Testing Participatory Design and Responsive User-Interfaces to Teach Digital Skills to NEETs: Using an Experimental Online Learning Platform

Journal article

Jackson, LH and Pereira, L (2015). Testing Participatory Design and Responsive User-Interfaces to Teach Digital Skills to NEETs: Using an Experimental Online Learning Platform. Media Education Research Journal. 6 (1), pp. 37-62.
AuthorsJackson, LH and Pereira, L

The Shift is an on-line platform for supporting young people aged 16-20 who are interested in training or working in The Creative Industries. It is a connective system, seeking to improve young people’s digital skills, particularly NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training). The platform – the result of a project funded in 2012-13 by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – has been co-concepted by NEETs, and from pedagogical perspectives it follows Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, segmenting this into cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills, which need to be progressively attained (Bloom et al,1956) and the experiential learning cycle identified by Kolb and Fry (1975). In this paper, we highlight the main steps of the participatory development process and the challenges the researchers and build team have faced. Considering the low literacy level of some of the participants, we used creative methods (Gauntlett 2007) to encourage learners to design their own learning environment, for instance mind-mapping, drawing and game design. The use of drawing proved useful as it removed literacy barriers for the participants. From the analysis of the data generated from these processes we created a prototype ‘learning journey’ within The Shift, that teaches digital design skills through the building of a personal website and engagement with ‘Ravensbot’, an animated character driven by a pattern-matching database. We discuss the main results through the feedback from users/developers (around 100) that we were able to aggregate as co-concepter-participants during the different stages of the building process. Simultaneously, we share findings which may be useful for others on how learners can become involved in the development of online learning environments, including what motivations are more likely to keep a learner engaged.

Keywordsdigital skills; digital literacy; conversational learning; user-centered design,; participatory design; participatory culture
JournalMedia Education Research Journal
Journal citation6 (1), pp. 37-62
PublisherAuteur Publishing
Web address (URL)http://merj.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/MERJ_6.1_contents.pdf
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Sep 2018
Accepted01 Oct 2015
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