities, without wondering whether customers needed that product. This often resulted in products based on the ‘one size fits all’ principle. But today’s consumers want personalised products based on their individual wishes and needs.
The same goes for students. They want learning materials according to their preferences and needs. This means that an instructor who offers learning materials according to the one size fits all principle runs the risk of losing many students (as customers).
Many students don’t like to read large pieces of text. So start by trimming that text into smaller parts and add good graphics that summarise or explain the text. A self-made lesson video made by the teacher is often also very successful. Like all people, students look for connections and would like to have a video made by their own teacher. The voice, the intonation they are used to makes the student feel connected and the teaching material is authentic and made especially for him or her.
So texts are not out, but they need to be enriched with images and moving images. A fine commercial party offering the possibility to add questions to your videos is H5P. Check out the possibilities and pricing on https://h5p.org/ They offer a 30-day free account to find out if you find it worth the trouble or not.
Another important element is interaction. Not only interaction with the learning material, but also interaction between the students themselves and interaction with the instructor.
Interaction with the learning material can be achieved by adding questions to the learning material that need to be answered. For example, to check whether the content has been understood. The best result is achieved by providing feedback on these questions. Not only the wrong answers, but also the correctly answered questions. Feedback gives a very high learning efficiency. Creating questions with feedback can already be done very easily using an accessible tool like Microsoft Forms.
Interaction between students and between student and teacher is also easy to realise. If everyone agrees that What’s App is acceptable despite the privacy issues it raises, using What’s App groups is a great way to exchange views, share experiences, ask questions and provide answers.
Many learning management systems have a built-in chat facility that offers the same result without any privacy concerns and worries about what is done with the data generated.
The mobile phone is the centre of the world for today’s students. It is therefore wise to give the created learning materials a format that is suitable for the mobile phone. In addition, the student is accustomed to being mobile in the sense of anywhere and anytime. A school with stone walls as the only place where learning can take place does not fit very well in this world view. The student’s expectation is that learning should be accessible instantly and on request.
The concepts of mobile learning and media rich content go together well. Interactive lesson videos in the bus, why not? It mainly saves time and the boring bus ride suddenly seems to be much shorter.
Mobile learning fully complies with the principle of just in time, just in place. Only when the student is ready, he or she really starts learning.
Structure is always important for students. This applies to structure in the findability of learning material but also to the structure of the learning material.
If the teacher feels that the learning material is offered in a logical and findable way, this does not mean that the student feels the same: they might use a completely different logic. So, ask groups of students how they view it.