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DESIGNING A TOOL FOR LEARNING KOREAN

CHALLENGE

Korean language learners might be able to read and write Korean but their conversational Korean tend to fare badly. The challenge was to create a tool to help foreigners acquire conversational Korean as a second language more easily.

DESIGN RESEARCH

Erin Sander's research learning spiral was employed through the project. This design spiral was based on a design process of learning and need-finding, revealing consumer wants and expectations. 3 design spirals were conducted, with each spiral taking us closer to the solution. Scroll down to read more about the research. Click on the link below to find out more about the design solution.

DESIGN SPIRAL 1

despite having A POSITIVE ATTITUDE, foreigners are struggling to learn korean language.

The research begun with a broader investigation on the experiences of foreigners learning Korean language in South Korea. 57 foreigners participated in a survey in Dec 2016, sharing their Korean language learning experience in South Korea. Despite having high motivation, foreigners were struggling to learn Korean, stating that the Korean education system was intensive and stressful. Evidently, the academic delivery of Korean language was unsuitable for foreigners. The top key findings were summarised below.

78.9% SHOWED positive INTEREST iN KOREAN LANGUAGE

When asked to rate their interest in Korean language, 45 out of 57 (78.9%) respondents showed more interest than not in the Korean language. WIth the maximum value of interest at 6, the median value was 5, revealing a very positive attitude towards learning the language.

Overall, responses appeared slightly negative. The top 2 negative words used were "difficult" and "challenging" and the top 2 positive words used were "interesting" and "fun". From this, it could be inferred that while the learning experience was fun, it was rated negative because it was challenging.

LEARNING KOREAN WAS "CHALLENGING", "DIFFICULT" BUT "FUN".

Respondents' biggest motivation to learn Korean was to live and communicate in Korea, followed by interest in K-drama. One shared that she wanted to understand what her Korean idols were talking about without having to wait for translation. The biggest demotivation was the intensive learning system.

FOREIGNERS ARE MOTIVATED TO PICK UP KOREAN LANGUAGE TO LIVE IN KOREA AND WATCH K-DRAMAS.

38.6% considered learning Korean to be relatively easy. They explained that Korean language was somewhat similar to their 1st language. For eg, Korean and Chinese share a similar set of vocabulary. The second contributing factor was their interest in K-drama and K-pop.

K-pop / K-DRAMA HELPS KOREAN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

The biggest factor that negatively impacted their learning journey was the complicated grammar, followed by method of academic delivery and difficult vocabulary. The intensive learning system in Korea did not resonate well with foreign learners.

THE FORMAL KOREAN LANGUAGE CLASSES DID NOT RESONATE WELL WITH FOREIGN LEARNERS.

A cluster of foreign learners, the K-drama fans, learn Korean language more easily than others. Since the academic path was deemed challenging, a non-academic path might offer a friendlier and more efficient way to learn Korean.

BIGGEST LEARNING:
K-DRAMA FANS PICK UP KOREAN MORE EASILY THAN OTHERS

NEW OPPORTUNITY

This research learning spiral suggested a new research area - the cluster of K-drama fans learning Korean. Since the academic path was deemed challenging, a non-academic path might offer a friendlier and more efficient way to learn Korean. The next learning spiral focused on this cluster.

DESIGN SPIRAL 2

K-DRAMAS ENGAGED VIEWERS, encouraging them to pick up the language more naturally

The objective of design spiral 2 was to investigate how an interest in K-dramas could "ease the learning process". For deeper understanding, shadowing was conducted on 2 K-drama fans and 2 non-K-drama viewers  who were all learning Korean language in South Korea at the same institution. Findings pointed out that the 2 K-drama fans did not spend more time studying academic Korean than the 2 non-K-drama viewers. The main difference between the 2 groups of learners was the former spend a significant amount of personal time (4 hr/day) watching K-dramas. K-drama fans shared that they enjoyed watching K-dramas and were motivated to learn more so as to understand the dramas better. Evidently, K-dramas provided more motivation to foreigners and the extra 4 hr per day helped them to pick up the language more naturally than others.

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K-drama Fan #1: Le Thanh Dieu, Vietnamese, 25 years old

K-drama Fan #2: Kem Gascon, Filipino, 27 years old

DESIGN SPIRAL 3 

PROTOTYPING a RELEVANT LEARNING SYSTEM

The 3rd learning spiral focused on learning about consumers' more specific needs, wants and expectations through various prototypes. 3 different learning directions were tested with 20 K-drama fans and they were also asked to imagine the possible pros and cons of the ideas. The most well-liked idea was developed further. The key findings in this prototype stage were summarised below. 

CONSUMERS'

PAIN POINTS

PAIN POINTS

Since most K-dramas come without subtitles or translations, it is difficult for foreigners to check the meanings of unfamiliar words while watching the drama. As a result, it is difficult for them to pick up the language and fully understand the drama.

THE IMMERSIVE

VIEWING

EXPERIENCE
IS IMPORTANT

IMMERSIVE VIEWING EXPERIENCE

K-drama fans shared that they prefer to immerse fully in the drama without any distraction. The learning should only come after watching the drama. 

new
OPPORTUNITY

new OPPORTUNITY

The testing of multiple prototypes suggested that K-drama fans are receptive of learning Korean through K-dramas. They see the benefit of an integrated dictionary and scenario-driven learnings to address their pain points.

THE DESIGN STRATEGY - ONE KLICK

One Klick tapped on K-drama fans' natural behaviour of watching K-drama to design a tool to help them acquire conversational Korean language more naturally. Not only were subtitles added to their viewing experience, they were made clickable so meanings of any unfamiliar word pops up instantly. With translations done by bilingual Korean language teachers and the integration of natural language processing into the program, the meaning of each word was captured accurately. Clicked words would then be automatically saved in a document and used to create flash cards for future learning.

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KEY FEATURES

The key features of this tool were designed to address consumer's pain points. They included Korean and English subtitles, accurate translations, scenario-driven explanations and a customised learning system. Click here to see the design solution.

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