ALDinHE Research Grants 15-16

Thinking Aloud to Evaluate and Co-create with Student Learning Developers

Jane McKay, Glasgow Caledonian University
Other contributors: Kim Williams, Deborah O’Neill, Lina Petrakieva, Dickson Telfer, Lori Stevenson, Calum Nielsen and Frances MacInnes, Glasgow Caledonian University

The purpose of this project was to evaluate and subsequently enhance the online academic development resources developed by learning development staff at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). In doing so, the aim of the project was to enrich the student learning experience and ultimately enhance academic development. The user-friendliness of resources was evaluated using an adaptation of the Think Aloud Method (Ericcson & Simon, 1984), where students were observed using the resources while articulating their thoughts and actions. An online survey instrument was simultaneously emailed to all students to assess the content of resources. A number of navigational issues (e.g. cluttered menus, inconspicuous links) and content issues (e.g. need for interactivity and content on specific topics) were subsequently identified. ‘Student Learning Developers’ then worked with the project team to develop existing and co-create new resources, in line with these issues. The project team’s reflections highlight the value of the Think Aloud Method in providing authentic, real-time evaluation data, and the potential for student partnership work to enhance the contextualization of and student engagement with learning materials.

Keywords: co-creation, learning technology, Think Aloud

For more information about the project, please contact Jane McKay Jane.mckay@gcu.ac.uk

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