Regarding our language tools

Inge Wallin inge at
Tue Feb 11 13:18:29 UTC 2014

Thanks for your reply Andreas,

I have looked at your link to the personas and also sought out all wiki pages 
from various KDE EDU sprints[1]. I think I have a better grasp of the 
situation now. My comments are below

On Monday, February 10, 2014 22:53:20 Andreas Cord-Landwehr wrote:
> Hey, thanks for bringing this topic up! I think it is good to start thinking
> about the future of our language learning applications and discuss where we
> want to go. In the currently changing world with (in the near future)
> simple deployments of KDE apps into markets like tablets and cellphones,
> there weill be good opportunities for educational apps that we should use.


> But as Inge said, there is work ahead ;) What I read in this thread were IMO
> three related but somewhat different topics:
>  1. Who are our users and how do they interact with our software
>  2. Data storage backends for language learning material
>  3. Creation and distribution of language learning material
> All of them are quite important, yet, I think for the start we should focus
> on the interaction design and only move on once we have a common opinion
> how this shall be done the future.

Agreed- This is a good and structured approach.

> As I perceived Parley (and KWordQuiz) they are nice applications that build
> on the Leitner box principle, have an awesomely cool core infrastructure
> and great internal design, and are tailored for a users that create their
> vocabulary material by themselves and then train on that material. As a
> plus, they provide sharing/downloading options like get-how-new-stuff and
> different interfaces like for google apis and wikipedia. For this user
> group, they work fine (and I can say this also from my own learning
> experience.) But this is different when looking at users that try to use
> these apps with other expectations, e.g., as an adult learner who does not
> follow a specific textbook with vocabulary lists.
> To make discussions about the interaction design of software more effective,
> there exists a well known approach called "Personas". (In a nutshell: we
> create artificial persons that describe our user base and all further user
> interaction discussions/feature requirements solely focus on their
> interests) During our last Edu sprint, we discussed a set of three language
> learning personas [1]. Yet as today, I think out of this set we especially
> have two primary personas, Gan and Camille, for which we should create
> software.

Not fully agreed.

I took a closer look at KWordQuiz and for that I agre with you. But for Parley 
I do not. KWordQuiz has the simple layout and interaction that is well suited 
for "this week's 15 words" but parley is either redundant (KWordQuiz works 
just as well) or much too advanced for that purpose. 

Instead I think we should target KWordQuiz to the groups you mention above 
(Camille and possibly Gan) in the personas and Parley to Tina. There is no 
reason to even have Parley if we don't target the more motivated and advanced 
learner with it.

As a side note, I have a son aged 16 and a daughter age 14, who is almost 
exacely like the persona Camille. And I can tell you that it will take a lot 
for her to start entering the words into either application. Instead she will 
just study from the book and be done with that even if it's less efficient. It's 
not that she is lazy, because she is not, but kids will think it is an 
unnecessary hassle to go that extra step.

If we want fhem to use any of these applications at all, we need to create a 
way for the teachers to create the files and then distribute them. (This is 
already possible if you use Parley as an editor and make each list into a 
lesson but then I don't think that KWordQuiz can show this lesson only.)

> And that is what I would like to propose: Figure out for both, Gan and
> Camille, what they expect from Parley (or a possible future version). How
> would they interact with a vocabulary trainer, what are their ways of using
> it?
> Having this data, we could effectively look at Parley and see where it is
> already great and where we have to change the way it interacts with the
> users. I am also sure that in this process we will understand how learning
> materials must be distributed to be of use for them.
> If others are interested in this, I could create a wiki page where we could
> work on this together.

That would be appreciated.

But I don't think that looking at the individual personas are enough. I think 
we need to look at workflow too. I see at least two cases that are not 
supported now:

1. The one mentioned above where the teacher creates the content and somehow 
distributes the file to the students. Ok, if we are fine with putting the kvtml 
files on a webbserver, then we already support it, but I think we can do 

2. One where you have your computer/tablet at home and you also want to use 
your bus ride into town to add some finishing touches to your vocabulary using 
your cellphone. True, we don't have a tablet/cellphone version of either 
Parley or KWordQuiz now, but even if we did we don't have any way to sync 
progress between applications.

Websites are great for that because they have everything in a central storage. 
However, they demand that you are always online, which is both not always 
possible and also sometimes very expensive.

Regarding interaction design there is one piece of very low hanging fruit: 

For a start I think we should engage one of our interaction designers (is 
there actually anybody else than Thomas Pfeiffer?) and design a beautiful and 
efficient flashcard widget with QML. The current ones are, eh, not so good...



> Greetings,
> Andreas
> [1]
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