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Uncovering student learning behaviours at the Festival of Creative Learning

Yesterday I ran a practical introductory session to some collaborative UX research and design practices for Edinburgh students, as part of our Festival of Creative Learning. It also gave colleagues an insight into how students approach their studies.

As I was running a UX introductory session for students, I had suggested to colleagues managing online learning platforms that this could also be a way to gather insight from students as they tried out some practical activities.

Students look at post it notes on a whiteboard

Edinburgh students make sense of their individual contributions through affinity mapping


So working with them, I designed an experience mapping activity that both gave students a flavour of what we do in a user research and design function while exploring each others’ experiences of undertaking coursework as part of their degrees.

Students at white board looking at groups of post it notes

Patterns and groups emerge from students’ interview notes which are then classified and labelled.


By the end of the session, students and staff had a better understanding of what user experience research and design entail, as well as hands-on experience of a couple of techniques they could feasibly put into practice to support their studies.

A group watch a student present

At the end of the session, the students had evolved their insights into the beginnings of an experience map which they were able to present back to the room


Plus colleagues in our Learning, Teaching and Web Division gained some insight into what students were doing, thinking and feeling as they embarked on the challenge of producing a piece of coursework. These kinds of insights can help us to focus our attentions when developing and enhancing services to meet genuine student needs. I’ll be following up  to run through the experience map produced by the students, and to see if we can grow and enhance it with further insight and validation.

Really useful introduction to some new ideas, and lots of resources to follow up. Thanks!

Student workshop participant

The session itself went really well, with the group engaged and interested in both the seminar and theory side of things, as well as the practical tasks I set. I was really impressed at how easily and enthusiastically our students – who came from a range of academic disciplines – took to the tasks I set them and how confidently and proactively they collaborated.

Feedback on the session

The feedback for the session was also excellent.

The following are average scores from 9 respondees, where 1 is strongly positive and 5 strongly negative:

  • Usefulness of the session: 1.5
  • Quality of the presentation: 1
  • Usefulness of the activities: 1.4
  • Expertise of the trainer: 1


I also got a few comments via the feedback forms:

“Would have been great to have a longer session on this!”

“Really useful introduction to some new ideas, and lots of resources to follow up. Thanks!”

“…really keen to now go and try out some of this for myself.”

“…many thanks for the insightful and thought-provoking workshop!”

Get in touch

If you’re interested in our user experience training, research and design services, get in touch.

Neil Allison, User Experience Manager contact details

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