Learner Interview Program


Customer Goal (Internal)

Gain insight on learner’s behavior, thinking, and pain points in order to shape the overall Product Roadmap (also addressing tactical questions or concerns along the way as necessary).

Role

Lead researcher and program manager

Key Deliverables

  • Project plan
  • Templates and guides for colleagues
  • Repository
  • Recurring discussions with PMs on monthly interview themes
  • Interview notes and videos
  • Monthly summary reports of all interviews (including by colleagues)

Impact

  • Learner interviews directly impacted the Product Roadmap focus and prioritization
  • Provide data for forward-looking design ideation and exploration
  • Helped connect product owners, designers, and even some engineers with real people who use Rosetta Stone

Process

An informal conversation with an SVP gave me an opportunity to propose we conduct learner interviews in addition to user studies. Not only was he on board, he also wanted the Product Managers to participate! I put together a plan for a monthly, rotating set of questions (3 would remain the same to track over time) and collaborated with a PM to align the monthly themes with the overall Product roadmap. I urged them to look ahead rather than always ask questions about a current initiative so we could start exploring ideas and concepts before they were even fully defined.

I created a shared space on Google Drive where interviews, videos, reports, and templates would live. I wrote email guides for recruiting, a presentation overview for interviewing, a script for each month, and suggestions on note-taking (as I’d be the one summarizing all the interviews!). I also walked through the materials and the process in a meeting, answering questions.

To source participants, I built a relationship with the Market Research team that maintained an ongoing New User survey (only the Market Research team was allowed to conduct large surveys at Rosetta Stone). Through that relationship, we established a monthly hand off of potential participants that I then processed, contacted, and scheduled people during the middle 2-weeks of each month with the help of the SVPs executive assistant – even after the SVP departed for another company. The first week was to write a new script, and the last week for reporting.

After each month (sometimes this stretched to two months rather than a monthly theme due to workload and priorities), I read through all of the interview notes and summaries, analyzed them for common and interesting findings, and wrote a report I then shared via Slack and in a meeting with stakeholders and other interested parties.

Lessons Learned/Constraints

  • Making templates for others to use is really helpful – reviewing them together for a greater understanding is even more helpful
  • To be successful, a team of one researcher must help others on the team learn and participate in conducting research in sensible ways. Interviews are one excellent way to do that.

Additional Context

When I joined Rosetta Stone, the relationship between Marketing and Product was strained. However, by continuous sharing and discussions with the Market Research team, over time, I was able to build a bridge and elevate the trust level to the point where whatever had occurred in the past between the organizations faded, and we had a productive, collaborative working relationship between Product Research (me), and Market Research.