Cornelsen App – GROW AS PRO
What is this project about?
This student project was developed in cooperation with Cornelsen publishing house and the University of applied science Potsdam in 2018. The project was a learning app concept that was aimed at students of the 9th to 10th form. With it, they can learn about the causes and effects of climate change. 
Our design class was led by lead designer Dorit Mielke from Cornelsen publishing house. She was using the design thinking method from the design book “Sprints” by Jake Knapp. We went through all phases of the agile design thinking process until a final click prototype which we used for our user interviews at the end of the project.
My Role in this Project
The methods I used to develop our app were: design sprints, wireframes, prototyping in Figma and working with feedback from user Interviews. One special point was to include gamification with a cartoon plant in this app concept.
We started as a group of 20 designers and worked together out the basic knowledge about our main target group. Later, we were separated into smaller design groups of three persons. I worked together with Diana Gert and Gloria Lindenberg. Our topic theme was “becoming a climate expert” and we had time to develop it until the end of our term.

Intro – but how do we learn?
To know what kind of target group we had to deal with and how they can learn something via the app, we first looked at how learning works in the first place.

When learning, the knowledge has to be appropriate to the level of difficulty. Likewise, a certain spectrum of different formats or task types should be offered to promote learning success and prevent boredom.
It is also important to include additional to cognitive activation, cognitive activation, social activation and activation through participation. Generally, it is also important to consolidate knowledge by linking new knowledge with previous knowledge. These learning concepts are regularly taken by teachers in practice. Our App concept assists teachers in the theme of climate change. With our research in the entire group, we looked for the market opportunity for our product.
User Journey - pains and gains
After a guest lecture by a designer from Cornelsen, we students got a good insight into the topic and created this user journey map together.
The user journey map had shown how students’ daily lives were shaped, where teachers and parents make an impact and show the pain and gain sections. 
For students, a “pain” in the classroom would be boredom or being overwhelmed. 
The gain would be that they have varied lessons and feel well prepared.
In summary, we can say that the view of the stakeholders and the target group became more transparent for us, allowing us to identify gaps in the touchpoints, which we looked at in more detail later on.
Back to school
The course organized a hospitation to get to know our common target group better. For this, we visited the classes of the Voltaire School in Potsdam. We observed the students in the 9th to 10th grade, conducted short individual interviews about their learning behaviours, their leisure activities and, of course, about the topic of climate change.

From the collected results our project class found out: First, videos for learning are privately used by many students when they did not understand anything in school. Second, many students have little basic knowledge about climate change.
Sprint Goal and Vision

Dot voting: what were the most interesting insides from our school observation.

We went through several brainstorming phases where we defined ideas and common goals or problems. We clustered them and thereby we were able to look for a common sprint goal.
Our group vision was:
»In two years, students will feel personally affected by climate change and want to make a difference. No more ›it’s none of my business‹.«
To achieve this vision, the course developed three core questions:
1. Can we use our app to make students aware of their influence as individuals,
that they have both: positive and negative impacts on climate change?
2. How can we present climate change in a way that shows personal and current relevance?
3. How can we activate the attendance to act by making a collective vision for positive success?
Afterwards, we all developed a new user journey map with How Might We questions. Later these questions gave us an orientation for the app, which elements we would like to pick up.
Ideation process and becoming a climate expert

The three-screen concepts in combination with the sprint goals for the main topics  “becoming a climate expert” concept.

Process
In this design phase, we worked intensively with the book “Sprint” by Jake Knapp to capture the first visual ideas for the following app concepts.
In the phase of ideation, we created three-screen concepts, using the criteria from the sprint goal before. With these three-screen sketches, the respective concept should be understandable. With the help of the dot voting, elements or app ideas were evaluated.

Dot voting helped us to evaluate elements or app ideas. At the end of this phase, five concepts had been formed. At that point, our class were separated into 5 design groups. Each team worked on a different idea for a learning app concept. Our team came together for the “becoming a climate expert” concept.
»The basic idea of becoming a climate expert is to build up expert knowledge and to do something actively for climate protection with challenges.«
The three important key areas were:
1. The users had to be activated and determined how much previous experience they have had
2. Knowledge had to be transferred for beginners and becoming experts
3. Challenges had to be shown for active climate protection (no more, It’s not my business)
Wireframes and Storyboard
The first challenge was to design an intro for the app in which all the important functions are demonstrated once.
The intro was difficult to design because all topics had to be presented on only 10 screens:
- selecting expert knowledge
- asking for previous experience on climate change
- present the app reward system
- the community functions
- what you can buy in the plant shop
- start your first learning task
First screen concept for our “becoming a climate expert” app.
Group Feedback
The first major feedback from the course took our app in the right direction.
Improvements were requested for the points:
• to increase customizing and resolve from the IOS style guide
• shorter texts in the knowledge section to read
• reducing the elements to interact on the home page of the app
Our cartoon plant with the delightful ”Tamagotchi-factor“ was positively seen, because of the feature that it grows with the knowledge. But unfortunately, this cartoon plant was out of focus in the first draft. In the updated design, we, therefore, placed the plant completely in the focus of our concept.
»The students should grow with their plant in their knowledge about climate change and measure their success on it.«
Redesign
After the feedback, new wireframe designs were developed in each team. Using “Post-it” notes, I redesigned the app structure with my group.

The focus of the new design was to use the cartoon plant as the main element to motivate students for learning. Therefore we developed the cartoon plant store screen. We added a watering system and an achievement indicator to make students care more about their plants and connect emotionally with the app. In the user profile, the plant of friends was presented with the level they already had.
We researched other apps and found out that they used the same technique for learning motivation. The “Duolingo” learning app is a good showcase example for this.

In the new design, there was a strong focus on incorporating the plant as an important design element.
lovely plant illustrations made by Gloria Lindenberg
Final screen designs
Enter process
1) The user enter with their name
2) They choose their own expert theme
3) Each topic has a different plant and gets a self-selected name
4) The user land on the start page and start the first challenge or quiz

App design in Figma

Our user testing phase by Cornelsen publishing house
With the help of the course leader Dorit Mielke, the whole course was prepared for user tests at Cornelsen Publishing house. Here we could test our app design with other students to see if our ideas worked out.
The test group was composed of one person from Cornelsen Publishing and 4 students from the 10th grade.
With help of guiding questions, we wanted to test if our app prototype was appreciated by the students. Also, we wanted to know if our app idea inspired the students to learn more about the climate change theme.
What did you expect in this screen?
What did you expect in this screen?
Food for the interview
Food for the interview
interview material
interview material

Compile results from the user interviews.

Test hypotheses
1. The cartoon plant motivates the students to use the app.
2. The community tasks motivate the students to contribute actively to climate protection outside the app.
3. With the knowledge and quiz tasks, students can learn practical knowledge in a playful way. 
4. The user is motivated to buy decorations for his plants in the plant store – gamification.
5. The reward system with coins and water drops was easy to understand.
6. The user can see on the start page what they can learn.
Evaluation of the interview
The clustering process of the user results took a long time. Some of our hypotheses were confirmed. For example, many students recognised that each climate topic also had its own plant.
Especially these quotes during the test were informative for us:
• “The dramatic image fits the text, there you see the seriousness of the situation.”
• “Beautifying the plant in the shop is a cool gadget.”
• “Does the app cost anything? If it’s for free, that would be ‘The blast!’ Would definitely download it!”
• “You did something active instead of talking a lot.”
• “Would connect me with friends, then you are not so alone and it gives me a feeling to do something together with others.”
• “You get basic bits and everything is very clear, you feel informed.”
Cornelsen Feedback
We only had a short time to prepare our findings in a final presentation for the Cornelsen design team because it was the end of the term. In this final presentation, decision-makers from Cornelsen publishing house was attended to decide which of the five projects should be realised. Sadly, our project was not chosen.
The feedback of the Cornelsen board showed us what was still missing. The integration of the collective ideas had to be more clear. And also the integration for schoolings by teachers were missing. We were complimented for our cartoon plant idea as a motivation element.
Our Learnings
We learned during the course that prototyping requires a lot of preliminary work and concept development before you can start designing. Although there are always things to improve about the app, and questions like “What happens to the plant when it is fully grown?” or “What about the community and collective ideas?”.  
We now know that it takes several iterations to successfully design an app. Finally, the target group is always necessary to get the final decision on the app.
Product Video (in german)
Credits
• Design team: Jens Ove Drößiger, Diana Gert, Gloria Lindenberg
• Supervisior: Prof. Boris Müller and Dorit Mielke from Cornelsen Verlag
• Winter term: 2018/2019

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