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Where Learning Support Meets Human-Centered Design

My approach to learning support is grounded in Human Centered Design. Human-centered design is a process for problem-solving that begins by understanding the unique needs of the people being served and incorporates their lived experience to create solutions tailored to their specific needs. Learning by design begins with the premise that we all learn differently and no two brains are exactly alike. 

Image by Clarisse Croset

How it Works

In my practice, I lead with empathy to understand my client’s needs, questions, and motivation for seeking support. In the next phase, we generate as many creative options as we can think of to solve the challenges we identified. Then, we focus on actionable strategies to put into practice. Incorporating SMART goals, we test out these strategies and monitor their effectiveness. The problem-solving process is interactive, iterative, and fluid. The beauty of a human-centered design approach to learning support is that it puts the learners in the driver’s seat as they practice new approaches and learn what works and what adjustments they need to make. Rather than disabling and enabling students who struggle, learning by design follows a collaborative, innovative process to empower students to take ownership of their learning experience. 

My interest in HCD was sparked by an online course I took with IDEO, a global design organization. I recognized how the HCD process could work to design support plans for students who were struggling in school.  In 2018, I received a grant to visit a unique program in Hawaii focused on social entrepreneurism to learn more about how to incorporate human-centered design into my practice.


Going Barefoot

This blog post captures my experience as an educator exploring the human-centered design learning process

People in Hawaii often go barefoot. At first, I thought this was just more comfortable and casual and cool. I now know it is more than that.

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances.”

—Albert Einstein

Assortment of Books
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