FutureLearn, The Social Learning Company - an 'EdTech' startup, founded by the Open University, was yet to define their target audience and as part of my role as Creative Director, responsible for heading up research and product design, I set out to understand who our learners were.
As part of my responsibility for setting the direction of our new brand strategy and commercial focus, I wanted to utilise design thinking and human centred design techniques, to better understand who it was we were designing for. So together with my researchers and data science team, I set out to create groups that defined our archetypal learners on the platform.
I asked our lead researcher to start by focussing on understanding what the key motivations were for our learners. From here, we surveyed over 7,000 learners from all around the world to better understand why it was they came to FutureLearn to study our online courses.
Once we had the qualitative results in, we worked with the data science team to model the behaviours of the groups to understand what opportunities each presented in terms of engagement and revenue potential.
From here we gave the groups names, so that they were easily recognisable and memorable across the business, so everyone would feel comfortable and confident talking about them and their needs. We ran a series of workshops and developed a booklet for staff and partners to refer to the key data points for each set.
The archetypes were not only well received by the board, but formed the basis of the new brand evolution and proposition, as well as provided a strong, robust framework for the company's strategic objectives.