A Model to Co-Create Persona Based Tools to Improve the Student Experience

Mr Logandran Balavijendran1, Ms Sandie Tsan1

1University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


Personalised student experiences are more engaging and impactful (Parsons & Taylor, 2011), but creating them can be difficult and expensive.

This workshop details a student partnered process to design and develop a personalisation tool based on student “Personas” (archetypes of distinct groups of users) (Grudin & Pruit, 1993). This approach is based on a model implemented in Academic Skills at the University of Melbourne, where a student and staff team used human centred design methods (“IDEO Design Methods”, 2018) to build a persona framework, and adapted it into a simple resource recommendation tool.

The tool, built in Qualtrics, uses a reflective process to place students in one of 4 study categories (Forger, Manager, Explorer, Problem Solver). Qualtrics scoring, branching and email triggers are used to determine the most relevant persona and provide appropriate advice and resources. In its first month the tool was used by more than 400 students, with the majority reporting the personas “accurately” or “very accurately” represented them, and that the advice was “useful” or “very useful”.

This hands-on workshop prepares participants to co-create with students. Using simulated contexts (e.g. housing, study abroad, study support), participants will craft personas and then design a similar tool. At the end of this workshop, participants will have an approach to design and implement a persona driven engagement tool.

To engage with a demo version of the tool and view research data, visit bit.ly/StudyPersona-Research.

(No technical knowledge is required. This approach can be used with any modern survey software, not just Qualtrics).


  1. Parsons, J., & Taylor, L. (2011). Improving Student Engagement. Current Issues in Education, 14(1).
  2. Grudin, J. & Pruitt, J. (1993). Personas, Participatory Design and Product Development: An Infrastructure for Engagement.
  3. IDEO Design Methods (http://www.designkit.org/methods). Retrieved 11 June 2018.



Logan Balavijendran is a learning designer embedded in Academic Skills, where he uses his experience in digital and classroom curriculum design and delivery to improve the depth and breadth of academic skills support and impact.

Sandie Tsan recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne. Drawing on her student insight and experiences, she now works to develop students professionally and engage them in enhancing their campus experience.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education. We are focused on: The quality of the student experience Supporting and empowering students to achieve their educational and life goals Enhancing student wellbeing and development Improving student success and persistence Providing outreach to students at-risk Raising institutional student retention rates For more information, please visit the ANZSSA website at anzssa.com.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria