Last week, we sat down with senior professors at the Institute of Design the other day, we got some great feedback about Bettr@ and its current business model and interface.
In particular, Tom MacTavish (adjunct Professor and former Motorola executive) had some good ideas about goal setting and referred me to Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model. I read the book Flow before I came to school, but I guess it hadn’t really occurred to me how much Bettr@ could be used to really manage flow, especially through use of someone’s interest net. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.
I was puzzling more through user motivations in learning today and going through notes that I’ve taken over the course of the past year in understanding people’s personal learning journeys.
Behavioral scientists say that people are fully ‘immersed’ when they have clearly defined goals and feel like they are control of the actions, activities, and the environment. Another element that yield the optimal “flow” state is having challenges that can be overcome (Interestingly, Bettr@ literally has the rought concept of exercises and challenges — which are small hurdles that we think people will feel good about passing) Furnishing people with a visual dashboard for them to track their progress in a certain endeavor essentially helps keep them immersed, and that’s pretty powerful stuff. One of the real challenges we have is to make people feel “immersed” as Csikszentmihalyi defines it, without making the act of reflection and spending time on the site mundane and rote.
Tomorrow (or I guess today, at this late hour) starts the first day of Design Analysis at the Institute of Design, taught for the first time by Pip (of Doblin fame).
For this class, I’m a teaching assistant, which is great for multiple reasons. The first of which, I think that design analysis and synthesis are really the bread and butter of the ID curriculum. They are make or break classes as far as I’m concerned, and I feel good that I have some input into communicating and teaching a great deal in just two short 7 week increments.
I also enjoy teaching because it certainly helps me get Bettr (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) when I can help others along through the process.
I was going back through an old presentation we gave in design analysis, and besides for being dismayed by its elementary nature (how much we learn and improve our practice in just a year is astounding sometimes), I was taken immediately by how useful the act of reflecting on an old artifact is.
Yes, reflecting on an old artifact. I probably wouldn’t have dug this thing out from an old folder and looked at it unless and until I was using it for this class.
Its funny how things sometimes come around in circles. The more and more I think about self improvement, the more I’m convinced that it has everything to do with the cycle of 1) learning from some external stimulus, 2) doing or creating and 3) reflecting on the artifact created or the thing that was just done. That’s it. Keep doing just that, and you get better faster, plain as vanilla. Reflecting is all about learning from mistakes and failing forward.
So here goes. Here are some of the lessons that I gained from Design Analysis that I’m planning on sharing with the class tomorrow.
1 don’t use too many methods and compromise the story
2 in the absence of primary research, secondary guerilla research like using forums works well
3 if the method doesn’t fit, change it to match your needs (but don’t shoehorn if something else fits better!)
4 don’t rely on strong presentation skills to tell the story, assume it’ll be read afterwards.