Published in
Senior Project

Topic Workshop: Education

My first time designing a workshop

When Claire, Jay, An and I sat down and talked about creating a workshop about the design of education, we didn’t know that we ended up making a something dramatically different than what we had in mind.

We didn’t want to create a lecture in the first place, because we believe we can create an engaging activity where people could stay present and learn through making. Thus, designing with an intent is essential to ensure everyone can learn something meaningful from the workshop.

What helps us design better education experience? I thought: how can we design better education experience if we’re not conscious of the education that we received?

Our random thoughts on education @ CCA IxD.

The center of our initial discussion became the reflection on our own education, largely in CCA. I felt more mindful when I connected what I experienced in the institution to what I am and hope to become as a designer. More importantly, we hope that people will be more empowered to understand the impact of education and design such experience for themselves and others.

The curriculum model designed by Kristian Simsarian, the founding chair and ex-chair of IxD BFA program, helped us clarify the concept and design the activity. His whole body learning curriculum framework depicted a dependent relationship between craft, process, and purpose.

The whole body learning curriculum framework.

Our activity started with thinking about the classes, projects, resources, and skills. We hope the reflection happens when the participants are asked to connect them with their values and beliefs that they hold today. From there, they can look for the missing pieces in their education experience to fulfill their hopes and needs. We think it’s an appropriate depth of critique on the program in this workshop.

Sketches of activity sequence.

Each of us designed the different portions of the workshop but stayed collaborated in testing and iteration. It’s more difficult to design a one-hour activity than a one-hour presentation! I found mapping our little steps useful in clarifying the design and reaching consensus within the team.

The workshop plan.

Through a dry run test with one of the students, we gained confidence that the activity seems to deliver what we intended to share. We shortened the ending and tweaked the small moments throughout the workshop to make the process smoother and more engaging.

The team conducting a dry run.

When we were at the presenters’ table, there’s too much running in my brain that I can’t assess the result well. If I had to make a conclusion, I would describe the feedback of the class as a “lukewarm” response. I think we had a lot to say, and we delivered some of that through our activity. I think the activity could be more engaging with a clear explanation of our intent before it ends.

At least we weren’t sleeping in the morning class!

While I was writing this, I realized that this seems to be my first time designing a workshop. So, hooray!