Master's in Human-Computer Interaction: Final Project



Remote learning has surged in popularity recently. Although online platforms provide essential educational modules, they often fall short in facilitating social connections among peers. We hope to address this problem by enhancing the ability of students to connect with each other, even in a remote learning environment.

LearnSpace is an innovative virtual reality (VR) educational platform designed to revolutionize remote learning. It offers the benefits of social computing by fostering a highly interactive and socially engaging learning environment.

Tailored specifically for remote students, LearnSpace leverages innovative VR technology to allow students to interact with their peers and educators in real-time, within a three-dimensional space that promotes collaboration and active learning.

Key Features

LearnSpace will support students in their workspace by offering the following:

Immersive VR Classrooms:

Spaces designed to encourage learning and interaction, equipped with interactive modules and customizable avatars.

Social Interaction Tools:

Seamless communication among students, including voice chat, text messaging, video calls, and emotive avatars.

Collaborative Breakout Sessions:
Virtual breakout rooms to enable students to form smaller groups and interact in more intimate social settings.

Classroom Customization:

Ability to adjust privacy settings, location, and the size of the classroom. Tailor each classroom to meet your specific needs.

Avatar Creation:

Express yourself with personalized avatars to reflect your unique identity.

Problem Space

In order to design an educational platform that offered the key features listed above, we first focused on understanding the problem space.

Several considerations emerged that we needed to consider:

Engagement and

 Keeping students engaged and facilitating meaningful interactions in a virtual environment presents a significant challenge.


Integrating various multimedia tools, real-time communication features, and adaptive learning algorithms seamlessly poses technical hurdles.

Accessibility and

Ensuring accessibility for students with diverse needs while maintaining inclusivity in design and content delivery.

Target Users

The target users are primarily elementary school-aged children up to college students. These students will all use technology in the classroom, and should have some prior experience with it. 

Also another type of target user will be teachers and instructors who are holding their classes online. Recognizing the pivotal role of educators in facilitating effective virtual learning experiences to address the needs of both students and educators.

User Research

We asked our target users the following questions to better understand their wants, needs, and pain points:

1. What kind of technology do you currently use in the classroom?

2. How do you communicate with your teachers over technology? How do you communicate with other students over technology?

3. Walk me through your daily flow for using technology in the classroom (ie check email, submit assignment, watch lecture video, etc)

4. Answer the following two questions using a scale of 1 to 5, where

1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, and 5 = Strongly Agree

a. The educational materials (e.g., texts, videos, interactive content) I access through my school's current technologies are helpful for my learning style.

b. The technology I currently use at school facilitates collaboration with my classmates and teachers.

5. How do you think an online learning platform could be personalized to better fit your learning style and needs?

6. Can you describe an experience where you felt a strong sense of community within an online learning platform? What made it memorable?

7. How do you envision the future of online learning? Are there any trends or technologies you're excited to see integrated?

What We Learned

Students have a wide variety of learning preferences and types (auditory, visual, etc).

They want any new platform to accommodate all learning types and allow for personalization and customization.

 Students want to feel more connected to their classmates, even online. They all expressed some level of unhappiness with online learning, as they felt it detracted from friendships and a sense of community.

Ideating Potential Systems

Once we better understood the problem space and our target market, we planned what type of system to design and narrowed down which features to include.

VR Learning Modules

Initial concepts featured VR and AR learning modules, enabling students to participate in activities that would typically require laboratory or specialized settings.

Gamification and VR

Other ideas focused on leveraging gamification to recreate the interactive and social dynamics of traditional classrooms, enhancing connection and community among remote students through customizable avatars and immersive environments.

Low-Fidelity Prototyping

The next step was to create paper prototypes of our new system. We crafted pages for the homepage, designing an avatar, and editing the classroom settings.


On the homepage, the student can view their list of enrolled classes, current on-going class sessions, chat rooms, grades, and user settings.

Designing an Avatar

This page will follow typical gaming conventions to create customizable avatars. This concept is important for self-expression and creativity, and will allow each student a chance to build their own avatar.

 In order to reduce error as much as possible, users will customize one section at a time (face, hair, etc), before moving onto the next. They will also be able to undo, redo, and reset all of their changes for ease of control.

Classroom Settings

Options for editing include making the classroom an open vs private room, changing the location, editing the class size, allowing for breakout rooms, selecting the rooms' intended grade level, and the ability to see grades in the classroom.

High-Fidelity Prototype

We shared the paper prototypes with 2 target users, and gathered their feedback. With their feedback in mind, we developed our high-fidelity prototype in Figma next.

Key Features Demo

Usability Testing

Due to time constraints and budget limitations, particularly the unavailability of VR sets, we conducted a "quick and dirty" usability test using Figma as an alternative.

This approach allowed us to rapidly prototype and test the user interface and experience of our VR educational platform, providing valuable insights into functionality and user interaction without the need for fully immersive testing environments.

For the usability test, we gathered 3 users within our target market and asked them to independently complete the following tasks:

Create an Avatar

Step 1: Task the user to find where to create/edit an avatar.

Step 2: Have the user select the avatar options. First face, then hair, then accessories, finally the outfits.

Step 3: Have the user navigate back to the home page once the avatar is finished.

Connect with Peers

Step 1: Ask the user to determine who was currently online/available.

Step 2: Task the user to begin a video call with an online user

Step 3: Determine where you would access chats, and potentially create a new chat with an online user.

Enter a Classroom

Step 1: Ask the user to enter the “AP Chemistry” classroom.

Step 2: Task the user to change the classroom to the “Beach” setting, and then back to the “School” setting.

Step 3: From the “My classes page”, task the user to enter the classroom.

User 1

Age: 23

Sex: female

Grade: Undergraduate (University)

Remote learning experience: has used remote learning in previous school semesters, currently does both in person and online learning enviornments

User 2

Age: 14

Sex: male

Grade: middle school

Remote learning experience: previously used remote learning during pandemic but currently goes to in-person school

User 3

Age: 28

Sex: male

Grade: Undergrad during Covid

Remote learning experience: has used remote learning in previous school semesters due to Covid.

User 4

Age: 18

Sex: male

Grade: Freshman (Undergrad)

Remote learning experience: currently uses remote learning

Findings and Analysis

Confusion about Use

One out of the four users was confused about the intended use for the product, they viewed it as a student portal for classes, but not a social educational application.

Avatar Creation

When tasked with navigating to the avatar page, all four users had immediate success and a clear understanding of how to properly get to the page and create an avatar.


There was some confusion with navigation, and at least one user had trouble navigating backwards.

Recommendations for Future Iterations

Based on the user feedback we gathered, we would make the following design changes in our next iteration:


Implement a back button on the main screen to facilitate easier navigation back to the homepage or previous pages.

Avatar Customization

Change the label from "Face" to "Skin-tone" to more accurately describe the avatar customization option.

Expand the avatar customization options to include more inclusive choices, such as a wider range of skin tones.

Chat Functionality

Differentiate colors for online status and unread messages to avoid visual blending and reduce user confusion and error.

Introduce a chat icon along with the video call icon to clarify that the chat function is not limited to group chats only.

"Raise my Hand" Button

Add a "raise my hand" button for students who want to anonymously let their teacher know they have a question. This will be accessible to the user whenever they're in a classroom with a teacher.


This project focuses on reducing the isolation that remote students can experience during online learning. We aimed to solve this problem with the development a LearnSpace, VR educational platform that fosters social connection and enhanced learning. Through a series of usability tests, we identified key areas for improvement, including navigation ease, avatar customization, chat functionality, and clarity of page purposes.

Our proposed improvements for the next iteration aim to simplify navigation, enrich user interaction through inclusive and detailed customization options, and provide clear, functional communication tools. These refinements are designed to make the platform more intuitive and accessible, ultimately fostering a more engaging and inclusive virtual learning environment for remote students.

Meet the Team

Ellisa Lee

LinkedIn @ in/ellisa-lee/

Garry Stein

LinkedIn @ in/garry-stein/

Neeva Watts

Sal Malisita

LinkedIn @ in/sal-malisita/

Contribution Statement

Everyone met to discuss how to best build our website. Garry created a voice-over walkthrough of our prototype to complete the product experience portion. Ellisa and Neeva completed the interactive design portion of the assignment. Ellisa added in visual elements to the presentation. Neeva completed the description and website presentation portion.