Thoughts and questions on measuring impact, and starting to do it at Design Club

Very early impact data and conclusions

Three parts to education

According to Sir Ken Robinson, there are three parts to education:

  1. Curriculum — the content you want to teach
  2. Pedagogy — how you teach the content
  3. Assessment — measuring how much content has been learned

Up to now, I’ve concentrated on the first two parts. They’re hard to do well, and Design Club still has a long way to go. Children get over-assessed through standardised testing. It’s all a bit much.

Saying that, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of measuring impact. It can validate, and improve what you’re doing. Plus, potential funders want to see the impact they’re contribution is having.


Deciding what to measure

This is the interesting bit. It gets to the heart of the matter. It makes me think of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, below, from his book, Start with Why.

If curriculum is what we teach, and pedagogy is how we teach, should what we assess come from why we teach?

Design Club exists to help children and young people become design thinkers. It believes that the future needs people-centred designers to help make the world a better place. It does this by nurturing empathy, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.

Should Design Club measure these three things? How might we measure how much empathy one possesses? How might standardised tests reveal the answer? How might self-assessment provide some insight? How might exhibited behaviours broadcast some clues?


Feedback forms at Design Club

Early impact measurement at Design Club

We got feedback from 6 children. A couple were off school poorly. A couple have finished for the year.

We gave each child an A5 feedback form at the start of the session. See above. They sat two chairs apart and filled out the form in silence, to avoid influencing each other.

The results

Conclusions

Design Club needs more time to develop. It needs others to run pilots, so we have more data. But the initial signs are positive.

The feedback form itself could do with refining. For example, it’s too easy to state that “Understanding the people you are designing for” is “very important.” We should be asking children to also state why they answered in the way they did.

Building prototypes out of Lego proved to be a huge success. We were lucky, we had a huge box of Lego. Not everyone has access to so much Lego. Maybe there is a pilot project to be funded here?

Positive indicators

Feedback forms don’t paint a full picture. The sessions frequently produce positive indicators that are hard to capture. The children had fun, enjoyed their work, and were often in flow.

There was a positive indicator a few weeks ago. It happened naturally. My daughter wrote her name on a post-it. Underneath her name she wrote “Design Genius.”

I’m happy that she sees herself that way, and has the confidence to write that down. Did Design Club have that impact?