Reflective Summary Background Summary The purpose of this usability test is to evaluate whether students improved their skills of recording and organizing notes using graphic organizers in order to create meaningful learning. This study will also be used to identify any possible design concerns that may need to be altered or changed in order to improve understanding and productivity.
Methodology The study participants included twenty-four girls and nineteen boys between the ages of eight and nine. They were chosen because they were in third grade and lacked an adequate understanding of how to take notes and record information using graphic organizers. 100% of the students have some prior knowledge of “fill-in-the-blank” worksheets and copying missing information that is given directly by the teacher. This is a prerequisite skill that is required in order for the participants to complete the tasks. 100% of the students have no knowledge on how to take notes and organize them using a graphic organizer. This deficit will be addressed as a goal of the usability test.
The usability test took place in a third grade classroom. Over a five day period the students participated in a series of 4 modules using videos, applications, websites, teacher created organizers and student created graphic organizers. During the modules the students were encouraged to “think out loud” as the facilitator observed and recorded their behavior, errors, successes, feelings, and comments. At the end of each module a rubric was used to assess student productivity and evidence of meaningful learning.
Test Results All participants showed growth in their ability to adequately record information onto a graphic organizer. Ninety-seven percent (42 out of 43) of the students scored “Very Good” when using the rubric to grade their note taking using Padlet. One participant scored “Good,” however, it was noted that this student is new to the U.S. and is still learning English, this deficit is likely the cause of her only posting three relevant notes. During module three the facilitator observed all of the participants using their graphic organizer to assist them in research note taking. For prewriting using their graphic organizer, ninety-five percent (41 out of 43) of the students scored “Very Good,” while the other five percent (2 out of 43) scored “Good” due to an incomplete prewriting sheet. When surveyed, 100% of the students believed the graphic organizer helped them to organize their notes easier and remember the information longer. The facilitator noted many students asking if they could keep using their graphic organizers. Recommendations The DESTIN project flowed well and the students were able to work through the modules with ease. The expectation and reason for the modules was appropriately met. To enhance the lesson it is recommended that the same grading system be used for each rubric, by implementing either a point system or percentage. This will aid students in clearly understanding what will be expected and what their final grade represents. In addition, we would recommend that the lessons be reduced to just two or three. Having four modules that covered multiple days was more instruction and practice than the students needed.