3 Ways Human-Centered Design Can Inform Student Success [video]

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So, you know, the question of what can a university leader do if they really wanna start to design their model, their institution, around human-centered design principles... There are really sort of three things that I would suggest right off the bat. One of them is this idea of user shadowing. Just getting to know who the students are, and I mean really getting to know the students, not just a little, at the end of the course, "how did you like the course?" That stuff really doesn't help. Sit down with students. Follow them through a learning experience. Really understand what their background is when they're not just in the course. That's the first one that I would say.

Second one that I would look at is I would look very carefully at making sure the learning experience, the actual learning opportunity that you provide, is adapting and adjusting to their needs. Which means, first, you gotta know something about what they already know and what their needs are and where do they already have skills and what can they pull in. But if you're in an institution where every student is learning the same thing, every student in a particular course learns the same thing, it's probably an indication that you're not designing the experience around their needs.

And then the third thing that I would say is looking at what are the tools and resources that we provide in order to really make that human-centered design model work. So something really simple is describing having some ways for students to demonstrate what the skills are that they've developed. Generally, right now, in most institution, at the end of the learning experience you get a piece of paper that says "you have graduated" and it says "here are the courses that you took." But the courses that you took is actually not very helpful for finding a job. It's not very helpful for going on to future learning experiences. What people wanna know is what can you do? What do you know? And so thinking about are there new ways to present a more granular look at what a student's competencies are, you know competency-based learning is often what we talk about, and there are ways to do that. But having dashboards that can show very easily students' progression, what they're working on, what they need to do. And also I would put into that group of the resources that we consider things like the resources that we're providing for the students as they go through the process, like their learning materials. So looking at everything, everything from the tools that you use to provide their, to demonstrate their progression, to the resources that we're asking the students to use as part of their learning experiences, and making sure that those are really matching the student needs. I think if we can do those things, we will really start to have a very different feel in our organizations and students will see themselves in those organizations. They will feel much more relevant to them and to their future when they see that we are actually making the effort to design the model around the student at the center as opposed to just around tradition, which is unfortunately the reason why we do a lot of what we do at higher ed.