Brief 1: Learn

Brief 1: Learn

Chris Murphy · 11 July, 2020

In the midst of a pandemic that has fundamentally changed everything, one industry that's undergone massive transformation is education. Overnight, schools – at all levels: primary, secondary and tertiary – have had to completely rethink how they work.

With learners unable to collect physically in the same location due to social distancing rules, education has had no choice but to move online.

Tools like: Zoom, for the delivery of lectures; Slack, for building communities; and WhatsApp for day-to-day check-ins, are now being used in new ways, ways they weren't originally designed for.

Article 28 of the UNCRC states that children and young people have the right to education no matter who they are: regardless of race, gender or disability; if they’re in detention, or if they’re a refugee.

Should these rights be extended further, to include lifelong learning? The opportunity to rethink learning – focusing on the underlying experience design – are huge. Here are some of the questions we need to ask:

Where might education be situated?

Is it based in a building? Is it gathered around a screen? Or is it, ideally, a blend of both?

Who are the teachers of tomorrow?

Are they a full-time faculty of dedicated educators? Are they drawn from industry? Or are they, ideally, a blend of both?

How do we open up education?

For many, education is beyond reach. How might we open up education to more people? Services like FutureLearn (primarily free) and Skillshare (low cost) open up education to more people, but they have problems.

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have very low completion rates, because they lack accountability. As experience designers, how might we rethink these tools to improve completion rates?

In this short, sharp project, we’ll explore what education might be and we’ll reimagine how education might be delivered in a post-pandemic world.

Pandemic as disruptor.

One thing the pandemic has taught us is that education is only limited by our imaginations and it’s long-overdue disruption.

In a very short space of time, digital tools like Zoom have become normalised. The idea that everyone needs to be in the same room, at the same time in order to learn, has been challenged.

When we no longer need a ‘classroom’, opportunities open up. What might the school of the future look like? What business models might sustain it? Do we even need to meet ‘in the real world’?

All of these questions are open to exploration. On Monday at 4.00 pm, we’ll kick off with an overview of the landscape, we’ll also map out the next 12 weeks and consider possible outcomes. Education is changing, I’m looking forward to exploring what it might be with you.


Every project starts with a list of questions that we then work back from, finding answers… Here are some. We'll explore more in our first seminar.

  • Customer Needs
    • What are the customer needs?
    • What are they trying to achieve?
  • Working back from these needs, why do these needs exist?
    • Jobs to be Done is a useful framework for this.
  • Who is our audience?
  • We need to identify the audience, it will rarely be everyone. Again, asking questions helps us to define this and refine our design to suit. (A 14 year old will prefer a different interface to a 44 year old and a 104 year old.)
  • What is our business model?
    • Our business model might be paid or free. Ultimately – someone, somewhere – needs to pay for what we're creating. How does this work?


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