An app aimed to help users improve their spoken English skills by asking and answering questions while offering daily practice tasks, let users embrace knowledge in an immersed environment; different from English learning applications which led learners to study English through reciting over and over again. 

BRICKS

Individual Project

11/2017 - 12/2017

Most of the Chinese English learners are good at English reading and writing rather than speaking and listening, for school tends to focus on textbook-based learning that emphasizes vocabulary and grammar to cater for the requirements of exams. Many of the students are lack opportunities to practice “real“ language communication, especially about speaking.

I have chosen five popular English speaking apps in China and assessed them concerning seven crucial points which are essential in learning spoken English. The chart shows that those points are less considered in those prevalent apps, especially regarding evaluation over conversion between input and output of knowledge.

According to my research involving 23 people who need to practice oral English, I figure out that it’s ubiquitous that they can learn to speak English but do not know how to use it or have no chance to use it.

QUESTION & ANSWER

EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE 

CONSISTENT ACTIONS

LEARN BY USING

BRICKS is an app aimed to help users improve their spoken English skills by asking and answering questions while offering daily practice tasks, let users embrace knowledge in an immersed environment; different from English learning applications which led learners to study English through reciting over and over again. 

Bricks means involving day by day. Once you have enough bricks, the knowledge building could be built up. It is also an incentive mechanism for users.

The following is the knowledge absorbing pyramid I concluded: Thinking - Answering - learning - Recalling - Understanding - Using. With the learning loop, the app creates the chance for users to have an in-depth understanding of English using. A plan set for daily learning is combined with random questions and answers for users to learn more.

In the app, the role of answerers and questioners is interchanging, which aims to make users think out of the box and flexibly master the skills from multiple perspectives. 

User who raises a question could get knowledge from others and practice the understanding skills of English. User who answers the question could practice the language using in his familiar topics and improve communication skills.

The frame of this application is lightweight, habituation, and gamification, for Bricks aims to bring a painless learning experience for users and let them fall in love with practicing spoken English.

In order to know whether the application is working well, I invite several of my friends who have the need for improving oral English skills to help me test the demo. The test has three parts: tasking testers with determining where corresponding functions are; learning whether the tester is confused about certain functions or interface setting; testing the fluency of the interactive demo.

 

From the usability test, I learned that there are some places that should be refined, such as the buttons’ position, the jump from one page to another. More specifically, the procedures ahead of random questioning and answering are tedious, so I refashioned the interface and simplified the route.

After adjusting the details, I made the high-fidelity version of the app. It is a lightweight design with a clear interface, simple frame, and characteristics of simplistic operation. Gamification method is employed to award the users to make them learn better.