Blog 5: Observing/interviewing potential learners

I began a draft of my questions for my potential gardener interviewees. I plan to mark each question as close or open ended; categorize them, and par them down to 20 essential questions and 30 total ones. I think this will put me at about the 45 to 60 minute mark if all goes well. I plan to start out by interviewing gardener friends and then hope to interview a few acquaintances at my local community garden. Interviewing my friends first will hopefully give me some quick feedback on whether there are some questions I should drop.  My questions center around how people began gardening, what they knew when they started, and how they gained information about it, how they trouble-shoot gardening issues, how they share that information with other gardeners.

I also wonder whether I should develop questions that are geared towards people who want to garden/have very little experience in it but plan to/want to garden in the future. Right now my questions are all geared towards people who have some experience in gardening. Do I want to also target users who might be reluctant to try gardening if they think they don’t have a green thumb?

I’ve been at the community garden for 3 years so I can write down observations from memory as well in order to create my empathy map.

Needs: information about planting/growing that is locally-focused (i.e. does this plant grow in this particular climate, with this type of soil, etc.); critter identification and prevention (what is eating my plant, how do I get rid of it? How do I keep the squirrels, groundhogs out of my garden plot?); plants that grow well near each other; plants that shouldn’t be planted near each other; fast, easy plant identification; fast, easy plant disease identification and how to trouble-shoot

Many, if not all gardening websites answer the questions above but I find their websites to be information dense and text heavy, which is difficult to look through while I’m at the garden. That’s where I often need the information. Looking through different apps, it looks as though there are many that focus on only one thing at a time, like plant identification or plant disease, etc. Would a community based app be better or worse? Would users want to use it so they can share information or would there be too many competing views or incorrect information flying around? I do think that more experienced gardeners like to share their knowledge with others, maybe that would be a reason to use it. What would be the benefit of using this app over one of the many that exist already?

I’m curious what my interviewees will bring up!

I’ve also been working on my QFocus which has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. At the moment, the best that I’ve come up with are:

  • Sharing knowledge enhances practice.
  • A community of practice has the ability to link generations.
  • A community of practice elevates knowledge.
  • A community of practices shares knowledge.
  • Crowdsourcing is a part of community of practice.
  • A community is not bound by technology.

I have more work to do to get the wording right. I do think that my project is moving towards a product that is based on a community of practice that is linked via technology.



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