Academic Personal Project

UI/UX, Social innovation


12 weeks

flip is a 12-week academic project in which I brought up the topic of "the future of public sourced learning" for discussion and dreamed of a more accessible and powerful educational system for all active learners.

Symbol of knowledge

This card is a symbol of knowledge. The number in this picture indirectly represents what the user has learned inside the system. The credits users earned from helping and coaching each other will transform into virtual currency that enables the further purchase of other learning activities. Users in the low-tech scenario can also use this card to make in-person transactions with organizations and their peers.

​I was inspired by the bus ticket when I worked on designing an interaction that enables users to "trade knowledge." 

How the system works

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The challenges we are facing

Education inequity has long been a severe challenge and COVID-19 exacerbated the situation. It lifted the technological barriers, making it less accessible for many people. 

While MOOCs, remote learning, and home learning are the macro-trends in the 21st century, there are still lots of pain points in them. COVID-19 helps bring those pain points on the table.

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What if 

What if people can also have a high education without paying so much money?

What if people can trade knowledge with knowledge instead of money?

What if there is a platform that enables people from different backgrounds to build a learning team?

What if GPA is not the most important qualification for a job application?

What if the local library can become a true public learning palace?

What if the local library can provide learners with spaces and resources so they can have a more comprehensive and practical experience?

What if the educational virtual currency can become a realizable wealth for stakeholders?

What if students can interact and communicate with their peer coaches or teachers in real time?

What if we can design an incentive system that immediately rewards the users when they achieve a milestone or finish a service? What if we can design a symbol that gives users sustaining motivation? 

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1. Holistic System
2. Virtual Currency - The Fuel
3. Optimizing Libraries' Resouces

I spent most of my time conceiving a holistic system that can address most of my "What If" questions and remain feasible, viable, and desirable for both target users and stakeholders. Since the system should be inclusive and accessible for everyone regardless of income, I started with the concept of "knowledge trade" and expanded my ideas around it. 

The first decision happened when I was brainstorming about attracting and maintaining experts to continue teaching in the system. Virtual currency happened to be a very medium to fuel the system - people gain the currency by providing services or recharging with money, and they use it to purchase courses, services, and products within the system.

The second most important decision I made is to involve the public libraries in the system so they can provide essential resources for people who need those to join our community. After several interviews with librarians from LAPLs, I found that resources such as computers, 3d printers, and printers are under-utilized, and there are plenty of white spaces in some large libraries. It's a good opportunity to optimize those resources and to benefit the people who need them the most.

Thinking through the flow
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STEEPX Research
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1. Connected Learning
2. Education Inequity
3. Education 4.0

The original form of connected learning is peer coaching. It's more about connecting people than internet technology. There are several extended topics such as social media education, MOOCs, individualized learning, and human connections in the remote learning experience.

COVID-19 exacerbates inequity in education. Low-income families, homeless people, and families from some third-world countries can't afford to buy a laptop for school. If remote learning was the trend, how will those people receive an education in the future?

This is the desired approach to learning that aligns itself with the emerging 4th industrial revolution, which focuses on smart technology, biotech, AI, robotics, and all of which now impact our life. Soft skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are the primary focuses in this education model.

4. Lifelong learning
5. Knowledge-Intensive Economy
6. Cultural Diversity

Continued skill gain is becoming a macro trend in the working environment. 44% of employees globally want a learning budget at work to spend.

The key component of a Knowledge-Intensive economy is a greater reliance on intellectual capabilities than on physical inputs and natural resources.

The classroom is becoming more and more diversified in terms of student's cultural backgrounds. Schools should adopt a new educational approach to celebrate this diversity and improve cultural communication.

Market Research
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Lack of intrinsic motivation
Lack of interactions and collaboration
Lack of personalization

What's the motivation for me to learn? Am I learning for promotion, innovation, or interest? Most of us lost passion along the way.

Interaction and collaboration are essential in learning. However, students are listening to a recorded video most of the time. 

Frustrating schedules; learning outcomes are not aligned with the personal goals; Very few Q&A sessions...