In the software world we create ‘user personas’ to help design websites and apps that deliver high customer satisfaction. A persona is a fictional person that represents a group of customers with similar needs, values, and abilities. Personas are based on characteristics of the group such as age, income objectives, or post-secondary education goals. Personas guide our software development process so that our Couragion application better engages and appeals to our students and educators.
Personas are not only helpful in the software world but can guide any organization in any industry – including K-12 education! When we first designed Couragion, we knew that by using our data-driven approach to create the persona of the incoming workforce we would provide insight to post-secondary and business entities on how to better attract and retain youth. But we quickly came to realize that this same information could be useful to educators too! While the persona is based on students’ workplace preferences, it gives educators a better understanding of their learners’ interests, values, and priorities so that they can better reach and engage students in the learning process.
Personas will differ based on student grade, gender, ethnicity, school, district, etc. But we would like to share the persona characteristics from the aggregate of our actual student data and highlight how educators have used this data…
- Across the board, students who use Couragion have a strong preference to work in teams – only 17% prefer to work alone. And the majority of students prefer a team size of 2 to 3. To accommodate for this preference among her students, one of our teachers restructured the team sizes she uses for group projects – switching from teams of 5 or 6 to smaller groups.
- Couragion students demonstrate a great desire to help people, animals and the planet with 78% stating that having a greater purpose in their job is important/extremely important. We have seen educators use this information as a driver for thinking about how to shift the focus of their project-based learning topics to include a focus on helping others in order to draw in and motivate more students.
- 83% of students want a career/employer that provides recognition for a job well done. A partner school saw an even higher score for this among their students and used the information to support the need for restructuring and expanding merit-based student awards on their campus.
- Across all grade levels, the most selected working environment preference for Couragion students is an office environment. However, among elementary students the most selected working environment is outdoors! Seeing this data inspired one teacher to periodically host class outside.
The above examples are just a small highlight of the type of persona insights provided in the Couragion application. Do you know the persona of your students? How could you use such information to differentiate lessons or classroom structure to account for the personas in your classroom? Share your ideas with us at info at couragion.com.