A simple definition of user experience (UX) research could be described as research that is focused on the intended user (customer) of a product or service. There is a lot more to that concept but me being a software developer for the last 6 years, the practice of UX research and design has been a major part of pretty much every project I have been a part of. In recent years I have gained a strong interest in the education technology field and I have been curious how you could apply this approach into the classroom to enhance the learning experience for students and educators. Now as a graduate student studying education technology it has become apparent in my studies that UX research and learning theories do share a lot of commonalities. My professional experience has been in many different industries but not education (yet). So is it possible that taking a UX research approach could be effective in education?
I was sent an article earlier this week from a colleague that discussed a new role that should be created in education. The author called it a student experience (SX) designer and it shared the same approach UX researchers and designers use by focusing on the intended user of a product or service. In this case, it would be the student and teacher. Preparing for life after grad school I have built an interest in instructional design as the way I plan to go. However, being new to the educational field and learning new concepts every day I was not sure if a position such as an SX designer already existed. Being an outsider trying to make my way into the education technology field has been challenging so I decided I would create this blog post to openly discuss this SX designer role to see if anyone has known of such a role or heard of such a thing.
From the article, Berk states that role of a student experience (SX) designer would be “studies and captures the authentic experience of students or learners before, during, and after any educational transaction for the purpose of reflecting intent versus impact”(2017). The author labels education as a business with students as customers. These labels are common in other industries to UX researchers because they are the subjects that are their primary focus, nothing else. In education, no such role has been created that focuses on the entire user experience of the student. Is this a true statement? I find this information could be misleading since not all job titles or positions carry the same responsibilities.
Still, I question what I have learned in my studies that such a role does not already exist whether it may be in a different area mixed with other responsibilities. Like I mentioned I have found a lot of similarities with UX research and education technology. For example, in UX research it focuses on understanding the user’s thoughts, motivations, and behaviors. How they interact with the product and the connections made with the company itself. The author mentions what an SX designer could bring to education. Using UX research methods such as creating empathy maps, storyboards, and other popular visual representations to fully understand the user (student) from every aspect of the educational experience. The research collected could be used to help determine effectiveness in what the students practice.
This is just opinion piece but I feel it could be useful to incorporate UX research methods into education. Both fields have their similarities but so far in my studies and speaking with my education peers, UX research is nonexistent for the most part. So here I ask, does such a role exist that solely focuses on the student experience from beginning to end? Have you heard of such UX research methods being used in education? It would interesting to hear your perspective or experience as I look to see what lies ahead and what I may need to incorporate on my own.
Berk, S. (2017, March 5). Education needs to hire a new role: Student Experience (SX) Designers. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@sbberk11/education-needs-to-hire-a-new-role-student-experience-sx-designers-3a7dbfa4bfaf
2 thoughts on “EDTECH 537: Discussion”
Jake, I’m wondering if by stating your own answers to the question you ask, if you think you may have stifled some of the discussion?
I agree that education is a business because it receives money from the students. Also, a student chooses a school because it has what the student wants. Thus, it’s like attending a store and buying a product when a student pays for a class.