Divergent Thinking - Spring 2020 - 2 weeks
My sophomore industrial design class was approached by the Office of Distance Education and E-Learning (ODEE) at Ohio State, who asked for a solution that would make learning software easier for students and faculty. I worked in a team with classmates Josh Leidich and Lauren Goslee. We first gathered information about the issues surrounding the learning of digital skills, then used that information to develop concepts using diverse design strategies. The concepts we presented to ODEE were intended to be developed as a conjecture based on incomplete information that points toward a design opportunity. ODEE selected our idea for further development with the intent of eventually implementing the concept at the university level.
“Ohio state students struggle to learn and receive help with online software because of user isolation, lack of interest, and software obscurity. Our solution should utilize a connected and collaborative platform to emphasize learning through shared knowledge within the student community.”
Our team looked at the current software that was available to the students and faculty of OSU through the Office of Distance Education and E-Learning (ODEE), as well as the current experiences of students and faculty who attempt to learn new software that the university offers. We also looked at learning strategies that are successfully implemented in other education-based programs like educational games, tutoring services, and language-learning apps.
Divergent Design Strategies
Our team used three different divergent design strategies to generate ideas:
Differential Diagnosis allowed us to list the symptoms, then form a "diagnosis" that addresses these symptoms in the form of a clearly organized problem statement that points toward specific issues the solution should address.
Concept-Knowledge Mapping allowed us to model the links between concepts that already exist (knowledge) and ideas that we had not seen implemented yet (concepts) in the hope of generating new knowledge.
Divergent Scenario Graphs allowed us to plot ideas on a grid created by two axes that each represented a pair of contrasting concepts (ex mobile vs stationary; tangible products vs intangible services).
Our team decided that our solution would take the form of an app that relies on the shared knowledge of the Ohio State community to ease the tension of learning new software. High Five allows students to identify what programs they are proficient in, as well as what programs they want help learning. They can select whether they currently are in need of help ("ask") or are offering help ("assist"). Users who select "ask" are able to see a map of designated learning "hotspots", which when clicked shows "tutors" who are currently in that location and ready to help. The user can browse tutors to select someone who is proficient in the program they would like help with, then directly message that tutor to ask questions or set up a meeting time for more intensive with the program.