Case Example

Learning through Co-design: How Students and Educators Created a Digital Solution to Program Challenges

Jerelyn Rodriguez and Stephany Garcia - The Knowledge House

This case example shares how students and educators at The Knowledge House collaboratively designed a technology platform, called the “Leaderboard”, aimed at addressing program retention challenges. It highlights how youth were involved at various stages of the design process.



In 2016, The Knowledge House, a tech startup, nonprofit hybrid whose goal is to empower and sustain a technology talent pipeline in the South Bronx, began designing the Leaderboard, a gamified key performance tracking system that encourages a friendly competition and fosters self-accountability for students. The Leaderboard was designed to increase student engagement, supporting individualized learning and utilizing gamification. For a test group of 80 students, the Leaderboard increased attendance and graduation rates by 25% and 36%. These students also identified as “bright spots” for improving their social-emotional learning skills like Academic Behaviors, Interpersonal Skills, and Self-Advocacy, in a 2016-17 analysis by the Research Alliance for NYC Schools.

In the video below, Stephany Garcia from The Knowledge House provides an overview of the Leaderboard’s design, from an initial change idea to more advanced iterations. She shares tips for how other informal learning organizations can replicate the process of co-designing a digital tool with students. You can access a PDF of the slide deck here.

Additionally, the Leaderboard walkthrough provides a detailed demo of the first iteration of the leaderboard. You can access the a PDF of the walk-through slide-deck here.

Together, both presentations illustrate how informal learning organizations can collaborate with the populations they serve to create solutions that are user-informed and user-focused.

TKH’s Process of Co-Design

Walkthrough of the TKH Leaderboard