Design Thinking Workshop for Tumo.org
My role: Creator, organizer and workshop leader
Institution: Tumo.org – Center for Creative Technologies, Yerevan, Armenia
TUMO is a new kind of after school learning institution in Yerevan, Armenia. It offers students aged 12 - 18 extra curriculum classes and workshops in areas of creative technology. Whereas public schools in Armenia focus on traditional academia, TUMO provides a dynamic, inspiring and progressive learning environment where students are in charge of their own learning.
Conversations with the director, staff and students have shown that problems exist in student registration, communication, content creation and the learning impact of the interactive path. These issues were causing dissatisfaction within the TUMO community, and our 3-week workshop was designed to brainstorm and be creative for new ideas on how to improve the student experience at TUMO.
I organized and facilitated the 3-week workshop for staff and faculty, and shared our findings and ideas in a presentation for the TUMO community. Staff and faculty had learned and used design thinking methods to approach problem with a creative mindset.
"How can we improve the student's experience at TUMO?"
Students at TUMO in a learning workshop.
TUMO's interactive learning path
The interactive learning path is the entry level to the TUMO program. With the interactive learning path (image above) students expose themselves to all four main areas where they learn basic skills and build a body of knowledge.
In workshops students focus on one area and major in this area with a final project to demonstrate technical and creative mastery. Students can advance in learning labs which are highly specialized classes, sometimes led by internationally renowned professionals and artists who provide students insights into their professional work.
The design thinking workshop program
The workshop is designed for staff to understand and assimilate the design thinking mindset, conduct fieldwork, download learnings, create insight statements and brainstorm in sessions, and materialize ideas with rapid prototyping and perform user testing with their students and teachers.
The human-centered design mindset
The human-centered design method can be used to address all kinds of challenges and real world problems. It is an effective and creative problem solver method, that creates strong empathy towards the users and their needs. Understanding and learning the human-centered mindset, open up and thinking out of the box was a premise for staff in order to get the most out of the workshop.
Class I: Setting up interview guide
Staff has identified these key problems and aggregated them into a design challenge: "How to improve the students' experience at TUMO?".
In alignment with my design thinking guide, staff members were assigned to practice, share and carry out the seven mindsets of human-centered design: Empathy, Optimism, Iteration, Creative Confidence, Making, Embracing Ambiguity, and Learning from Failure.
Class II: Ideation – clustering key themes and creating insight statements
In consecutive sessions, teams did interviews, aggregated and analyzed data from their fieldwork, clustered and synthesized key themes and insight statements, created storyboards and prototypes, conducted user tests and iterate on user feedback.
Class III: Ideation – Presentation of storyboards
Teams presented, evaluated and defined the top 5 most important insight statements to address the following three questions:
1. The communication of upcoming labs and events is not efficient. Students are not aware about lectures, labs and events.
Question: How might we make the communication of learning labs and events more efficient and engaging for the students?
2. Most of the students find activities boring and not very helpful for workshops.
Question: How might we deliver content and formats for activities to make learning more effective, interesting and fun?
3. How might we organize additional lectures and activities before or during learning labs and workshops to inspire and motivate students?
Question: How might we organize additional lectures and activities before or during learning labs and workshops to inspire and motivate students?
Class IV: Pitching for three different design solutions
3 Ideas as low key prototypes
1. The activity prototype is a remodeled version of the learning path and suggests to reorganize and connect units to make it more efficient, flexible, fun and user friendly for students.
2. New tools of communication suggest little virtual TUMO figures to add gamification to keep students motivated and better informed about their options and learning status quo.
3. A new guideline for inspiration for teaching staff, artists and professionals provides ideas and suggestions to make classes inspirational, interesting and providing students an environment for a growth mindset.
Sharing and presenting ideas with TUMO staff
Sharing the stories, experience and outcomes with the TUMO community was a great way to trigger discussions underneath staff about critical issues.