Microsoft Learning Platform

Microsoft wanted to become a bigger player in the education market. So they challenged us by asking "How can digital assistants support the needs of students in the year 2020?" For two weeks during my master's program, I worked together with three other designers.
Winner of the 2015 Microsoft Design Challenge
Our Design
Introducing Microsoft's Augmented Learning Platform
Empowering students to improve their motor skills with Microsoft
A students journey with this new tool
This user journey will share how the tool works in a real learning scenario
Design Process
Exploring Opportunity Spaces
Since our problem was clearly defined for us, our team started by examining Microsoft's current position in the market. To do this, we completed these activities:
  1. Conducted a competitive analysis to understand what competitors are doing in the market. We looked at Google and Apple in comparison to Microsoft
  2. Conducted secondary research on education to better understand what issues are limiting students
  3. Examined user groups who were affected to identify which user groups need the most help
Summary of our competitive research findings
Speaking to people in the Fine Arts
After identifying our user group to focus on, we interviewed and observed a subset of the group - dancers. We reached out to a variety of dancers for different reasons:
  1. Academic Dance Instructor (Key Informant) - To understand a teacher's perspective and help find students
  2. Observation - To learn more about the interactions between dance instrusctors and students in class.
  3. Student -To understand the frustrations and limitations of learning dance from a student’s perspective.
  4. Hobbyist - To learn more about how dance hobbyist learn dance by himself and the frustrations that occur during practice
Various people we spoke to for our research
Idea Generation
Our team generated ideas based on our research and wanted to explore the following:
  1. Practice Time - assisting students when they practice on their own
  2. Concert Dance - focus on dances that requires memorization
  3. Student Progress - help teachers understand the progress each student has made on their own
Being cognizant of Microsoft's upcoming technologies, we looked to the Xbox Kinect and HoloLens as means to create a better practicing environment. Our design focused on using these technologies to help facilitate practice for students when they were not in the classroom.
The user groups we focused our brainstorming on
Final Thoughts
When pitching to a company like Microsoft, you need to think big. Your solutions need to consider the entire world. Our team only collected research on dancers and motor learning. However, we should have done a better job of explaining how our product could work with any type of motor learning, not just dance.

As much as Microsoft liked our idea, it could have been stronger. In the future, I'll be more cognizant of the audience I am presenting to.
Various other areas we could have used our design to solve for