In order to obtain an expert third-party view of what Learn WordPress needs in order to succeed, a leading digital learning consultant (AllenComm) was contracted to perform a full needs assessment of the platform. This needs assessment was funded by Automattic, and the research was entirely neutral and based on observations made by AllenComm themselves.
After a few months of this ongoing assessment, the final results have been delivered so here they are in their entirety.
First up, here’s a PDF of the full presentation of their findings:
Along with that, here are the results of the public user survey that was included in their research:
And, finally, they also created these interactive mockups of how Learn WordPress could be improved based on their findings.
Since there’s a lot to go through in all of that, here’s the executive summary of the findings from the assessment:
1. Make it minimal and meaningful
- Offer assessments to determine level of expertise and user group.
- Make the site easy to navigate with intuitive searching solutions with auto complete options for commonly searched terms.
- Include filters that can be easily accessed with meaningful content.
- Provide quick access to topics and solutions that apply to them. Because most use this for work obligations, they’ll need quick solutions and quick access.
2. Make it concise and customised
- Provide a revolving carousel of new options for learning to ensure the new content gets cycled through and older content is flagged as possibly outdated.
- Facilitate easy, simple options for them to take ownership to invest their own content based on the needs of the community.
- Create badging or indicators that coincide with their level of expertise based on completion and contributions.
3. Make it iterative
- Create flexible, current opportunities for the users to make the site their own based on their interests and level of expertise.
- Apply dates to all materials so learners can determine if the content is applicable to current versions of their current processes.
- Provide current, relevant supplementary materials for specific topics such as editors and plug-in functions. (PDF)
4. Make it interactive
- Include training activities that encourage the users to apply or think through the application of new processes or solutions.
- Don’t test them on knowledge, but instead outline various use cases for the lessons and materials.
- Provide pre-recorded sessions and a way to ask questions of the presenter.
5. Make it interpersonal
- Provide access to a collaboration of real people in real time so they can garner specific support when and where they need it.
- Continue to provide instructional videos of real people who may share some struggles they’ve also had and how they’ve solved it.
- Provide a feedback loop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop. where they can offer suggestions and receive responses.
There are some very exciting ideas in there and there’s a lot that I’m looking forward to exploring further! It is important to note, however, that none of this is prescriptive – just because the report suggests we do something, doesn’t mean we need to do it. Our task from here is to use this to figure out just what we need and what we can implement from all of this.
Please discuss in the comments of this post and leave any thoughts or feedback you might have!