Prototype

Prototype description:

The app that we have made a prototype for has 2 main functions. 1.st function is to come up with challenges for the user to receive that will help them when they are learning norwegian. Like for instance (talk norwegian with a stranger). The second goal we set for the app was that it will have a chatting system. In the chat you can chat with random other people who also have the app, or you can add your friends and see how they are doing when it comes to the challenges. This might also help teachers to see how their students are using norwegian in their private time, and to help indicate how motivated the student is. They can press the green bottom if they have done the task presented and the weekly recurring challenges keeps track of your progress. The colors chosen for the app is chosen from the northern lights, to inspire the people using the app not only to learn the language but to intrigue them be a part of the norwegian culture if that is what they want.

 

Video-prototype:

 

Test

We have contacted the same 3 students who we sent our cultural probes to and asked them to give us honest feedback about our app prototype. It’s important for us so we can improve and make it better, or perhaps remove annoying things too.

First, we showed them our video without explaining anything and asked them about their opinions. We got mixed reactions.

They didn’t quite understand every word we said in the video but two of them did get the point behind the video. The two of them said that the video is basically about a person who is using an app to learn Norwegian. However, the third student thought that this person is using Facebook messenger to chat with others, which is true. That’s because we recorded Gaute using Facebook messenger simply because we did not have an interactive app that we could have used.

Second, we showed them some screenshots of the design we have created using Adobe XD. We got positive comments this time.

All of them liked the design and complimented it. They also liked the simplicity of the app and the ease of use. Surprisingly, just one student had an opinion about a function that is missing in our app. She wanted a kind of an in-app automatic translation feature when chatting in our app. The others didn’t want the app to be more complicated and were happy with functions that are already in place.

Third, we continued by asking each one of them 3 questions;

1. What do you like the most about the app?

I like the idea of being able to chat with strangers every now and then.

2. What do you hate the most about the app?

I imagine the app will send me tons of notifications and that would really be annoying, so please don’t do that.

3. Will you buy the app if it was real?

No, there are many free apps out there with similar and maybe better features already.

4. Will you download our app for free?

Well yeah, why not. I can give it a try.

5. Something you wish was a feature in our app?

To use the app without having to create an account.

6. Do you want to change anything in the app?

Not really, I don’t know.

7. Any final comments or thoughts? (this question was asked to all 3 students)

One of them suggested that it would be very nice and cool to give the users some real useful awards when completing tasks and challenges. Like cinema tickets or anything that could benefit and/encourage their use/learning of the Norwegian language.

The others didn’t give us any suggestions or ideas but wanted us to include something magical so they don’t get bored from using our app.

 

Personas, Scenarios and Storyboards

Our first Persona, Scenario and Storyboard:

Persona1-edited

1. Ibraheem checking the menu. He finds a new word. 2. Telling himself that he should use the new app everybody’s talking about to get some help. 3. Takes out his phone. 4. Opens the app and starts using it. 5. After he knew the word he was ready to order food. 6. Enjoying his food with some confidence and satisfaction.

While Ibrahim was on his way back home, after a very long day, he came across a lovely restaurant and decided to take a rest and eat. He sat down and opened the menu to see what the restaurant offers.

A few minutes later he read a really weird Norwegian word and didn’t quite understand what it does mean. He couldn’t ask for help because no one was sitting near him. Ibrahim then remembered that he saw an advertisement a few days back about a cool app that lets people connect to each other easily and for free.

So he downloaded the app straight away and opened the chat to ask about the word «brus». Fortunately, there were many helpful people online and they all explained very well what does it mean. Some sent pictures of sodas so he was 100% sure that he understood the word correctly after seeing the images.

Finally, he ordered a meal and was very happy because of the app that helped him.

Our second Persona, Scenario and Storyboard:

Persona2-edited

1. Lara is approaching a kiosk to buy a newspaper. 2. She walks to find a place to sit. 3. She is reading the newspaper and just found a new unknown word and decides to chat with someone to get help. 4. Opens the app and starts using it. 5. She is happy that many people tried to help her. 6. She then rates the useful app.

After school, Lara decided to go to a nearby kiosk and buy a newspaper so she could practice her Norwegian language. Because her teacher encouraged her to do so a few days earlier.

She just found an interesting magazine and decides to buy it. Lara couldn’t wait until she reaches her home to start reading, so she sits down near a park and begins to read for the first time in a foreign language to hers.

After a few moments, she comes across a very strange word that she didn’t learn it in school. It’s time to get some help from others, said Lara. So she downloads a cool app that many of her friends gave an outstanding review about in the past days, and starts chatting. Many people are online, I am so lucky, said Lara. They are very helpful and begin to explain what the word «gjeld» means in English as well as Norwegian. She understood immediately the meaning of the new word because she knows English very well.

Later she decided to give the app 5 stars because «it’s very worth it» she said.

Generating Ideas

Problem definition: Students not using Norwegian outside of school much.

How might we question:

  • Inspire students to want to use a new language.
  • Engage students in Norwegian conversation outside of school.
  • Help students with little time outside of school use the language.
  • Reward those who exercise the new language well / those who work hard

Ideate Process:

After we made some «how might we» questions we just started writing down what ideas we thought of and we managed to come up with some ideas. After we presented our ideas and talked about what the solution is meant to solve, we gave each idea points, a maximum of 5 points and a minimum of 1 point and we couldn’t vote with the same points on multiple ideas.

Ideas:

  1. An app that connects people who learn and know Norwegian so they can talk to each other either via text or voice.
  2. A type of registering with a leaderboard where you can register the books in norwegian you read where you can receive rewards.
  3.  Norwegian Language learning apps like Duolingo which are for the languages the majority of refugees speak.
  4. Some sort of a very advanced futuristic device that lets people schedule meetings with anybody in the world in a matter of seconds.
  5. A drug that can be taken by humans to install any language in the brain quickly.

The idea we chose:

Number 1: App that connects strangers, one who is currently learning Norwegian, and one who is fluent in Norwegian (or a learner too) so that they can talk together. Either through voice chat or text chat.

The problem we believe this app will solve is students who might not have a social group outside of school where they mainly speak Norwegian, or that they have trouble getting to know fluent speakers. This app will act as a social media where you can connect to a random person and have a conversation with them. And if you find a person who you get a good connection with you can add them as a friend on the app if you want to continue the conversation.

Define Your Research Questions

We chose the empathy map because it represents our ideas from our users experience on our project best. It also is a better way to categorize and organize the different aspects of our potential users needs.

We found out that the students learning Norwegian biggest problem are not slow learning but to find a social platform that supports their learning experience. Both when it comes to social affiliation with the Norwegian culture and with their own. To combine those things can be hard especially when you are not a fluent speaker.

Our question is: how to help young adult refugees to learn Norwegian here in Norway, and help them combine their cultures.

Expert Interview

Interview Guide

  1. How does adult refugees experience learning Norwegian?
  2. How do different age groups experience the learning process?
  3. What are the biggest issues for young adult refugees while learning Norwegian?
  4. How does a pre-knowledge of the English language influence learning Norwegian?
  5. What are your thoughts on things that can be improved?
  6. What impact does social interaction in Norwegian outside of the class have?
  7. Do students generally succeed?
  8. Are you happy with the level of fluency that most of the students reach during the course?
  9. Have you heard of digital apps like duolingo etc, how do you think they supplement the course?
  10. Would you recommend more people use duolingo or a similar app, Why? Or Why not?

Who was interviewed?

The interview subject is Jon Bjerkan a Norwegian Teacher who has taught Adult Refugees.

Where was the interview conducted?

Both of the participants in the interview where in the comfort of their own home using digital video chat.

How was the interview Conducted

The semi structured interview was done using digital video chat. Omar from the research group was conducting the interview and the interview subject, Jon Bjerkan, was participating. A screen recording was made on Omar’s computer.

What was the theme (s) of the interview?

Understand how Adult refugees learn Norwegian.

Why was the theme(s) chosen?

The themes were chosen because we wanted to get an insight in what issues there currently are in the situation of our topic. The person that was interviewed has an overview of how multiple people experience this situation and could be able to find an answer or suggestions to improvements for more people as his experience does not differ as much from personal experience as the students might be. We also wanted to know his thoughts on supplements to a Norwegian Language course, how they work, how they could be improve and how much of an impact these have in motivating and activating the learning process outside of class.

Transcription

Interview transcription (attachment)

Analysis and summary of findings with quotes

Learning Norwegian can be quite challenging. But it really depends on the person, and their background. Whether they have had the experience of learning another language, or not. Students who have learned another language have an advantage because they have the experience but also knows what methods and learning techniques they can use when learning Norwegian.

However, the young students seems to have an advantage. Bjerkan states that he believes the younger students learn faster. And he also states that it is easier for them to get to use the new language. Some of the older students seems to have more trouble getting into the new language and ends up helping each other in class, using their mother tongue.

But regardless of age, students have different challenges. For some, writing is easier. And for other, speaking is easier. Many of the students are also struggling with understanding the language as a whole as well.

Those students who already have experiences with the English language seem to have an advantage. They are more used to a similar language to Norwegian. Both English and Norwegian have several similar words in the wocabulary, and the grammar between the two is pretty similar.

In order for the students to learn more efficiently, they have to use the new language in their spare time as well. Using the new language with friends and family will have a big impact on the learning process.

A good thing to know is that most students generally succeed learning the new language. Bjerkan states that if the students happen to get a job, where they are engaged in using the new language, they will get more motivated to keep using and learning more of it as time passes.

Bjerkan says he’s satisfyed with most of his students. As long as they do their best, and work hard to achieve their goals, he is more than satisfyed.

Tools are also an important tool in the learning process of a new language. Bjerkan claims that these tools are very handy to use on your spare time, when you don’t really have anything else on your schedule anyway. It is a good way to spend some time, in order to improve the learning process. He highly recommends them to any student who are trying to learn a new language.

Distribute the probes

  • How / when do you contact users?
    We contact them through mutual acquaintances, either personally or through email or social media.
  • How / when do you deliver the probes?
    We deliver the probes personally at the start on monday.
  • How / when do you collect the probes?
    We collect the probes personally on friday.

Our Cultural Probe

  • What is your design goal?
    To find out what the user has learned in a day.
    How do they feel about their use of Norwegian?
  • Who are your users?
    Adult refugees in Norway.
  • What is the probe made of (artifacts & tasks)?
    • Artifacts
      • Notebook
      • Pencil
      • Table (a sheet of paper)
    • Tasks
      • In the evening
        • Write down their use of newly learned words or phrases.
        • Write down your favourite word you learned or used today.
        • Put on a yellow star sticker for x amount newly learned words.
        • Circle around «emoji» that represent how they generally felt while speaking Norwegian that day.
        • Write down a goal for the next day. If the goal for the day was completed put up an extra sticker
          Goal examples: Better expression, Learn more phrases \ words, engage in conversation in Norwegian.
      • During the day
        • After a conversation in Norwegian fill out how you felt you mastered it on a scale from 1-5.
        • Comment about what went well in the conversation or what you want to improve on.
  • How do you plan to follow-up on your probe?
    Collect the probe in person (if possible) and thank them for doing the tasks.
    Ask them if they want to be informed about the findings of the data in the probe.
    If yes ask them how they prefer to be contacted.

The results:

Some pictures from the first person’s probe:

We can see that she was having a great time learning Norwegian and was quite happy. We also thought that she was still a beginner based on the newly learned words that she wrote. We can guess that she is a hard-working student and likes learning the language.

Some pictures from the second person’s probe:

The second person was even more satisfied with his Norwegian and happier. We think that’s because she spoke more Norwegian and maybe used the words she has learned correctly and with confidence. We also believe that she is an ambitious and positive person.

Some pictures from the third person’s probe:

The third person is interesting. Her first day was not so good as we can see in the first picture. She had trouble or difficulty writing a text as she explained and wanted to learn more about writing a text. Thankfully, she was happier on her third day and we think that a teacher helped her with her problem.

Surprises?

What surprises us is that 2/3 students either don’t have any goal for the following day or that they somehow forgot/don’t want to share their goals with us. Even though they are the same students that are having a great experience learning the Norwegian language as we saw earlier.
On the other hand, the third person, who is not having a so good experience as the others, wrote down her desired result/s for the following day (but in the wrong place).

However, what can be deduced from this is that it is possible that sharing future plans is not desirable for a large segment of adult learners, or simply because they see it boring. In both cases, we believe that we should not ask this question again in future projects.

No one has used stickers too.

Inspirations?

There will always be students who need help with learning new things (reality). Even if the number is small, we have to do something to make it easier for them to learn and to understand faster. That’s why, we are inspired to use technology to create something useful and helpful (like a chat app for smartphones) for everyone, even for smarter people.

Exercise: Cultural probe

https://medium.com/@catherinelegros/designing-cultural-probes-31f2c62b9dcf

What is the design goal of the cultural probe?
The goal for the cultural probe was to answer these questions:

  • What sources of influence are present in participants’ day-to-day lives?
  • What are participants’ food aspirations and how do they compare to their food realities?
  • What emotional reactions do certain foods illicit in participants?

What is the probe made of (artifacts & tasks)?
The probe are made off Activities to do at home coloured in white, and to-go which were coloured in yellow. The kit was made from toto bags, a camera, Moleskin notebooks and Cardboard Aesthetic.
The activities were as following:

  1. Meal Documentation  (to go)
    The user was to take pictures of the food they ate outside of the house and the environment they were eating in.
  2. Assumption Journal (to go)
    There was a notebook which the user was supposed to have on them for atleast 1 day. Then they where instructed to observe when another person was eating and write down what they were eating. Then the user was supposed to pick 3 stickers that represent their assumptions about the person they were observing based on the food they were eating.
  3. Colour Palette (at home)
    With the provided placemat and colouring pencils the user was instructed to recreate the colour palette of what they ate every time they ate a meal at home.
  4. Mood Placemat (at home)
    Each time the user ate a meal at home they were to eat it on a new sheet of the placemat and circle how they feel about the food, and about themselves after they ate.
  5. /6 Envelopes (follow directions on the envelopes)
    The user was given envelopes which had different directions on them.
    For example:
    Open this after grocery shopping.
    – List the food items you bought.Open this on the last day before handing in your kit.
    – List the items still left untouched from your grocery shopping.

What inspiration did the design team get from the probe results?

They felt it was inspiring because of the way the cultural probes redefined what research and bonding with the participants is all about.

Literature Review Summary

Main elements/characteristics of my information flow situation

When attempting to teach Norwegian to young-adult refugees, a good teacher is what most people would consider. But what if there were better and faster ways to teach a new language? 

Studies have proven to us multiple times, that being engaged in physical tasks helps learning. This is because when we are active, our brain is working much harder. It’s also memorizing the things we see and experience, much better. In other words, it’s recommended that you change the way you learn, with being more physically active when trying to learn something. 

Some teachers are well experienced with teaching, and knows what works and what doesn’t. However, only the best teachers know how to engage students into making the learning process more fun. That way, it will be more exciting for them, and they will often feel the motivation to work harder. This is because we like experiencing getting better at something we are trying to achieve. 

When learning a new language, it’s important to use it as much as possible. And if you don’t have too much time to use it in your daily life, there are several apps like Duolingo which provides push notifications and reminders on your phone, to make sure you do your daily language exercises. Using it every single day, is one of the most efficient ways to learn a new language.

Challenges encountered in the information flow

The drop-out numbers for adult refugees may have several reasons. These are refugee adults, who possibly have children witch gives them a financial aspect. 

Academic challenges like, cultural dissonance, language barriers, fear or distrust of authority figures, fear of speaking in class and lack of academic support at home may be some of the biggest, and most obvious challenges for an adult refugee learning norwegian. 

cultural dissonance causes lack of interest in learning the norwegian language, it causes discomfort or confusion, by people in the midst of a change in their cultural environment. This is relevant for the people who come to norway as a refugee, because they come from countries with a different culture and different expectations set to them. This makes people uncomfortable, and may cause them to not want to be a part of that culture if they feel rejected. 

Language barriers can be underestimated. for example if you are a norwegian student learning english, you have a lot of references to use. The student can use movies and TV-shows as a learning tool, and when you watch people speak english you get a better idea of how to form your sentences in english, appose to just learning the words translated. Learning how to form a sentence in a different language like norwegian can be a difficult task, if the refugee don’t have a norwegianspeaking reference to follow in terms of what you see, when a person is learning english, and has an endless supply of movies and TV-series. 

The learners have financial obligations leading them to take part-time jobs, witch can prevent the learners from doing school work, and resting for the next school day. These part-time jobs are uselie due to children at home, and they dominate the learners sparetime.

What needs to be improved

First of all, students come from many different backgrounds and ages, and not all of them are of equal learning abilities or have the determination to learn. Some of them want to learn the language as fast as possible so they could get to work or to continue studying. Others, just don’t care at all about the whole learning process or the outcome of the Norwegian course. The result of this is that those students who don’t care, don’t wish, or simply don’t want to make an effort to learn the language as effective as the others, will eventually, negatively affect them. 

There is some solutions to what can be done here. Students can be sorted into the classes they deserve. For example, a class dedicated to hardworking and serious students, and another class for students who like to have fun and play most of the time.

Second, It would have been really nice and more helpful if the teachers were multilingual. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to explain a word to someone, it never makes sense until it is translated into their mother language, or a language they know well. It is not necessary, but it would make learning the language easier. 

An overview of available digital tools and what problem each of them addresses.

Currently, the best digital tools for learning norwegian according to norskbloggen.no and lifeinnorway.net (17.09.2019) is Memrise, Babbel, Nemo and Duolingo. How you access the guides differ, they all have free and paid models. These are all apps which can be used both on apps on a smartphone or a website on a computer, which make them easy to use on the go.

Memrise is an app that uses memorization and visual techniques as its learning component. Memrise is made to fit into a busy day as a supplement to a language course. It is meant for being used whenever you have a free moment in your day so you stay fresh on the language you are learning. This app also has a goal to make the learning experience feel more local as opposed to make you learn the language in a strict formal way.

Babbel also aims at making your conversational skills in the new language better. They try to be up to date with the current way of speaking to each other, this makes the learner speak more naturally. They also want you to speak correctly. Babbel also offer review sessions of words and sentences you have already learned, but in new contexts so that you can reinforce and refresh your memory of your knowledge.

Duolingo is one of the most known language apps on the market, it’s a good app with a whole bunch of languages available for learning, but most importantly; its free. Duolingo claims themselves that using their app is the best new way to learn a language. Its designed to be a fun and addicting experience, it also gives you immediate grading which is good compared to waiting for a grade to know what you have to improve on, wasting valuable learning time. 

 

Babbel costs money after the first course and memrise works with a subscription fee. The one drawback is that duolingo is inherently free, but you can only do so much of a course before you have to wait, unless you want to pay for duolingo plus which removes ads.

All of the apps mentioned are best used as a supplement for language courses, as they are great at refreshing your pre acquired knowledge. But one big issue that they have been critiqued for is the lack of grammar learning. Grammar is especially important if you want to also learn how to write in the desired language. For example french and Norwegian grammar is very different, and a french speaking person might not know this and get a bad learning experience. But that does not mean you can’t learn grammar using these apps, it’s just not going to be as quick and short as their other lessons as some grammar can be quite complicated and need exercises both verbally and written for you to fully understand it.

All in all these apps are designed to be used for short periods of time when you find the time in an otherwise busy day.