Explore ways to increase the adoption of CTAT, a tutor-writing software, in higher education settings.
The design of a new website and tutorials for CTAT, and a built demo of these components.
Role UX designer
Team Grace Guo (researcher), Chris Feng (project manager), Siting Jin (developer)
The Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools (CTAT) allow instructors to create intelligent tutors, which are powerful for their ability to provide contextual feedback as students work through problems. However, we found that potential users find the software difficult to understand, much less use.
We focused on helping users learn what CTAT can do. We designed web components that work together to teach users how to use CTAT to facilitate delivering problem sets and student feedback.
Our users are instructors in university-level settings. Providing fresh course material and feedback are both crucial to students' learning, yet both are immensely time consuming. For educators in STEM domains, CTAT could alleviate many of these issues, if they knew what it could do.
Faculty are busy...if they’re going to put in time to learn something, it better be worth it.
Through competitive analysis and interviews with professors, we learned about the problem-writing process and some useful features of other educational technologies. By comparison, CTAT is an extremely powerful tool but faces 3 major barriers to adoption:
Of the 3 areas, we determined that only #2 and #3 were in scope for our time frame, as #1 would involve working with CTAT’s existing code base. We derived our goal to help instructors learn and adopt CTAT so they can more effectively help their students.
We identified tutorials as an entry point to engage with CTAT, hypothesizing that effective tutorials can increase interest. We based our prototypes on CTAT's existing tutorials (our control variable), asking users to follow the steps and what they retained afterwards. We tested 2 formats:
We found that text provided clearer explanations, which helped users retain specific parts better, but following a video made the task easier to complete.
In the next rounds we worked to find a good balance between the two formats for better learning and retention.
During this process, I created interactive prototypes for testing, and iterated on the interactions and visual elements.
The tutorial made me want to know more. If it only uses a few things to make something decent, I want to know what else it can do!
We decided to rework CTAT’s website as a whole, because tutorials alone could not provide enough context about CTAT. I prototyped the web pages for testing, though not as extensively as our tutorials. Below are wireframes and older iterations.
As the team's designer, I also developed a new visual system for the site and tutorials, exploring component styles and layouts.
Our new website hosts a tutor gallery and a series of tutorials to teach new users about CTAT. I crafted the style and language of the site to be approachable and soothing. Below is a site map of our key pages.
The gallery allows users to explore real, deployed tutors made with CTAT, demonstrating what they can do and serving as inspiration for novices.
The bulk of our work was focused here. The tutorials are designed as step-by-step guides to teach users about CTAT and the power of its features.
Though users showed better learning and understanding of CTAT in our testing, we were not able to track the effectiveness of our design on CTAT adoption over time. Next steps might include: