May 27, 2015

From Student to Explorer

By: Daniel Faynshel | Uncategorized

It was just another ordinary Friday afternoon in my Human Factors class when Professor Blake announced that there would be an announcement by a former student. I was prepared for an unenthusiastic person waving flyers around begging the class to attend some underfunded, unappreciated event. What happened was the complete opposite. That was the first day I met Juan, and heard all about META+Lab. My goal was to join a university sponsored organization where I could focus learning more about applied psychology. I couldn’t believe such a place even existed, and that it was looking for interested students to participate. I knew I had to email him the second I was out of class, and hope that he would return my request to meet him.

After returning my email, Juan told me to come to META+Lab. When I entered, everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Juan gave me a tour of the facility, and I knew I had to be a part of it. I was started on a four week UX training guide with another student. Each week had a specific focus, and an assignment to reinforce the lesson. My first week was difficult. I was in a brand new environment, and I had no idea of how things were going to turn out. I knew I had to keep an open mind, however, and just learn as I go. Thankfully, the Psychology program at CSUN did a fantastic job in preparing me for User Experience. Human Factors (Psy 382), Research Methods in Psychology (Psy 321) and Social Psychology (Psy 345) proved most excellent for providing a foundation to learn more. Those classes taught me how people think when they’re exposed to new and unfamiliar things, as well as, what to do with that information.

The second and third week involved me going through more learning. I was tasked in helping Moodzer’s User Experience. I started by creating a descriptive demographics survey. Afterwards, I began to analyze the pain points of Moodzer, an online mood board creator, and created nine task scenarios. The point of the task scenarios was to see and analyze how people respond to any of the product’s features and limitations. I also created an exit survey to analyze what people’s final thoughts were. The fourth week involved a final report to culminate my experience as a student in training.
The lessons I learned were invaluable to my success at META+Lab. I am fortunate that a team member that was very passionate in Human Factors recruited me. META+Lab affectionately calls their student volunteers, explorers. Interestingly, that’s exactly what we are because that is the method in which we learn here. The supporting staff at META+Lab provides a cultivating environment for learning and most importantly, doing. I hope to train interested students one day, and welcome them to one of the best organizations on campus.

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