Designing Good Learning Experiences

Dr. Cindy Bourne

Abstract: Human-centred design is based on the premise that those who face or experience the problems we are trying to solve are often a designers best resource (IDEO, 2015). This empathetic approach can be effective whether we are seeking solutions for stubborn, wicked problems such as systemic poverty, gender equality, clean water; or less wicked, but no less complex, problems such as designing equitable learning experiences. In this talk, I describe three ways to use human-centred design to solve three distinctive design challenges. The first design challenge was to approach how we might address the persistent problems around health, education, and economic capacity facing women in upper east Ghana (Project GROW, est. 2007). The second design challenge, and one which evolved from the first, was to design good global experiences for students who wished to place their learning in ways that could make a difference in such contexts.  These first two design challenges were the subject of my doctoral thesis and will constitute the first 30 minutes of the discussion.  The final design challenge I will speak to is around my current work developing the Learning Design Intern (LDI) Team at UBC Okanagan. This initiative was developed as both a response to COVID and as a professional development opportunity for graduate and post-doctoral students. Knowing that 2020/2021 was going to be a challenging learning experience, LDIs were trained to use educational design strategies and to work with faculty to explore develop innovative ways to reimagine the course from the learners’ perspective.