November 14, 2023

Designing Effective Edtech for K-5 Learners

GoGuardian Research Team
Colorful abstract shapes with three students standing in them

In a world full of digital distractions, edtech providers are tasked with designing their tools to adapt to changing environments and support the best research towards how students learn. 

For our younger students, this challenge is even more pressing. The pivotal years of K-5 are a unique window in a child's cognitive and attentional development. At this stage, the digital tools they engage with can significantly shape their educational trajectory. It's not just about integrating technology into the classroom; it's about how that technology is designed to foster engagement, comprehension, and retention.

Dr. Gloria Mark and Dr. Philip Janowicz delved into this intricate world of K-5 digital education, producing a comprehensive research report. From the wealth of knowledge they presented, we've distilled key insights to create our white paper, "Enhancing K-5 Education Through Effective Edtech Design.”

At the heart of both their research and our white paper lies the nine pivotal HCI design principles they formulated. These principles stand as foundational guidelines, crafted from rigorous research, to guide the creation of effective K-5 edtech tools.

Nine design principles for K-5 educational tools

Meticulously curated from the diverse fields of Human-Computer Interaction, Instructional Design, and Children’s Technology, these principles offer research-backed guidelines pertinent to designing digital environments. They encapsulate the essence of effective digital education, shedding light on how design can either enhance or hamper the K-5 learning experience.

  • Design Principle #1: Make objects on screen interactable where possible, and highlight interactability with audio and visual cues when appropriate.
  • Design Principle #2: Keep the design highly visual, and remove unnecessary elements wherever possible.
  • Design Principle #3: Take psychometric measurements as unobtrusively as possible. 
  • Design Principle #4: Give feedback to students as quickly as possible with clear text, audio, and visual language.
  • Design Principle #5: Request confirmation from students before submitting responses, and let students easily modify responses.

  • Design Principle #6: Make mouse and touch-screen interactions simple with a minimal number of clicks.
  • Design Principle #7: Avoid open-text responses in favor of selecting commands.
  • Design Principle #8: Avoid using keyboard shortcuts where possible.
  • Design Principle #9: Reduce the use of extensive menus and submenus. 

GoGuardian's approach to research-backed design 

At GoGuardian, our dedication to educational excellence extends beyond mere appreciation of research. We actively integrate research-backed insights into our edtech tools' design and functionalities. Our commitment to creating optimal digital learning environments for learners is paramount, ensuring every feature and interaction aligns with best practices.

We craft digital tools that are not just user-friendly, but also educator-friendly, providing a harmonious balance between technology and pedagogy. Our commitment ensures both educators and students can navigate the digital learning landscape with confidence and ease.

Learn more about GoGuardian’s commitment to best practices in edtech design, and further explore the foundational research that guides our approach in our white paper, "Enhancing K-5 Education Through Effective Edtech Design.