80% international students in the U.S. are English as a Second Language (ESL) students, and constantly face difficulties in communicating with native speakers. Although they may have sufficient knowledge of formal vocabulary, our research indicates knowledge of informal language as a challenge to both language proficiency and cultural assimilation. Therefore, "IMAJN" helps to augment the learning of idioms, slang, and jargon through recording pronunciation and review others' pronunciation to improve communication.
International students in the U.S. are ESL80%
Feeling awkward when they could not get slang78%
Didn't want to interrupt conversation by asking their parnters to explain the expressions56%
How is ESL's learning experience?
Method: User Interviews, Surveys, Affinity Wall
We collected data from 7 interviews and 21 surveys in order to learn how ESL students learn formulaic language. The result indicated ESL students were aware that formulaic language was so widely used in professional and nonprofessional environment that they constantly felt the need to learn it. 78% ESL students reported they felt awkward when they could not understand the jokes from formulaic language and 56% reported they did not want to interrupt the conversation by asking their partners to explain the expressions. More often, they tried to remember the formulaic languages but they were more likely to forget them quickly after the conversation.
What's the ideal experience for ESL?
Method: Co-design workshop, Participatory Design
To design the best experience for ESL students, I invited 6 ESL students from Mainland China (2), Hong Kong (1), India(1), South Korea(1), and Hungary(1) to attend an hour long design workshop: what experience do you want to have to learn formulaic language?
It was a creative moment to see how users proposed Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Drone (!), 3D projection etc. Participants generated 67 posts which can be categorized into 6 categories to learn the experience users wish to receive.
Using QOC Analysis, I picked up “games”, “audio", and "images" as means to learn formulaic language, and giving “peer rating”, "visualization”, and "feedback" to measure users' performances.
Method: Personas, Site Maps
There are 3 groups of users: new user, experienced user, and returning users. When designing the experience for them, I want to minimize interruption, increase engagement, and increase people's performance. To achieve user goals, I design "signup/login" as optional when users first install the app, visualize returning users' performance without being intrusive, retain the chat history on the cloud instead of on the phone, etc.
To summarize, I created scenarios and site maps to outline key activities:
Study: long-term memory based on images and context
Customized Learning: lower forgetting curve
Record: encourage users speak out loud
Review: encourage with social interactions
Disocver: peer motivation and social interaction to encourage users in the long term
Performance: visualize progress and stay in touch with online friends