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What’s in a question? The Design Thinking Process

Wednesday, 17 May 2023 10:27

So what are some problems that Out-of-School time (OST) practitioners experience when utilizing online resources? Well, the Achievery Learning Cohort identified several of these questions during their monthly virtual cohort meeting. After a couple of weeks to reflect on our initial brainstorming ideas from the kickoff meeting, the cohort rejoined to fine-tune their research project to create a tool that supports OST programs that gets the most out of online resources while also being equitable and valuable for their program utilizing The Achievery.

The Achievery Learning Cohort identified 3 overarching themes for their questions and some examples of these are outlined below:

  • Supporting Staff - How can we ensure that the online resources add value to OST programs and support staff rather than hinder their efforts? What supports are there to ensure that Social Emotional Learning components are carried throughout online lesson ideas? How can we ensure that online resources are easily accessible to OST facilitators especially those who are not subject matter experts such as older youth, paraprofessionals or even families.
  • Adaptations and Learning Access - How do we create online resources that consider the needs of all students including those with disabilities or need accommodations. How do we ensure that online resources can be differentiated to meet the needs of our students at their learning level.
  • Student Voice and Families - How can we ensure that the voices of youth and families are being considered when designing or implementing online resources? How can online learning resources provide students and families with agency on what they are learning?

This is most definitely not an exhaustive list, but it shows the direction our cohort is moving forward with their research projects. As an OST practitioner, do you see any of these problems within your afterschool program?

One cohort member, Alexis Lopez, presented about The Design Thinking Framework, a nonlinear process to design solutions to problems by identifying the needs of our users, prototyping, reframing our question and continuous testing of our product throughout the entire process. This skill set will not only help our cohort in designing their research project but can help with creating solutions for any type of complex problem. You can learn more about The Design Thinking Framework here and see how you can implement this in your afterschool program or your daily life.