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Library Learning Objects UX Study

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In March 2019, the UX Team explored students’ perceptions of library learning objects available through the Digital Learning Commons (DLC).

Research questions

  • What do students like/dislike about the objects?
  • Are students using learning objects? Do they know where to find them?


  • We conducted in-person surveys with 28 participants in the library. Participant responses were recorded by the researcher via Qualtrics, a survey software. We set up a table with a tablet/laptop and headphones. Participants were asked a few introductory questions and then they viewed one of four learning objects (2 videos, 2 handouts) and answered a series of questions related to the object
  • We conducted two 15 minute modified focus groups with first year students in a UNIV 1200 course. The first year students were shown two learning object and then divided into two groups and asked to answer the same questions from the in-person survey

What did we learn?

  • Participants were generally happy with video production (visuals, audio),  and the design of handouts (colourful, text chunked)
  • Participants were critical of objects that took too long to get to the point
  • Most participants thought that the content of the objects was too broad. One student commented that a video was too “common sense so not useful for me”.
  • The tone of the learning objects (both videos and handouts) was an issue for students. They felt the videos were patronizing and “babying” at times
  • Although participants are not discerning of where a learning object (or other supplementary learning materials) come from, they are seeking out an authoritative/expert voice
  • Students were unaware that the library created learning objects, and they also aren’t seeking out objects that are explicitly created by the library

Further questions:

  • Why would a student seek out library learning objects created by the University of Guelph?

  • How do we make sure content is specific enough (not too broad) to be relevant?

  • Is findability a priority? If so, how can we funnel students to DLC content?

  • How can we make sure that our content does not seem patronizing to students?

  • Where does the DLC fit into the Learning Commons and our physical space, more broadly?

Year of Study


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