Project 3: Researching Online Learning at CCA

Project overview

In this project, we’re going to focus on generative user research in a team of two. Each of us will be interviewing at least three college students at CCA on assignments, homework and feedback. The timeline for this project is two weeks (Dec 01, 2020 – Dec 14, 2020). In the first week, conducting primary research such recruiting, interviewing and documenting. In the second week, synthesizing notes to cluster similar pain points. Then prioritizing clusters and restate design opportunity. The goals of this project is use generative research for the following:

  • Identify user needs around completing assignment, home and getting feedback.
  • Use a User Research Plan to guide a research process
  • Recruit target participants
  • Conducting interviewing with interview script
  • Take research note and artifact collection
  • Identify patterns in research data
  • Use research data to find user needs
  • Capture and communicate a research process and summarize the work in a process post

The Process


I interviewed four undergrad students from CCA, one senior, one junior and two sophomores. The interview both happened during class and outside of class via zoom video call. Each interview runs about 20 minutes long by using the interview guide. Then take notes for each question and put notes on MURAL board for research synthesis (pair work).

Affinity Mapping – Synthesis (pair work)

After we had all our notes in different colors for each person. We went through the notes to find a similar pain points, comments or trends in those answer. We decided to go with ten clusters (workload, time spent on assignment, Google Classroom, Moodle, Figma, Mural, Zoom, Communication Issues, Feedback and Discussion. The we copied and pasted sticky notes to each category. After sorting and cluster out everything, we found that Moodle, Communication and Feedback would be the next top three to focus on. It was quite intimidated in having more sticky notes in each category. There were overlap points based on the interviewee’s answer. I think the break in between was really helpful to come in the next day with fresh eyes.


The next meeting, we prioritized the three points that found the most sticky notes (Moodle, Communication and Feedback). We decided to go with Online Learning Experience instead of feedback. We wanted to broader the scope because of the virtual learning experience. In each section, we also had two or three points each. Then we used “How might we…?” to address those lists/concerns that we identify in the list. By asking the question “How might we…?”, it helps us framing the design opportunity for the user pain points.

Going forward


I really enjoyed the interviewing process to learn more about the other’s pain points and concern. At the same time, I feel relief that I was not the only one who was confused or left out for this semester. I also got to know some of my classmate during the process. The challenge part for this project is recruiting participants since it was a two week project before the closing semester. It was hard to get people spare 20 minutes for the interview. I am glad that was able to get through and I am grateful for those who helped me out too. Categorizing into cluster was time consuming and hard to decide which is which. The easy part for me was to prioritized the list and what’s next. My overall journey for this project is positive personally. I used to participate in user study before, but this time my role is a designer. Even though, I am not really working for CCA in refining the online learning experience, I feel good about being able to listen to other users.

Next step

Take into account accessibility for students who are having difficulties access all CCA platforms from Moodle to Google Classroom.

Prepare and conduct user research with faculties to find out what worked and what didn’t work.

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