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Creating student personas and a module map

This page builds on the guidance given in the ‘How to develop a flexible module’ page and specifically outlines the approach to creating student personas and a module map.

How to create student personas

What is a 'student persona'?

Student personas are fictional characters you create, based on your experience or through research, that represent the students likely to undertake your module.

Why should I use student personas?

Student personas are used in design processes to focus on the needs, experiences, behaviours and goals of  students. When developing an online or blended module, personas can help you to better align your content with the needs and expectations of your students.

You can use the personas in the development stage as a test or reference point. Include things like:

  • Age
  • Year of study
  • Educational background
  • Motivators and demotivators
  • Digital literacy

How many do I need to create?

Begin by creating a minimum of two student personas.

Creating more may help you consider the needs of a wider student demographic. Unlike your Module Map, Student Personas are not specific to your module. Therefore, you may find it helpful to undertake this activity at a course level or share your personas with your departmental colleagues to create a bank of personas to be selected for use across modules.

Is there a template or any examples I can use to guide me?

There is a PowerPoint template that contains example profiles and a slide with tips on populating the fields to create your own personas. You can find this on your module’s Microsoft Teams channel > FilesPersonas

Edit this PowerPoint document online to create your personas, and it will be saved automatically. Alternatively, note down your persona profiles in a Word document. Let your Learning Designer know once you've completed the persona task.

Any other advice?

Have your student personas around when you are generating ideas or creating materials. Some Learning Designers print them out and have them on their wall when they are working on the development, perhaps having a shortcut to them on your desktop is a more environmentally friendly solution.

If you have any questions or concerns about creating student personas, please email the Flex Team or contact your assigned Learning Designer via the Teams channel.

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Module Mapping Guidance

Creating a detailed module map helps your module to meet the international Quality Matters standards, and to provide an engaging experience for students. It’s based on Laurillard’s six types of learning::

  • Acquisition (on-campus equivalent = lectures and readings)
  • Collaboration (on-campus equivalent = group work and SCALE-UP)
  • Discussion (on-campus equivalent = seminars and SCALE-UP)
  • Investigation (on-campus equivalent = research and analysis)
  • Practice (on-campus equivalent = tests, quizzes, reflection, role-play, case studies)
  • Production (on-campus equivalent = portfolios, essays, reflections, reviews)

How to create a module map

  1. Open 'Module map' in Teams (FilesModule map)
  2. Use your module specification or handbook for reference.
  3. In the template, start by breaking your module down into weeks.
  4. Optional: paste in your module learning outcomes and number them. This may be helpful in mapping activities to LOs.
  5. Add activities. For each activity, add a title and select from the six learning types, using the dropdown list. Consider the learning outcomes and how a mix of different activities could help achieve these. You may want to use your face-to-face teaching practice as a starting point. For example, a 1-hour lecture with associated discussion points could be turned into a few short videos and discussion activity.
  6. After you've filled out the activity titles and learning types, go back through each week’s content and add activity timing estimates and specify the activity types. The list above has examples and is included in the module map template.  If your module has existing web pages that you would like to reuse, make a note of this next to the activity type (e.g. audio recording – existing web page).
  7. Identify where feedback will be given to students (e.g. auto feedback on a quiz, formative assessment feedback, tutor feedback on a discussion forum).
  8. Identify summative assessment tasks by highlighting the row with yellow in Excel.
  9. Identify places where face-to-face, on-campus interaction will occur.
  10. Use the QA checklist tab to check you've covered the main areas. This will help us make the best use of time in the 1-hour workshop. Let your Learning Designer know when you've finished.

Please make sure the module map is completed before the 1-hour workshop.

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Example activities for each type of learning

Acquisition - Listening, reading, watching

  • Readings (library resources)
  • Online resources
  • Audio recordings/podcasts
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Field/lab observations (media/blog)

Collaboration - Often covers discussion, practice, production to take part in the process of knowledge building (groups using wikis, discussions, joint digital outputs)

  • Group work through Teams, SharePoint, Padlet, PebblePad etc
  • Peer review
  • Problem-solving/enquiry based activity
  • SCALE-UP activities
    • Ponderable (thought-provoking question or problem)
    • Tangible (activity-based around a physical object)
    • Visible (activity based on visible, e.g. a graph or a photo)

Discussion - Articulating ideas and questions, challenging/responding to ideas from tutor/peers   

  • Discussion forums
  • Teams discussion
  • Social networking
  • Reflective tasks

Investigation - Exploration, comparison/critique, research sources, analysis, evaluation

  • Web search
  • Literature review
  • Library resources
  • Field/lab observations
  • Data analysis
  • Research
  • Creative exploration, e.g. sketching, working with material

Practice - Learning through practice, reflection, feedback: using models, simulations, role play, scenarios

  • Multiple-choice questions (with automatic feedback)
  • Online roleplay (discussion forum, Teams)
  • Reflective tasks
  • Case studies
  • Practice exam questions
  • Subject-specific interactive websites
  • Branching activity
  • Journal/Blog
  • Use software (set tasks or free experimentation)

Production - Consolidation of prior learning: producing designs, videos, blogs, e-portfolios

  • Literature review
  • Quiz
  • Case studies
  • Portfolios/PebblePad
  • Presentations
  • Audio recordings
  • Videos
  • Essays
  • Self-assessment questions with auto feedback
  • Reports
  • Concept map
  • Practice exam
  • Action plan
  • 2D visual output (painting, illustration, computer-based visualisation, photograph, poster)
  • 3D output (a piece of furniture, sculpture)
  • Computer program/website

This work, “ABC Learning Design” is a derivative of ABC Learning Design method by Clive Young and Nataša Perović, UCL (2015), Learning types, Laurillard, D. (2012). Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Original resources available at abc-ld.org.

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Summary and next steps

Here's what happens once you've completed your module map:

  • Attend a one-hour development workshop
  • Submit exemplar content
  • Create/reformat your content

Refer to the How to develop a Flexible module page for comprehensive content creation guidance.

Any questions?

For general questions about this process contact the Flex Team at elearning@ntu.ac.uk

For tech support queries (e.g. questions about software, installation issues), contact Digital Technologies at support@ntu.ac.uk and for copyright/IP queries, contact the Library at libinfodirect@ntu.ac.uk

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ABC Learning Design

"ABC Learning Design is a high-energy, hands-on curriculum development workshop developed at UCL. In just 90 minutes, teaching teams work together to create a visual ‘storyboard’. The storyboard is made up of pre-printed cards representing the type and sequence of learning activities (both online and offline) required to meet the module or programme learning outcomes."

ABC Learning Design method by Clive Young and Nataša Perović, UCL (2015) is licensed under CC BY NC SA 4.0. Learning types, Laurillard, D. (2012). Download at abc-ld.org.

The module map ('storyboard') task is a part of the ABC learning design methodology. It provides a structured, fast-paced approach to course design that helps ensure a clear learning pathway and a mix of learning types. The break-down of learning types and activities also helps to give teaching teams ideas for converting classroom-based activities into online tasks.

The completed module map can then be finalised with the support of the Learning Designer, providing a clear outline to organise the development of the teaching and learning content in your NOW learning room.

Still need help?

Flexible Learning