Who Are We Creating For? (Personas)

It can help a lot when we get lost in the details of a large project, such as the one the WordPress Training Team is tasked with, to remember why you’re doing it at all. Who are we trying to help? Who are we writing for? Who will be using these lesson plans? We tend to default to “someone like me.” That’s not a good default for this team.

We agreed to try to come up with 4-8 (or so) personas. A persona for our purposes is a description of a person (fictional or possibly anonymously real) that could include things such as:

  • demographics (age, gender, that sort of thing)
  • where do they live?
  • who are they teaching?
  • did they volunteer to teach?
  • what is their background?
  • what motivates them?
  • what do they consider “success”?
  • how much time do they have to prepare?
  • how do they learn about WordPress?
  • what do they do for a living?
  • how do they use WordPress themselves?
  • do they attend WordCamps or meetups themselves?

I don’t have all the questions we should answer in these persona descriptions, so if you have ideas there, please make those suggestions too!

In a comment, please describe your persona. Give them a name so that we can refer to them easily. Describe them and their needs/motivation/challenges as best you can. All ideas welcome and let’s work together to make a really excellent list!

Recap of August 29, 2017 Meeting

Structural Needs for Lesson Plans

@juliekuehl: I think one piece that we have been struggling with is who are our “users”. There has been some discussion regarding their level of experience/expertise with WordPress. And the environments in which these lesson plans are expected to be used. Testing at meet ups and eventually using them at meet ups is still on the table. I think one audience that we’ve been missing is the … “disadvantaged” workshops / areas / environments

@aimeegc: Could someone tell me more about this need’s reach? Is it nation-wide meet ups? I got an answer about how this need was identified last meeting, but I’m still feeling unclear as to how this became the most pressing use case.

She pointed out that she has never heard of learning WP classroom-style at meet ups.

@juliekuehl:: I don’t think meetups as we understand them in the U.S. is the most pressing use case. Convenient, perhaps. But not pressing. We were also tasked with providing materials for organizations such as Hack the Hood and such.

@pbarthmaier: Presenting one in WC Philly.

@juliekuehl: Suggested personas for the user.
1) Teach.org person leading an afterschool program.
2) Peacecorps worker trying to help a business owner run their own site.
3) High School Teacher who wants to bring WordPress to their classroom

General discussion over how the issue is differences in the teacher’s comfort level with WordPress.

@jcasabona pointed out that more familiar users might make their own lesson plans, but having something like “these are the topics you should hit” list would be good for consistency.

@aimeegc pointed out every teacher uses an LP regardless of knowledge. We are stuck on how detailed they need to be.

@juliekuehl:: I think we’ve got two ideas so far that we should hang on to 1) personas and 2) the modularity of lesson plans (Topics -> Outlines / Talking Points -> Full Scripts).

@pbarthmaier: I think we need two levels of copy editing: one for the flow of English and the other for the validity of code

@juliekuehl: I think we’ve tried to do that before, with varying levels of success. I’m not sure where we should go from here. Those few ideas seem like they might need to percolate a bit before moving forward.

@juliekuehl suggested coming up with 4-8 personas and get them fleshed out. One for each of our Instructor levels and a consideration for student experience and environment (like no internet connection).

@jcasabona answered a question that modularity of the LPs should mean that you can use them exactly as the instructions provided or take the parts and build your own thing (as in Legos).

@juliekuehl: I think one other idea that’s buried in what we said is the idea of taking a single lesson plan (or topic at least) and having different levels within it (beginner/intermediate/advanced or quick-and-dirty/detailed).

@juliekuehl: So the three ideas are: 1) personas and 2) the modularity of lesson plans (Topics -> Outlines / Talking Points -> Full Scripts) and 3) quick-and-dirty vs. detailed.

Agenda for August 29th Meeting

Please join us later today at 19:00 UTC in the #training Slack channel for our weekly meeting! A brief agenda for today:

  • Welcome
  • General updates
  • Continue to brainstorm on structural needs for lesson plans

If you have any other items to add to the agenda, please list them in the comments.

We will need a volunteer to take notes for today’s meeting. Please let us know in the comments or in Slack if you are interested/able to take today’s notes!

Lesson Plan Format

Recently the team has been talking about how to restructure and smooth out our processes moving forward. One thread of these conversations has centered around the fact that people are not actually using our lesson plans as a script when delivering the lessons. People are not reading them word for word (which we agreed is a good thing!). This leads to the question: does the format of the lesson plans need to change in order to facilitate easier and more effective teaching?

A bit of history on this: the lesson plan format dates to very early on the team where the general dictate was that lesson plans needed to be written as scripts to encourage everyone to be able to teach. Over time the lesson plans have gone through significant testing that shows that hardly anyone actually uses the plans as a “script” and that teachers of the lesson plans have/need some exposure to WordPress in order to effectively teach the lesson plans. The lesson plans as they exist now are being used, it is just a question of whether refactoring them into a different fact would be useful or not.

We will not be getting rid of the current lesson plans, but would like to brainstorm, over the long run, what format we want our lessons to have.

Once we determine a format, we will reformulate one or two plans and test those, in order to test our assumptions about the new format. THEN we may work on refactoring existing plans to fit the new, tested format.

Please record your thoughts on the lesson plan format here rather than in the Slack channel so that all of our ideas are recorded in one place. We are at a discussion stage with this particular question and no one has decided what exactly would be helpful to change. The sole goal of this conversation is to make sure that the format of the future lesson plans is as helpful to teachers as possible. All ideas/thoughts/constructive feedback are welcome 🙂

 

Cross-Post from Community: Community Conduct Project – Kick off meeting scheduled for 17:00 UTC on the 5th September 2017

Link to original post: https://make.wordpress.org/updates/2017/08/15/community-conduct-project-kick-off-meeting-scheduled-for-1700-utc-on-the-5th-september-2017/

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for everyone who replied to the proposal for the WordPress Community Conduct Project. We have received lots of great feedback and positivity towards the project both in person at WordCamp Europe and online.

We’re kicking off the project on the Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT on the WordPress Slack #community channel

Please see update post for more details.

We will spend some of the time during the meeting to discuss when the best time to meet will be for everyone who wants to participate in the project.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

#ccoc

Recap of August 2, 2017 Meeting

@aimeegc is working on the content flow audit process and is working to have something by the end of September.

@conradhallauthor has completed the first stage of content inventory and will now begin to identify the state of each piece with the help of @coachwp and incorporate testing feedback

@bethsoderberg and @melindahelt will take a look at SupportFlow and see what needs to happen there.

@coachwp reminded us about https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PPb9Y9eXhdZXS7QJYCcWXzyMZRVVoVDLXrEbYyTHfnY/edit#gid=0 which will be helpful to the inventory that @conradhallauthor is working on

@aimeegc mentioned in regards to processing lesson plan testing feedback (Google Spreadsheet) “This may or may not be helpful, but the name for what we’re starting to veer into is actually a whole thing called Program Evaluation (taking feedback, results, questions, etc, and making sense of it to determine whether something is working well or not, as well as turning all that data and results into actionable next steps) so it was smart to have a person working on this only, and we may want to come back to that once we have a content flow to discuss. Just stating it for the record at this point. There are people who devote their career solely to this part of what we’re endeavoring to do”

@bethsoderberg brought up a topic from our last video call that we determined that folks are not actually using our lesson plans as a script when delivering the lessons. People are not reading them word for word (which we agreed is a good thing!)

We will not be ditching the current lesson plans, but would like to brainstorm, over the long run, what format we want our lessons to have.

Once we determine a format, we will reformulate one or two plans and test those, in order to confirm the new format. THEN we may work on refactoring existing plans to fit the new, tested format.

We discussed an outline format, similar to something that could be converted to slides by the instructor.

We also discussed the original assumption that instructors didn’t already know everything (and didn’t need to) in order to pick up a lesson plan and teach it.

@aaimeeg shared a sample lesson plan format: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JDgl8BJ9c7Q2moaUkyG075RD5wlX0Yb0xsEZlME4aYI/edit

@aimeegc shared the following from WordCamp for Publishers:

A lot of what I heard was about the frustration that WordPress developers aren’t ramped up enough for the kinds of developer positions open (in Publishing, but I bet this is true elsewhere), and it would be great to channel people’s desire to learn and get good at WordPress specific to goals and industry. WordPress developing is context-specific, so it would be great to see more support or direction being applied to what people want to do with what they’re learning about WordPress.

I’m not entirely sure how that should fit into our scope as it currently exists, but if our goal is to provide official training and skill building to become professional wordpress developers, through helping teachers of WordPress teach others, then it might be worthwhile to entertain how we might consider this need from our wider WordPress community

@bethsoderberg mentioned that this could potentially be addressed in the future workshop plans rather than individual lesson plans themselves.

Agenda for August 22, 2017 Meeting

Please join us later today at 19:00 UTC in the #training Slack channel for our weekly meeting! A brief agenda for today:

  1. Welcome
  2. General updates
  3. Brainstorm on structural needs for lesson plans

If you have any other items to add to the agenda, please list them in the comments.

We will need a volunteer to take notes for today’s meeting. Please let us know in the comments or in Slack if you are interested/able to take today’s notes!

Recap of August 8, 2017 meeting

1. Content flow and process (see Aimee’s post on this for quick reference)

  • Talked about item 1 and 4 in the post first
  • Item 1:
    • David’s share—copyediting a lesson used to be what group meant by “content flow.” Content flow is slightly bigger now to include the idea generating and pitching of lessons, then testing lessons and getting/using that feedback
  • Item 4:
    • Beth: general consensus on what the process should be or is, but implementation is where we’re getting stuck. Different people come and go, and they interpret the process differently. This creates inconsistency and confusion around what is most recent and up to date and the final choice
    • Scott and Melissa: Yes. We need to just state what is, and include that as a handbook page to clarify how to implement/improve documentation
    • Julie: we need to lock down a process to be THE process. We suffer from the open source collective action inertia. The process can serve as a president/decision maker
  • Item 3:
    • Have tried all the ways to manage/own steps
    • From what I am hearing, this is closely intertwined with volunteer management and expectations in open source community
    • Content management and documentation closely linked
  • Clues to track down existing information to help with getting this endeavor to have a definitive process underway:
    • Trello board won’t work, but may have most up to date information/data
      • Consider Github—then:
        • wordpress.org = handbook only
        • wordpress.org = lessons
        • Github = in between
      • Copywriting plugins to manage who is managing steps is a nixed idea
      • Constrained by Make site (its reorganization disoriented many). Anything else we use must be free and open source
    • Five buckets make the top level flow
      • Vetting ideas
      • Create lesson plans + edit
      • Test
      • Combine into workshops (curricula)
      • Maintenance
      • Onboarding/Welcome wagon/who writes a lesson plan and how?

2. Inventory of what we have

  • A bit of clarifying Q&A around observations so far
    • Theme lessons are not necessarily how to develop themes that meet WP standards, they are meant to teach people how to use themes
    • WP handbook versus our team—don’t match, but we’re teaching to a simplified bar
    • To include or not include plugin lessons—there is a moratorium on them so maybe put them to the side for now
  • Observation on lack of clarity around learner levels and lack of connection to pre-requisite knowledge assets
  • Style guide says to write a script (dialogue) for the lesson plan instead of the information to cover — conversation around script v. no script
    • Verdict: we are not about scripted lessons—if you do not know what you’re doing (yet), don’t teach it!
  • Conrad suggests another section in the lesson plan template on prerequisites for the teacher as well as the learner

3. Team goals

  • Not covered today

4. Next steps

  • Conrad will continue with preliminary inventory. Should be done by Monday next week (14). Next stage is an estimated further 3 weeks
  • Aimee will continue to move forward with content flow work. Will also need to take time because of client deadlines and speaking at WordCamp for Publishers next week
  • Other next steps rest of group can be working on:
    • How lesson plans are structured, reformulated
    • What are our goals around a usable lesson plan? (Based on experiences and insights from testing)

 

Agenda for August 8, 2017 Meeting

Today’s team meeting will be a special video call. Please join us in the #training Slack channel on  Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 19:00 UTC for the link to join the call. We’ll be discussing some big-picture team things on the call:

  1. Content flow and process (see Aimee’s post on this)
  2. Inventory of what we have
  3. Team goals
  4. Next steps

Please bring your ideas for team goals to the call. If you have any other large big picture items to add to the agenda, please list them in the comments. I’m looking forward to seeing you all very soon!

ALSO, we need a volunteer to take notes for today’s call. Please pipe up in the comments or in Slack if you are interested!

 

Where I’m getting stuck on content flow

Hi all,

Per our last meeting on 1 August, I am writing a blog post on my effort so far to create a flow chart to visualize our content flow. I am really pleased to have so much information involved to try to organize or at least look at with fresh eyes, but I’m getting confused. I ended up with more questions, which I’d like to get insight on and then I can move forward.

  1. What exactly do we mean by “content flow”?
    • We have at least three, potentially four, flows that could fit this bill, based on the information I got from others and collected in one place. If we are looking for just one master, then we can do that and have sub-flows.
  2. Who manages or should manage this content flow?
  3. How did the historic flow work?*
    • (Did one person usher something from beginning to end, or were there different folks in charge of a step and ushered various somethings through that step?)
  4. Where did it tend to break down? If not sure about specific steps that became problematic, then what might have caused a general moving away from this flow? What has been the ad hoc process in the meantime if that flow isn’t working?

This is probably enough of a place to start. I know it’s frustrating to belabor something like this, and I don’t mean for us to dwell on what “went wrong.” This is not a simple thing to articulate and lay out, let alone implement, and the fact that there is anything at all is above and beyond most teams I’ve worked with. I’m looking forward to chatting on the 8th!