Human-Centered Design within Human-Centered Design within…

Our discovery of WhatsApp’s potential and that of Social Media generally to supplement our university courses in Jordan came at a perfect time mid-way through our team enrollment in the Acumen, IDEO.org Human-Centered Design Course.

The idea behind the module was for teams to use the Human-Centered Design approach to create a prototype tackling a research question either of your own personal choosing or from available pre-set questions. Human-Centered Design, the backbone of the work behind IDEO.org, is defined within the course as “a process that starts with the people you are designing for and ends with new solutions tailor-made to suit their needs.”

Upon enrolling, Team Jamiya thought this an optimal opportunity to tackle a challenge posed by our own students in the recently launched Introduction to Programming and Java course: balancing study with work and social pressures. It was also a good opportunity to place ourselves in the students’ shoes by taking an online courses ourselves.

We drafted a plan involving students, places, experts and analogous comparisons to research and observe, and ultimately sent a member of the team to put our plan into action in Jordan.

Student in Za’atari during ideation session

Sorting through a broad range of findings, we identified three main themes recurring in the research:

Students lacked sufficient infrastructure to study outside of the classroom
Students had several moments throughout the day of “empty” or waiting time that could be taken advantage of and
Related to our latest blog post, there was an opportunity around the already existing network and use of mobile phones.

Not-surprisingly, these themes led us to further research-questions or in course-terms “How Might We Questions”:

How might we adapt university courses to be more mobile-based in refugee settings?
How might we fit independent learning into time-gaps during and between work and study?
How might we generate a scalable study kit to facilitate independent learning outside the classroom?

Following bouts of frantic pacing, illegible wipe-board jotting and delirious deliberations, Team Jamiya arrived at a prototype around an Independent Study Toolkit that seeks to address various needs of students including the incorporation of a social aspect, the lack of quiet spaces, psychological support, offline accessible content etc.

All in all, it seemed only fair as providers of online learning, we participate in an online course ourselves. While the content of IDEO.org and Acumen’s course varies ever so slightly from our Gothenburg accredited, blended-learning, Arabic, Introduction to Programming and Java course, we still anticipate high learning outcomes and transferrable skills.

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NEXT → VocApp: Edtech as a collaborative gathering place for diaspora community

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