Learning patterns/Design of a proposed distance learning resource
What problem are you trying to solve?
On a general basis, program design for virtual capacity building are traditional and do not address local needs or the educational contexts in which the audience of said program work. Design thinking can help solve this by providing a general work frame and also by promoting stages of co-creation.
What is the solution?
To plan and develop a proposal that considers design thinking strategies. This innovative approach focuses on people and integrates technological possibilities (for instance, the platform where the proposal develops or the social networks used) with proposal needs (to reach higher knowledge and to promote in local contexts the use of the contents taught). The capacity building proposal will be, in this way, flexible enough to allow awareness of the participants topics, as well as motivate them to use this methodology in the design of their own educational proposals on Wikimedia projects. Design thinking strategy involves a sequence of phases or instances and is defined as an iterative process. This means it doesn't have an end, it is dynamic, which allows to adjust the proposal to any obstacles or emergencies that may take place. The steps are: Define (goals and needs), Investigate (precedents, state of the art), Conceive (define possible solutions), Prototype (generate a minimal proposal and take it to experience or apply it), Measure (impact and improvement possibilities).
The first step in designing a capacity building proposal is to define which would be our goal or problem to solve. We detected 2 (two):
a) raise awareness and promote stages for ownership of free culture in educational contexts (represented by Wikimedia projects).
b) start from what is known to the audience (this is the scholar and digital culture).
In this stage we applied ourselves to analyzing proposals and similar precedents. In this step we found that many capacity building proposals failed to present an accurate and finished design for training, a finished product.
We created a proposal that leaves some room to individual productions, imaginary, reflexions, needs that every week participants brought to us. We recovered and valued the process and the intermediate results.
The weekly contents had activities proposed in which participants were faced with a challenge. These involved questioning common practices and needs. This not only promoted to read the contexts for implementation, but also to analyze the contents from classes in search of their realities and to re-interpret them with the aim of finding a strategy. These were contents and productions that worked as input for the coming weeks. In the prototype phase, we brought a syllabus and models of classes with their activities. We adjusted these activities according to participants' responses.
Finally, when measuring, we considered the level of participation and the quality of productions. These indicators allowed us to adjust the proposal. This strategy changed every week, and we managed to have 70 participants (out of 100) finishing the course, which is an elevated number.
Things to consider
When to use this pattern
During the months of October/November 2014 Wikimedia Argentina, together with the Latin-American Network of Educational Portals (RELPE) implemented the virtual course «Puentes entre las culturales escolares, digitales y libres» (Bridges among scholar, digital and free cultures). The participants were teachers and technical teams all over Latin America, with different needs and experiences. To address this heterogenous nature and question their contexts demanded an adaptable proposal, specially because this type of course had unknown trajectories. It was Looking at MediaLabs' strategies and the way in which technological developments are built nowadays that we decided to apply design thinking model to create a proposal. Looking back, we understand there are many ways to implement a capacity building course. MOOCs, for instance, show a lack of people who finish the course (over the number of people who started it). We believe this is because they can not interpellate the singular contexts for implementation, and so participants do not find the contents useful in their reality or routine. This patterns allowed us to generate what we call WikiLabs: this training program also turned into a space for experimentation on how to generate a distance educational strategy, that is sustainable and that can also auto-generate contents and ideas.
- Wikimedia Argentina Blog
- Portal Educ.ar
- Campus RELPE
- Writing Wikipedia Articles: a six week online course