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Practical UX Approaches to Increasing Quality in Learning Sites

Speaker
Kim Vincent,
Lynnae Venaruzzo

Western Sydney University

Abstract
Learning sites in Universities often vary in terms of quality and design, depending on the individual skills of academic staff and the supports they have available to them. At Western Sydney University, the development of quality learning sites has occurred at different rates and has resulted in idiosyncratic designs. Learning sites are the primary technology space students access for their Learning Guide, assessment information and activities and learning materials, however the student experience varies significantly. The consistency of information provided to students varies within courses, and is compounded when students are studying double-degrees or taking electives.

A quality benchmarking initiative identified the need to improve visual and structural consistency across learning sites. A UX approach was central to improving the student experience using three major design principles: PRAC (Proximity, Repetition, Alignment, and Contrast), student-centred design thinking, and a scaffolded instructional design framework.

This paper will explore these three design elements and their impact on learning design and student engagement. We will present the functionality and features of a learning site template designed to be used for all sites used across the university, as well as feedback from students and academics about its effectiveness. We will also present on support mechanisms that are in place to achieve this institutional-wide initiative.