100 TASKS

DESIGNING  AN  EXPERIENTIAL  LEARNING  PROGRAM  REIMAGINING  21ST  CENTURY  LEARNING  FOR  CHILDREN  IN  INDIA.

ABOUT

 

100 tasks is a holistic start to the journey of learning by doing, initiated by the Story of Makers, a non-profit based in India.

It is a program of activities for learners between the ages of 6 and 14, aimed to aid formal learning. We believe that there is a need to acknowledge and engage in multiple ways of learning. The intent for this deck is for learners to equip themselves with a new way of learning and thinking, based on the experiential model of learning, i.e do + reflect + share.

Our goal was to expand the reach of this program to a wider audience of children and guides. For our pilot, we created a set of 40 cards and tested them with our audience of children and guides. Taking forward the insights from this stage, we redesigned the cards and created a guide for the guide.

Some cards from the learning deck, 100 Tasks

​ TYPE

Research, Design

& Strategy

Story of Makers 

CO-WORKERS

Abhishek Chheda,

Devangee Gangar,

Heet Dedhia,

Zubin Savla

​ EXPLORED

Iterative Design, Prototyping & Testing,

Visual Design

​ DURATION

6 months

Part time

BACKGROUND

In most schools across India, the curriculum is linearised, with each subject being treated in isolation. Rote-learning methodologies are employed i.e learning by memorizing. The child reads, repeats, and memorizes, and a high-stakes testing regime rewards this recall. This method is standardized, conformative, stressful, and dull. Moreover, the skills that this system generates are not relevant to today’s times. 

 

Most 21st-century skills are not, and cannot be taught theoretically, but only contextually. Therefore, it is important that the context is one that is relevant to children, and something that the child can engage with actively. Experiential learning thus plays a major role in setting such context. 

 

However, it is currently missing from the Indian Education system.

 

Story of Makers is a non-profit based in Mumbai, aimed at making learning engaging and fun again. For the past 4 years, they have been creating experiential learning avenues for children in India. Their methodologies are rooted in the act of making and play, enabling children to adopt an explorers' mindset, sparking their inner curiosity.

 

100 Tasks is an initiative of the Story of Makers to expand these methodologies and learnings and bring them to homes and schools across the country through a series of activities. 

Currently, formal education in India is linearised, standardized, and conformative. Even in the 21st century, it replicates the factory model of the industrial times, producing an army of like-minded individuals, rejecting the uniqueness within each child to explore and learn about themselves and their special potentials.

WHAT

100 Tasks is an educational program, a deck of 100 activity cards designed to facilitate experiential learning.

 

WHY

There is a need within the Indian Education system to acknowledge different learners and ways of learning that are non-conformative and nurture children's creativity and critical reasoning skills.

Our intention is for children to have access to new ways of learning through the experiential model of making/doing, reflecting, and sharing.

We intend for this to integrate into the existing structure of the Indian education system, creating sparks of joy and imagination and enabling children to fall in love with learning again.

WHO

100 tasks is designed for children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. It is currently in English and in a physical format. We intend to translate it into regional languages and make it available in digital formats to reach a wider audience.

It can be used by any guide who sees the value in holistic education and is seeking to supplement formal learning. Until now, we have been working with principals, school teachers, alternative educators, non-profits, parents, and peers.

 

WHERE

100 Tasks is designed to be used in schools, in homes, in alternative learning spaces, maker spaces, and is not restricted by space.

 

It is designed to span 8 years starting as early as possible. However, it is flexible and divided into 3 phases, each can be used as a starting point and can be shuffled with ease.

THE PILOT PROJECT

 

A deck of 40 activity-based tasks, designed and selected by a transdisciplinary team of educators, parents, engineers, doctors, designers, social workers, and students. 

 

Most of these tasks were conducted and tested in both physical and digital settings with children across demographics and learning styles.

 

The tasks covered a range of themes that are

often overlooked in our learning spaces such as

the self and identity, understanding public services, the natural world, etc. They were designed to have close to little inputs in terms of materials and resources, making them more accessible

and inclusive. 

The deck was tested with - 

1. In person: Sadhana Learners Collective, an alternate school in Mumbai with more than 25 students.

2. In a virtual setting: 700 students from different cities, schools and backgrounds.

2. Learning Experts

3. Mothers

100 Tasks was tested both physically and virtually, amongst a diverse set of students 

OUR APPROACH

Throughout the process, we embraced the iterative design process of quick prototyping, testing, and modifying. A low-fidelity approach allowed us to detach ourselves from the product and really serve our users. 

Our prototypes also became a tool of connection between us and our community. The physicality and visible evolution of the product led to trust-building between us. Our direct users and stakeholders could see their feedback being taken into consideration and being inputted into the product. This also eventually helped us create more buy-in for the product and helped us network.

There were numerous challenges and moments of AHA! during the process, below are 3 challenges and strategies that were central in shaping 100 tasks.

CHALLENGE 1

CREATING LEARNER'S AGENCY

 

Children learn best and produce

unique outcomes when they lead their own learning.

The Indian education system currently relies on

rote-learning and formal examinations. Guides are often used to a hierarchal structure of leading the child's learning and sometimes this shows up as

over-instructing, limiting the child's curiosity

and exploratory instincts.

STRATEGY:

We designed the card to have an open instructional structure. This meant keeping the instructions loose enough for the child to find their way through the task by stumbling and exploring and tight enough to give the guide structure to facilitate it.

The intent of this process was highlighted in the guide for a guide with clear instructions for the facilitator.

Image 1: An example of the activity card, with loosely written instructions.

Image 2: A page from 'a guide for a guide'  highlighting the intentionality behind our strategy.

CHALLENGE 2

ENABLING REFLECTIVE PRACTICES 

Reflective practices are not a part of the Indian education system currently and need to be introduced to children in an engaging manner. 

Children often associated worksheets or journalling to homework, losing interest in the process. We aimed to make this process thoughtful, fluid and less academic.

Numerous times, while testing these cards, we noticed that the guides did not follow through the 3 stages of the tasks - do, reflect and share. The process often stopped at the making stage.

STRATEGY:

We designed a set of 10 reflection prompts that were open enough to be applied to all tasks. The open structure allowed children to reflect on the same question in different capacities, based on their own skills. The goal was for these 10 to serve as starting points for guides to build on.

 

A critical component of this process was giving time and space to children to engage in reflection but also aiding them in developing language around reflection.

 

We hence curated different methods of

sharing that would enable children to learn from each other while also developing language around feelings and learnings in a reflective way. Having developed language around this, they could then transition to journalling in a later stage.

 

To enforce the importance of these three steps, we leveraged the principle of 'repetition for remembrance.' These 3 words: do, reflect & share were added to the front of the activity cards and added to the back as well, under process to highlight that the process is composed of three steps. They were also highlighted multiple times in the guide for

a guide. This helped guides remember the 3 step process.

Image 1:  A page from ' a guide for a guide' highlighting four of the ten reflection prompts.

Image 2:  A page from ' a guide for a guide' highlighting two sharing techniques.

Image 3:  Modified card design with make + reflect + share written beneath the title on the front side.

Image 4:  Modified card design with make, reflect and share as pointers under 'process' to indicate that the process requires the completion of all the three steps.

CHALLENGE 3

GUIDES ARE UNIQUE TOO

Just as we had acknowledged that each child is unique, we had dismissed the uniqueness within each guide and within each learning space.

A generalised guide did not take into account the different types of guides, the learning spaces that they are a part of, the number of children, their experiences with facilitation, language barriers and much more. It was also rigid as it offered only one way of doing things, leading to guides not finding it supporting.

STRATEGY:

Based on insights from our research, we designed the guide for a guide to have 2 approaches: the messy muddle and the clean slate approach. Most guides fell into either of these, and could switch as per situationally. Detailed instructions were offered within the guide to follow each approach.

The guide was kept to the point and not over-instructed either, keeping in mind the innate wisdom of the guide. 

What came out of these was truly unique approaches that the guide tailored to themselves to meet their own needs, backed by the structure of one of the two approaches.

Image 1:  A page from ' a guide for a guide' highlighting four of the ten reflection prompts.

Image 2:  A page from ' a guide for a guide' highlighting two sharing techniques.

REFLECTION AND WAY FORWARD 

We had a fairly successful pilot with children and guides, who we continue to hold close ties with. It has been an endearing journey to learn while facilitate learning for others.

Our next steps are to take these insights and complete the next 60 tasks, followed up with another round of testing and evaluation.

Having a ready to go into production base set, we intend to expand this to be more inclusive to regional languages and formats.

 

Overview of how 100 tasks works

   

 

THANK YOU!

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