Categories: Our Product

A brand new, visually appealing planner for Back to School 2021/2022

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Cartoon image demonstrating product update

image of author Hanne Lorentzen

Hanne Lorentzen, Product Owner, itslearning

We are already rolling out our Back to School features for 2021/2022 with the June release. This is a bumper rollout with lots of exciting features — one of which, is the one I have been working on for some months now — the new itslearning Planner.

We are currently pilot testing the new planner with schoolteachers in Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland to stress test the prototype. Their ongoing feedback will be vital for us to improve the tool and add features that teachers will want to have when school resumes after summer. And now, from mid-June, all our users will be able to switch on the new Planner.

Strong UX and UI

We know that users today want a product to be more than just functional. Teachers and students want an overall engaging experience when using our LMS. It has to look good and function well. That is why we have put a lot of thought behind the UX (User Experience) design and UI (User Interface) design which focuses on how the planner looks to boost user satisfaction when using the entire platform.

Screenshot showing details of a plan in the new itslearning planner

How does the new planner look?

When we began work on the new planner, we set out some very clear goals. The new version had to be:

  • Visually engaging
  • Easier to sort, including by date
  • More focus on what is currently happening in a course
  • Simplified navigation
  • Greater focus on individual plans
You now have the option of switching on the new planner to use and explore at your own pace.

We worked closely with teachers and students to determine their immediate needs, created a development blueprint and got to work.

Early feedback from teachers is that they really like the cleaner interface and the ease with which they can find their plans, including the ones without dates. Plans are now divided according to Current (which includes upcoming plans), Past, Without Dates and by Topics. You will also see a plan card which contains a short description of the plan, along with start and end date, and the number of resources and activities. Learning objectives can still be connected to plans to give students scope.

The images for plans are now much more prominent because we know that the use of relevant images improves student engagement, just like a social media post with the right image generates more interest than one without. Topics are also color-coded just like our course cards, to make them easier to find and identify. Overall, teachers say the experience of creating and using the new planner is smoother and more intuitive.

You now have the option of switching on the new planner and exploring at your own pace. To launch the new planner go to Plan settings.

  • Switch on the new planner using the provided toggle
  • When you switch to the new planner, your students and any co-teachers will also see the new planner
  • You can switch back and forth between the two versions as often as you like

Our next steps are to work on differentiating plans within a course, supporting interdisciplinary teaching, improving teacher collaboration and how students work with learning objectives and teaching materials. To see more on the work in progress watch our video from itsConvention.

So, there is a lot more to come over summer. I hope you will give the new planner a test and send any ideas or feedback via our Ideas portal.

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