Delayed

Seamless learning

Enabling students to pick up their learning materials on any app or device from the exact point that they last used them.

Continuity

Hypothesis

Providing students with a seamless study experience using smart technology devices will improve learning efficiency and reduce wasted time and effort.

The opportunity

Students are increasingly using a range of smart devices and digital operating systems to support their learning. This means that moving between using the physical (notebooks, textbooks, etc.) and digital (smartphone, laptop, tablet, smart speaker, etc.) is becoming a more common occurrence than before, although students will still require the same elements to be present and accessible (learning content, notes, revision, access, etc.)

The implication here is that there is an increasing amount of time being spent preparing for study because with a variety of devices now being used there is an inevitable period of setup time that is spent getting ready for study, whether at home, the office, or on the move. This preparation time eats into valuable study time and is a limiting factor on a student's ability to study flexibly and decreases the available study windows / pockets of time.

The purpose of the seamless learning experiment is to establish where we can make minor improvements to the student experience that add up to big gains in available study time when moving between devices. By investigating how we can better support continuity between devices and operating systems to make content available more quickly, we aim to provide recommendations on how to adjust the production and delivery of learning content.

This could involve a variety of factors, including:

  • adjusting A/V material delivery to make it available via apps and services that students use that support pick-up and drop-off between devices, as well as resumption from the last point of listening (e.g. Spotify, Apple Podcasts)
  • using a podcast server to allow the content to be picked up via smart speakers using voice commands, saving time getting sorted for a study session
  • suggesting amends to content production to disaggregate content or to separate long videos or audio into short-form pieces to support delivery via smart speakers and screens (and potentially other devices too)
  • providing guidance to students on how to utilise content across a range of devices, such as assisting them in using the cloud to pick-up and drop-off content between device types
  • making minor amends to our VLE pages to more easily support resumption of content and to better support casting / AirPlay
  • and many more...

The benefits

The core purpose is to establish how we can better support students by:

  • decreasing wasted time setting up study sessions
  • reducing frustration (e.g. by eliminating the need for a student to navigate through a whole LMS to get to the content they were just using on a mobile device or smart TV)
  • improving students' digital skills by providing training materials and guidance on a range of smart technologies and services
  • making content available more quickly in small study windows on various devices to support flexible learning patterns
  • supporting new methods of study on technologies that we currently don't support
  • and more...

REsults

We have currently delayed work on this experiment in order to support efforts being made across the University to support students given the recent situation around COVID-19.

ADDITIONAL THEMES

Smart home
Digital literacy
Media consumption

Team

Senior Product Development Manager

User Experience Designer

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What is the Smart Tech project for?

The Smart Tech project was born out of the need to understand more fully the potential benefits of smart device usage on student success and to assess whether there are changes that we can make to the production and delivery of learning materials to assist in this aim.

Discover more about the project