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All Hands-On Deck

Provide remote students with physical "play" kits to support online learning in addition to meet up groups when possible.

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
28 11

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In addition to online classes, provide a kit to support remote learning through hand-on, physical tasks. This idea is easier for some areas of study than others, but can be essential. For example to become an electrician, a student should have experience with actual, physical wires. Potential for "smart" kits which can detect accuracy to provide immediate feedback for students or send information to their professor or peers. If remote students are in the same area, meeting up for coffee or classes should be identified by the class and encouraged.  

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

Designed for students who for one reason or another, cannot attend physical classes. Online learning is very prevalent today, but lacks all of the benefits of classroom learning.

This idea emerged from:

  • A student brainstorm
  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Research into how this idea might have been tried out to some capacity already or in other sectors. Understanding the requirements and cost for sending "kits" to students.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Test out the idea with remote students in a particular degree where hands-on learning is very important like electricians, plumbers, doctors, or others.

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a MSc student in Human-Centred Systems and also work full time as an Experience Designer in the financial services and energy sectors.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone? 2-3 sentences.

This idea offers the flexibility of remote learning combined with the tangible experience of a physical kit to gain hands-on experience. The kit can provide a closer experience to that of a classroom with the potential to bring in elements of collaboration. Kits can include anything which can compliment a particular course, for example models, flashcards, giftcards, supplies, calendars, prototypes, etc. The physical provides support to he virtual classroom and collaborative online tools.

What is the specific problem your idea is trying to solve? 1 sentence.

While remote learning continues to provide a way of learning which can fit in with many schedules and responsibilities, it lacks collaboration and practical experience, in offering a kit or series of kits students engage with tangible objects to support virtual learning.

How is your idea different or unique from what is currently on the market?

The idea of hands-on learning in kits is not new, but the requirement of a hands-on assignment for virtual learning is novel and could incorporate simple technology like RFID to offer immediate feedback or to understand a student's progress. If an assignment has not been attempted yet, this could nudge a professor to get in touch with the student. Tangible experiences for professions like the medical field are extremely important and should be completed in parallel.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Engagement with remote courses (completion rates, attendance, assignment completion, course grades), remote collaboration (visits to online collaboration tool, number of messages/posts), employability for internships / work experience

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

The model of online classes is perfect for a large group of people. For a small fee the physical kit is offered to complement this learning both individually and in collaborative online platforms.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

I would like to sketch a storyboard of the concept, focusing on a particular field to test first. The storyboard should provide just enough detail to illustrate the concept to get early feedback from experts in the chosen domain. Potentially the medical field could be an interesting test case due to the importance of hands-on skills. Getting feedback from a nurse would be extremely relevant to test the idea and also better understand what the kit could contain.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tiffany Li

Hi Courtney and team,

Regarding the need to understand the cost for sending kits to students, have you thought about reaching out to corporate sponsors? This would lower the cost of acquiring items for the kits, and it may even align with companies' CSR goals. Ex: Reaching out to GE to donate lightbulbs or Duracell to donate batteries.

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