User-centered design

If you want to experience the full adventure, we encourage you to change your perspective further and try out the same tools used to create web-based applications.

Designing your materials, think about how the people you’re designing for will experience the resource.


Teachers are under a lot of pressure, coming from many different directions. On one side, you have to fulfill the learning curriculum, follow the expectations of your superiors and fellow teachers. On the other side, you have the opinions of parents and their ideas of education. In this kind of situation, it’s easy to lose perspective and forget who is most important in the learning process – and for whom you’re creating these materials. They’re not for other teachers, principals, nor parents, but for your students. Keeping in mind their importance, we’ve created a list of recommendations to help you build interesting lessons, projects, or assignments. We encourage you to think about your students at every step of the process. In return, they’ll feel more engaged with the materials and lessons.

1. First the content, then the format
Murals? Games? Comics? These are great tools, but it’s important to not become too carried away by the format, and forget the content. Not every topic fits every format. It’s imperative to closely think about the best way to present the content.
2. From a problem to a solution
Math equations that students struggle with? An empty space in your school? Cyberbullying? The best topics come from real life. A salient point is selecting a topic that relates to the problems of your students. It shouldn’t be too general or random.
3. Don’t guess, ask!
Students know better than anyone what they like. There’s nothing wrong with asking them about their interests, and they’ll appreciate your openness and eagerness to learn. Thanks to this, your educational materials will be even better, and your relationship with your students will improve.
4. Inspire yourself
This world is full of creative people with interesting projects. It’s worth learning from them and their ideas. You can meet plenty of passionate people at conferences, as well as on the Internet – on dedicated forums or through EduCoop.
5. Create mock-ups
An expensive project should first have a test version, not just when building an educational robot that will eat up half the school’s budget, but even on projects where you feel more certain about the product. It’s worth creating a mock-up out of paper or an appropriate material. This way you can check whether everything is thought through, and fix any potential errors.
6. Test it out
Before releasing your resource into the world, test it out on a small group. Remember to prepare a lesson plan, and ask questions throughout – without providing hints. It may also be helpful to film everything so as to analyze it later.
7. Don’t give up
Difficulty is not the same thing as failure, and problems are just part of the process. Something doesn’t work? Check if it’s a technical issue, if you made a wrong assumption, or if the idea doesn’t match your target audience. Fixing a problem, even a small one, gives a great sense of satisfaction and positively affects the process.