GO! (Gemeenschapsonderwijs), a Belgian governmental institution that organises education in Flanders wants to prepare education for a rapid changing world. Together we took on the challenge to transform education to prepare students for the future, support teachers in their job and aid GO! employees in linking governmental learning goals with practical learning activities.
Education nowadays faces major challenges. More and more youngsters feel misplaced in the current educational system and leave school early. At the same time teachers feel overwhelmed by the increasing amount of expectations placed upon them, which results in an increase of burn-outs. Today we find schools wanting to innovate and they experiment with methods such as competency based learning or flexible learning. However, they are held back by a lack of tools and solutions to make these methods manageable.
Through qualitative research with teachers and students we gained insight into the complex educational context. These insights were the starting point of an extensive co-creation phase where we designed solutions together. Those were developed in an iterative proces with a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and the client. This team presented their progress every two weeks to the users and stakeholders for feedback to implement in the following two weeks. After involving all users throughout the whole designproces, a long-term test period was set up in 3 schools. They now continue to use the platform and we helped GO! set up an ongoing process of continuous user involvement and improvement.
This project had effects on multiple levels. Not only did we create a digital tool that changes the classroom into a place where every student can learn at his own pace, where students learn social skills like helping each other and where teachers can (co-)create and share learning materials. A cultural change also took place at GO! towards an organisation that puts it users central, believes in qualitative research, implements new ideas in a hands-on way and applies structural co-creation. As a direct result of this project, we started a series of service design trainings and coaching sessions to teach several employees to apply human-centred design methods in their work.
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