OSMO CODING AWBIE
Children's Affective Learning Experience at Home
Role: Solo UX Researcher
Research Method: Heuristic Evaluation + Contextual Inquiry
Research Type: Exploratory and Evaluative UXR
Goal: Evaluate how usability affects children's play experience with a focus on their emotions and learning and explore actionable design solutions
Publication: ACM IDC '22: Interaction Design and Children Computational, Thinking through Tangible Play: Understanding Social Dialogues in Children's Learning
Background and Goals
There's an influx of educational games for young children to learn computational thinking skills. Osmo Coding Awbie is one of the most important players in this market.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the chances of young children staying and learning at home have been dramatically increasing since 2020. Thus, how the target players interact with such products with parents at home is very important.
Educators and parents pay more attention to children's playful learning in the home settings.
Thus, from the theoretical perspectives of UX, child psychology, and affective learning, I aim to explore how children users interact with the tangible tablet-based educational coding game to trigger learning and generate actionable design solutions.
Heuristic evaluation and game analysis
Contextual inquiry design
Play observations and semi-structured interviews with children in the home setting
Affinity Wall and Qualitative Coding
First-time child players and parents have problems understanding the animated instructions, the tangible interface, the scanning system of the tangible input at the beginning.
Young child players tend to forget the game narratives because they appear only once.
Dialogues from parents can mitigate the usability problems and help children construct self-guidance and private speech.
The interplay between the game design and children illustrates the two-way causation of affective learning. The challenges and fun design provoke children's curiosity and motivation. Children can deal with challenges with their problem-solving strategies and computational skills, and feel a sense of progress through the interactive feedback and rewards of the game. Thus, the play motivation can intrinsically be boosted.
Product strategy pivot backed by learning evidence and research insights.
This research has constructed strong and comprehensive insights regarding children's play, emotions, and learning for strategy teams to leverage.
Product Design Suggestion
Accommodate children with different abilities by adding proactive tutorials for navigation and guidance, giving freedom to players to decide to skip them or not
Incorporate storytelling throughout the game to refresh children's recognition of the game design and enhance their learning
Add more fun characteristics to game characters to make game narratives more engaging
I presented this research project at the ACM Interaction Design and Children 2022 conference in Braga, Portugal. Please find the full research paper here.
Adapt interviews questions and methods according to children's understanding
Make research fun so child participants share more genuine insights
Future research directions could consider dialogic learning in product development to improve affective learning experience