How might we make online learning easier for teachers and students?



User Researcher

Lead Designer

Visual Designer








During a global pandemic, teachers, parents, and children were forced to navigate a new world of online teaching. With that, came the challenge of learning complicated new software that didn't enhance education, but hindered it instead. These challenges have especially impacted educators and students at the elementary school level.

How might we create a simple and easy to navigate experience for both elementary school students and teachers where both can succeed in a online learning environment?

The Plan

For this project I used the iterative process of Design Thinking methodology to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.


This is the research stage spent learning as much as I can about the users. This time was also spent learning about competitors and what they have to offer.


The next phase would be to define the problem. Here I will take the research done and come up with a list of our user's needs and problems. This is also were we define out problem statement, personas, and user stories.


Here I will start generating ideas. With a solid background of knowledge from the first two phases means I can start sketching and identify innovative solutions to the problem statement.


Now I can bring the MVP to life buy building a prototype of the MVP. The goal here is to create inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product to investigate the ideas generated.


With the prototype built we can have users from the target audience do some user testing and try the solution out. Through the feedback received in this phase, I will be able to take what I learned and improve upon the prototype by further iterating, altering, and refining.

What's the Competition Doing?

Google Classroom



Interviews & Research

First I had to learn all I can about the teacher's experiences in the online classroom.

In this phase of empathizing, I did secondary research, conducted interviews, and did competitor analysis to gain a better understanding of the pain points teachers were having when using Learning Management Systems. This approach was necessary to understand what teachers and students were experiencing with online education.

Methods Used:

  • Secondary Research
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Surveys
  • Interviews

Affinity Mapping

Affinity mapping is one of my absolutely favorite way to synthesize research. With this method I can visualize and categorize my findings and pull insights from them.



Students have trouble navigating their way through an LMS. This leads to teachers spending a lot of their time guiding individual students to where they need to be before starting a lesson.

K through 3

Students anywhere between kindergarten and 3rd grade, come into school not knowing how to read or below grade level. This makes navigation difficult if not impossible for some students.

Different UI's

On many occasions when teachers try to guide students through a LMS, they discover that what the student see and what the teacher see are completely different.


Alice is a 1st grade teacher at a Title 1 school for the past 3 years since graduating from University.

By thinking through Alice’s journey, I was able to factor in her pain points. As a result, I strived for simplicity and removing unnecessary action the student would have to take to follow along with a lesson or task.

  • Alice is a 1st grade teacher with 3 years of teaching experience.
  • She takes her job as a teacher very seriously.
  • Is highly motivated by professionalism and pride.
  • Her students often struggle navigating the LMS.
  • Not being able to do her job efficiently makes her feel like she’s failing her students.

User Stories

Developing a list of different user stories resulted in communicating product requirements for a MVP. Every user story told a story of a problem that a user wanted to solve. This provided sufficient information to understanding the functional needs.

The user stories were meant to be living documents that grew and changed as the project evolved. This stage was instrumental to developing common use cases which served a basis for the next phases.


The sitemap allowed me to visual possible structures for the MVP before sketching. Through the site map I was able to identify usability problems. The scope had suddenly become larger than necessary. The project had drifted slightly off course from my goal, this provided an opportunity to course correct and re-align the project with the original goal.


To get a better understanding, I mapped out user flows and screens for both teachers and students on paper. Taking these sketches and consulting with teachers helped me understand certain points that were missing and what could be simplified.

Early User Testing

For example we had teachers look as some early sketches of screen. What I learn was that during a presentation it became unnecessary to display all of the student's videos. As a result, it was decided to head all student video during presentations.

Wireframes & Userflows

Once the sketches were done and I had a good understanding of what the userflows can be, I started wireframing. I used rapid prototyping techniques to bring the designs to life and evaluate them with the users. Testing these concepts helped me form a broader view of the system earlier ensuring a more cohesive design.

Prototype & Test

This is my favorite phase! Prototyping allows me to really bring a project to life. Using Figma I was able to create a working prototype.

Using Figma to create my high fidelity screens made for a quick and effective what to immediately create prototypes. I worked collaboratively with users, tested constantly and iterated progressively.

Check out the prototype here.

High Fidelity Screens

Moving forward with the design I used Figma to create detailed mockups. With this approach I was able to easily share the design process with users and get early feedback on branding, visuals, and UI.

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What I learned

I was shocked to learn what teachers really have to do on a daily basis, due to the complexity of current LMS tools. At first, I was excited to build an app with every little feature I thought a teacher could ever want, but I quickly realized that what I thought teachers needed and what they wanted were very different.

One of my biggest challenges was coming to terms with the fact that I was making assumptions about the user base. In my mind, I thought I was designing a feature teachers would love, but in reality they had little to no need for it.

Throughout the project, it was very important to me to make sure the work I was doing was something teachers wanted. Reminding myself to involve teachers at multiple stages helped me keep a clear vision of what features teachers truly needed.