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Study Together - A Virtual Study Room

A virtual study room to increase the social interactions and therefore build a more beneficial community among young learners.

Photo of Estelle Jiang
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I am a.....

  • Student

Tell us about your idea

We want to promote the idea of a virtual study room to increase the social interactions and therefore build a more beneficial community among young learners. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, students, parents, and educators need to adapt to remote learning and they are facing lots of challenges, especially those challenges relating to their relationships and emotions. Therefore, we decided to provide some ideas to imagine how the school and learning patterns can be shaped to serve the needs of students and educators.  For most students school isn’t just about academics, it is also about social interactions. After the pandemic happened, we, as students, also moved to take online courses and cannot work closely with our classmates in person. While we are able to take advantage of current technologies to still take courses with educators and instructors,  we are experiencing a hard time to stay connected with our friends and learn from peers. We realize many students are feeling the loss of social connections and there is a need to build a more beneficial community among learners and educators.

In our design, the virtual study room potentially has these features:

  • Topical rooms including study rooms and fun rooms.

  • Room agenda set by the host (can be a teacher or a student).

  • Students have the autonomy. They can choose which “room” they want to stay and plan their own schedule.

Students’ study efficiency will improve through performing similar tasks together with their classmates. According to the Social facilitation theory, there’s an improvement in individual performance when working with other people rather than alone. In addition to working together with other people, social facilitation also occurs in the mere presence of other people. Previous research has found that individual performance is improved by coaction, performing a task in the presence of others who are performing a similar task, and having an audience while performing a certain task. 

The virtual study room will also build and maintain the concept of community for students by bringing in fun elements. Besides study, students can also use it for fun, for example, playing board games, listen to music, or doing exercise, etc. They are given the options to balance their life and study within their own community (classmates for specific class.). Moreover, they will be prompted to take rest and have a break along the way to ensure the higher efficiency and passion of study. 

There is an opportunity gap for a casual/semi-formal, teenager-centered video chat tool.

Most of the Video Conferencing products, like zoom, google hangouts, BlueJeans, etc. are mainly designed for the workplace. Their audience is general adults. However, teenagers’ digital habits, preferences, and mental models are different from adults. There’s no video chat tool specifically designed for teenagers accordingly and no perfect tool for the learning environment. 

Moreover, although many schools are using tools like Zoom to offer online classes, all of the tools are for “formal” events. As was mention earlier, schools are not just for academics, more importantly, it’s a community that students feel closer to each other. The emotional connections are cut off due to the social distancing.  Students need a virtual space to maintain casual events in order to feel psychologically close inside a community. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Learners have less learner control under the traditional class setting. Students need to follow the course agenda if they need to attend each class in person and they usually cannot control the pace of the course. The learning efficiency of some talented and experienced learners can reduce. They do not have lots of chances to personalize their learning experience.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

We are masters students from the Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS) program at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Working at the intersection of learning science, experience design, and technology, we are passionate about innovative ideas in the field of educational technology. We aim to design beneficial and inclusive solutions for learners and educators. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Join the conversation:

Photo of Denis O'Brien

I like this idea since I've noticed on many Zoom meetings that there is a need for break out rooms but I've not seen a system that provides this facility. I'm sure Samuel Neisen  would be interested in this idea.

Photo of Estelle Jiang

Thank you so much for your feedback and like. We would like to see some functionalities that can be designed in the online meeting environment.

Photo of Denis O'Brien

We need an educational app that supports Buddy and trio etc. work. What do you know about Discord?

Photo of Sabrina Lyu

Yes! Discord is a great and versatile tool for maintaining activities virtually! We found that Discord has a "study group" template which is similar to our idea. But a tool that specifically designed for teenagers and for education purposes not yet exist. Some learning science principles might be applied to this platform, for example, determine the best study intervals, methods to reduce distractions, and allow for peer learning activities, etc.

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