Enhancing user-centred educational design: Developing personas of mathematics school students

Robert Weinhandl, Martin Mayerhofer (Corresponding author), Tony Houghton, Zsolt Lavicza, Lena Maria Kleinferchner, Branko Andic, Michael Eichmair, Markus Hohenwarter

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

Persona development techniques are a well-established method to create relatable descriptions of representatives of target users of digital systems. In the field of education, research on learner characteristics has yielded comprehensive results that can help advance educational approaches. Nonetheless, these results often remain abstract and distant for researchers and practitioners. Personas offer a bridge to make this knowledge more accessible and to facilitate user-centred design processes. This study focuses on creating personas of mathematics school students to ease such accessibility. These personas are constructed based on an understanding of learners’ goals, needs, challenges and problems, joys, fears, feelings and emotions, and strategies. Data collection was conducted through a multifaceted approach, encompassing qualitative and quantitative data from web surveys, think-aloud protocols, and interviews. The target demographic comprised upper secondary school mathematics students in Austria. We found five distinct patterns of characteristics prevalent in this target group. The patterns of characteristics reflected by the personas complement the scientific body of knowledge obtained from traditional approaches investigating characteristics and needs of learners. In practical terms, these personas empower the development of user-centred digital systems, learning materials, and lessons, thus fostering an enriched educational experience for mathematics students.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24173
Number of pages16
JournalHeliyon
Volume10
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 503006 Educational research

Keywords

  • Educational technologies
  • Mathematics student characteristics
  • Personas
  • Upper secondary education
  • UX research

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