Learn My Way 4 - Sprint 1

28 Jan 2016 |Written by Ben Fraser

Good Things Foundation's team is currently working hard on the next version of our popular online learning website - Learn My Way 4. Ben Fraser, Product Manager, keeps us up-to-date on how the process is working.

Our first Learn My Way sprint was code-named Burrito (sprint planning before lunch is obviously a bad idea!) and it’s focus was on planning, research and design.

From a planning perspective, we refined existing user stories. Kevin and his team of learning designers spent a session creating new user stories from a learning designer’s perspective - laying down the requirements for our new course engine in the process.

James, our head of digital, looked at consolidating existing process and roadmap documentation (we’ll publish the roadmap in due course).

From a research perspective, our user researcher Emily’s task was to collate all existing findings and insight and produce a one page document outlining the headlines. I’m becoming quite keen on this approach - setting a task of condensing a wealth of information and data into an instantly digestible one-pager. Ultimately, imagine turning a report into an infographic.

From a design perspective, as part of our UI track (see more in my first blog post regarding the lead-up to Learn My Way 4) I started thrashing out some medium-fidelity wireframes proposing new solutions for our course landing pages and design screens - using applicable user stories as feature requirements. Why medium-fidelity? We already had a wealth of insight regarding current navigation and information architecture issues with the site. So I regarded the design process as relatively ‘obvious’. To boot, as a designer I like the headspace I get from ensuring wireframes are neat and things line-up - it allows me to ponder the implications of what I’m implementing on the user journey and hence refine my thinking as I go.

With scrum master Craig’s input, we established a process for future sprints - including scheduling planning sessions, design crits, demos and sprint retrospectives.

Fortuitously, the second week of Burrito tied-in with the Good Things Foundation annual conference, Digital Evolution. Aniela, our head of learning, and I took the opportunity of the poster sessions to present the existing designs and get the audience to vote on a couple of solutions we came up with - namely, should our learning content follow an inline or paginated format, and should we include a full header in the learning content or not. People seemed to enjoy the voting process - and more importantly, it sparked off a ream of comments, suggestions and debate. Ultimately, we want to focus on observing user behaviour (as opposed to simply asking people’s opinion) in future sprints, but it was a good way to launch the user testing process.

We concluded the sprint with a demo - the idea being to disseminate the outputs to the senior management team, whilst providing an open-invite for any staff member to attend. This is part of our efforts to make our processes as transparent as possible.

Finally, we closed the sprint with a brief retrospective and planning sessions. It feels good to simultaneously tie-up the current sprint and lay the foundations for the next sprint - it means that from the word go for Sprint 3, we had high-level tasks created and assigned out.

Keep up-to-date with the Learn My Way design process by checking out #LMW4 on Twitter.