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MIT BLOSSOMS Project-Based Learning Units—User-Centered Design

Grade Level Grades 9-12

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MIT BLOSSOMS has a Project-Based Learning site with six in-depth lessons designed for high school teachers who want to give PBL a try, but are not sure just how to get started. Each BLOSSOMS PBL unit is developed to provide a teacher with all the resources and scaffolding needed to conduct a three to five-week classroom project. Every BLOSSOMS unit kicks off with a BLOSSOMS video lesson, thus providing the anchoring content and direction for a follow-on project. Teachers new to PBL will also find on this site many answers to questions they may have, as well as invaluable advice on how to successfully lead a PBL unit. While we understand that most teachers won’t be able to devote three weeks completely to a Project-Based Learning unit, the units provided here can be presented on non-consecutive days, for example, two days per week. It is our hope that these units will be valuable stepping stones as teachers grow in confidence about developing their own PBL units! We encourage teachers new to PBL to visit the following resource on this site: Teacher Questions on PBL. To take a Video Tour of this BLOSSOMS PBL site, click here.

User-Centered Design: Driving Question
How can we resolve problems in our community by employing the User-Centered Design process?

User-Centered Design: Big Idea
Students become User-Centered Designers in this Engineering-focused unit. We apply MIT D-Lab’s User Centered Design process and activities for teams to learn how to provide solutions for Users in their community. Teams will integrate the 4-stage User-Centered Design Process: Learn, Imagine, Create and Test.

During this one month project: 

Students will learn:

  • The User-Centered Design Process
  • Best practices for interviewing a user
  • Gathering and clearly interpreting data
  • COGS approach for framing questions
  • Building constructive reasons for user problems
  • Effective brainstorming
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Creating a process or prototype
  • Testing processes or prototypes

Students will be able to:

  • Work with, support and encourage team members
  • Build creative thinking through innovative activities
  • Interact professionally with community members while making a positive impact
  • Present with a wide audience to offer unique solutions for the community
  • Act in team roles that extend slightly beyond their comfort zone to learn new skills
  • Cultivate different thinking when encountering new problems without scripted answers

For all project materials, visit: https://blossoms.mit.edu/projects/user_centered_design

Resources

Videos
User-Centered Design: Creating Better Solutions for Global Challenges
Remote video URL

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