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Course Detail

Course Name User Needs For Learning Technology
Course Code 24CLT632
Program M. Sc. Cognitive Sciences, Learning and Technology
Semester IV
Credits 3
Campus Amritapuri


Unit I

Unit I: Analysis of Case Study(s) to Identify User Needs for Learning Technology

  • For example: Tablet-Based Training for Low-Literacy population in Rural India
  • Examination of case study on the Plumbob training (2016/2017).
  • Analysis of impact of social and psychological factors on user needs and design
  • Discussion on Luria’s tea room experiments.
  • Comparison of design states before and after intervention.
Unit II

Unit II: Frameworks for Defining User Need

  • Development and application of Personas, Goals, and Tasks.
  • Exploration of the Jobs-to-Be-Done framework.
  • Integration of user requirements within the Software Development Life Cycle.
Unit III

Unit III: Psychology and Social Factors

  • Contrast between oral and textbook learning and teaching methodologies.
  • Examination of the role of the implicit teacher-student relationship.
  • Study of impact of prior learning experiences, socio-economic backgrounds and other factors such as age on the interaction with learning technologies
Unit IV

Unit IV: Research Methods for Defining User Needs

  • Application of participatory design principles and methods including data collection and analysis
  • Consideration of ethical implications in design research.
  • Execution of a sample research study program.


Prerequisite: none

This course delves into understanding the users of learning technology, emphasizing the importance of designing technology that caters to the end users’ needs for it to be effective. Misunderstandings or ignorance of these needs can lead to poor user interfaces and diminished learning experiences, a concern particularly acute for vulnerable communities dependent on skill training. Through a detailed exploration of learner needs, with a focus on neurodiversity and educational backgrounds, the course uses a case study of low-literacy populations in rural India to navigate the full spectrum of user needs analysis and specification.

Course Objectives and Outcomes

Course Objectives:

Students will learn to:

  1. To understand the diversity of user needs in learning technology.
  2. To emphasize the importance of empathetic, user-centered design in technology development.
  3. To equip students with the ability to conduct comprehensive user needs analyses.
  4. To provide insights into the design challenges and requirements of vulnerable communities.

Course Outcomes:

  • CO1: User-Centered Design Proficiency: Gain understanding in designing educational technologies that prioritize user experience and learning outcomes.
  • CO2: Conduct user needs analysis with proficiency.
  • CO3: Develop detailed user personas and specify design requirements based on user needs.
  • CO4: Apply frameworks like Jobs to Be Done effectively in the context of learning technologies.
  • CO5: Utilize ethical research methods and participatory design to engage users in the design process.


  • Proficiency in user needs analysis and specification.
  • Development of user personas and design requirements.
  • Application of design and analysis frameworks to learning technologies.
  • Competency in ethical research and participatory design methodologies.

Program outcome PO – Course Outcomes CO Mapping


Evaluation Pattern:

Assessment Internal External
Midterm Exam 30
*Continuous Assessment (CA 20
End Semester 50

*CA – Can be Quizzes, Assignment, Projects, and Reports, and Seminar


  • Cooper, A., Reimann, R., Cronin, D., & Noessel, C. (2014). About face: The essentials of interaction design (4th ed.). Wiley.
  • Cranz, G. (2016). Ethnography for designers. Routledge.
  • Krug, S. (2014). Don’t make me think, revisited: A common sense approach to web usability. New Riders.
  • Mallan, V. S., Gopi, S., Muir, A., & Bhavani, R. R. (2017, September). Comparative empirical usability assessment of two HRI input devices for a mobile robot. In 2017 4th International Conference on Signal Processing, Computing and Control (ISPCC) (pp. 331-337). IEEE.
  • Meyer, E., & Wachter-Boettcher, S. (2016). Design for real life. A Book Apart.
  • Muir, A. (2021, May). Where HCI meets the spiritual path: The three yogas of the Bhagavad Gītā. In Extended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp.1-9).
  • Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things: Revised and expanded edition. Basic Books.
  • Norman, D. (2004). Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things.
  • Ramesh, M. V., Muir, A., Nandanan, K., Bhavani, R. R., & Mohan, R. (2022). HCI curricula for sustainable innovation: The humanitarian focus at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Interactions, 29(1), 54-57.
  • Sachith, K. P., Gopal, A., Muir, A., & Bhavani, R. R. (2017). Contextualizing ICT based vocational education for rural communities: Addressing ethnographic issues and assessing design principles. In Human-Computer Interaction-INTERACT 2017: 16th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Mumbai, India, September 25-29, 2017, Proceedings, Part II 16 (pp. 3-12). Springer International Publishing.
  • Unnikrishnan, R., Amrita, N., Muir, A., & Rao, B. (2016, June). Of elephants and nested loops: How to introduce computing to youth in rural India. In Proceedings of the The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 137-146).

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