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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.

28 comments

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Photo of Tiffany Li
Team

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.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney and team,

There are a few hours left in the refinement phase if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney,

There is just a week left of refinement. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.

Photo of Steve Parkinson
Team

Hi Courtney,

I think it's really useful to add a physical element to online learning. It's something we do at the Open University for various courses e.g. within the technology and design areas. I think there's scope to explore concepts around this further. Not just to aid learning, but to help with community aspects, and also just to blur the line between online and 'real life'. I think where someone has spent money on an online course, receiving something tangible helps give a greater initial feeling of value.

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your comment! Would you consider helping me in the refinement stage to iterate and test the idea or perhaps provide feedback from your experience? I have added some sketched storyboard which illustrate the concept for a persona of an RN pursuing a degree to become an PA.

Thanks!
Courtney

Photo of Steve Parkinson
Team

Hi Courtney,

Sorry for the delay in replying, I was away last week. I'd be happy to help where I can. I'm not sure I'd have time to be able to test the idea but I could certainly give feedback if you thought it might help.

Cheers
Steve

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

I've just added a sketched storyboard in the attached files to better illustrate the idea. I have based it on a persona of a nurse (RN) pursuing a degree to become a Nurse Practitioner part-time in a course which is both remote and on-campus for assessment purposes (following the structure of Georgetown's program: https://online.nursing.georgetown.edu/academics/family-nurse-practitioner-fnp/). I would be keen to get some help testing this concept with users to get feedback. Does anyone have a network of nurses and the time to gather feedback to improve the idea?

Thanks!
Courtney

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hello those of you with nursing backgrounds! I was wondering if you had the time to provide feedback or test this idea with users using the storyboards I've created or your own! Sarah Halliday MK Czerwiec Amy Holliday @DeletedUser 

Would love to add you to the team to refine this idea!

Thanks,
Courtney

Photo of MK Czerwiec
Team

Courtney - thanks for reaching out. This is a terrific idea and I think with more detail can have great impact on remote learning. So I'd love to give any feedback I can during this process. My limitation is that I do not have access to students or clients with which to test prototypes.

Using the Georgetown NP program as an example, what kinds of things do you envision being in the kits? Or less concrete, perhaps what is an example of a skill learning that would utilize one of these kits? Or would you need input on that as well?

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi MK - thanks for your offer to help! I have created some storyboards to better illustrate functionality which you can find in the attachments of this idea - that should give you a better idea. As far as skills, I didn't have anything specific in mind, perhaps you could help with refining that?

Courtney

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi MK - thanks for your offer to help! I have created some storyboards to better illustrate functionality which you can find in the attachments of this idea - that should give you a better idea. As far as skills, I didn't have anything specific in mind, perhaps you could help with refining that?

Courtney

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney,

I hope you had a nice weekend.

I wonder if Bettina Fliegel might have a few ideas on kits for medical professionals based on her background as a physician.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi. Thanks for tagging me Kate Rushton .
Courtney - Are you proposing this idea for life long learning, continuing education?

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi Bettina,

Yes - I think this idea can certainly extend to lifelong learning, depending on the nature of study and if hands on materials are appropriate. My hypothesis is that tangible materials can be useful in most learning situations as a compliment to remote learning, but this is not yet validated. Would you consider joining the team to test the idea with professionals in the medical field? I have created some storyboards around a RN persona pursuing a degree to become a PA in the attachments section.

Thanks!
Courtney

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement phase Courtney! We've added new Refinement questions to your original submission that we'd love for you to answer. Please check out the Refinement Phase Toolkit for instructions on how to answer the new questions and other recommendations we encourage all idea teams to consider in the upcoming weeks.

Refinement Phase Toolkit: http://ideo.pn/2du9sf7

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 02/01" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney

I hope you are having a nice day.

There is an idea in another OpenIDEO challenge on financial services that has an innovative way of prototyping a physical product - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/refinement/all-generation-friendly-atm

I thought it might interest you.

I would recommend really digging down into what is the problem, how is this solution and think about what the competitors are to demonstrate that this a ‘need to have’ and not a ‘nice to have’.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney,

Welcome to the refinement phase, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by using @ and typing my name.

Take care,

Kate

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney!

I have come across a Makers Academy in Texas for nurses for them to experiment and develop new products - http://www.psfk.com/2016/05/this-kit-turns-nurses-into-medical-hackers.html. There must be other academies for other professions.

It might be interesting to get the perspective of a Makers Academy on your idea. There are definitely a few in London as well as the US.

Photo of Gregory Wilson
Team

Really like this idea. Especially, as a way to merge online learning with the physical world. The kit could go beyond materials needed to build something and also include learning support materials (e.g., flash cards, study guides, information about the professor, Starbucks gift card, etc.).

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi Gregory,

Love your suggestions. What a great way to personalise the kit and encourage a relationship with the class which is often difficult to do in online learning. Information or a letter from the professor and a giftcard to a coffeeshop are wonderful and creative ideas to include in the kit.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Courtney!

Great idea!

I have found a few courses with kits (e.g. professional makeup artist and science lab kits for online learning) but I am not sure how reputable the courses and accreditation is. Although, I have not been able to do a full search.

It might be worth looking at the professions with labor shortages e.g.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/04/19/the-u-s-occupations-at-greatest-risk-of-a-labor-shortage/ e.g. occupational therapists, railroad engineers, mathematicians, machinists and other workers

Nurses and nursing assistants in rural US - http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/nursing-shortage/459741/
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/5/state-faces-in-certified-nursing-assistant-shortag/

It would be great to get the perspective of Bettina Fliegel Terry Stephanie Yoong Max Noble Gregory Wilson Ajay Batra 

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

I have just thought, as you work in the energy sector, are there any energy-related jobs that this could apply to e.g. smart meter installer, repair worker etc.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Andrea Zelenak - what do you think? could this work for the design classes and woodwork class you took?

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
Team

Yes, definitely!

A lot of the times in my "design" classes, we had a lot of work time on projects and things. It is good to have people around you to collaborate, but honestly, a lot of the time people were diligently working. So, I think meeting up a few times in person is beneficial, but a lot is trial and error which creates questions/discussions in class.

As for woodworking/electrical, I love the company Kiwicrate. It's for a younger audience but I think the idea is pretty similar and could work on a larger scale. A lot of the things they make are really cool, fun and useful things.

http://www.kiwicrate.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=SEM&utm_content=KC_Brand&utm_campaign=Kiwi_Brand&gclid=Cj0KEQiAnb3DBRCX2ZnSnMyO9dIBEiQAOcXYH6baHiULBhVI6aFrnWZjEhK9blihT0qM1EX-k-g2EM8aAslc8P8HAQ

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi Andrea,

LOVE your example of Kiwicrate. The design and materials used to the crates are excellent. I think this could be a great model to draw from as it involves hands-on and online learning. From the website it states that each kit includes: an awesome project, blueprint (instructions), a "tinker zone" or additional activities, and video tutorials. This makes me think there could potentially be multiple kits involved throughout a class focused on different learning outcomes.

Photo of Max Noble
Team

Kate Rushton , the labor shortage article (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/04/19/the-u-s-occupations-at-greatest-risk-of-a-labor-shortage/) brings up a really good point. Why should a shortage on an occupation have an adverse effect on the economy. In the past, wages in that field would rise, which would draw more people into the profession. However, it has a significant time lag. The other time lag occurs in the training (current education system problem). So between those 2 lags we have an adverse effect on the local economy.

So, How do we streamline both of those lags?

When a shortage of a particular occupation is identified, it should be an opportunity for people. How do we get that data to everyone in the local area in which its occurring? This problem could be solved, or in the very least give people more insight, by big data and a globally automated analysis system.

The second lag, training/education, can be a significant lag (4 years!) a lot can change in 4 years. And often the education system overshoots the demand and floods the labor market. We need to get people in that occupation as soon as a shortage is identified, this is were on job training can relieve some of the shortage problems and advance people learning. I think kit idea may be step 1. Is that what you where thinking too?

Photo of Courtney Gallagher
Team

Hi Max & Kate Rushton 

Great ideas regarding encouraging students to pursue professions which are in need of trained professionals.

It would be excellent to encourage students to pursue professions with labor shortages. Maybe there could be an incentive from the gov/sector, possibly provide the kits and online classes at a low cost. The lag is really interesting. Maybe kits and online learning would have a quicker turn-around time than traditional educational models to meet the market needs. I think you are right in that part of the problem is getting that information about the identified occupations in need of skilled workers to students or people looking for work. It is important to offer this information to empower people to make educated decisions about where to invest their time and money in training.

Photo of Max Noble
Team

Courtney Gallagher , Kate Rushton  kits are great. I have so many fond childhood memories waiting for kits to arrive in the mail. When I was 13 I built a hydrogen generator in the basement...haha. Sounds bad, but it was quite safe, low pressure and low volume. But I learned a lot and it inspired me. And as a result, I've worked on hydrogen projects as an adult. I hope to have a "Mad Scientist" kit system for kids. Still working on it 30/144.

Full learning requires: tools, materials, space and information. Kits can provide the first 2. In my case there was no where locally that i could get platinum plated electrolysis rods, but the kit provided them at a low cost.

The people who are great self learners will be able to get the materials and tools they need to get started in a career or field. Offer the first step is the biggest barrier to learning something new, kits slam dunk that one.