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Designing for Learner Agency

Client: Griptape


What is the right type of learning experience for people who are reinventing learning?

Agency, a person’s sense of their own capacity to have influence, is a critical skill for young people to develop. Organizations working on learner agency are radically transforming what education can look and feel like, rethinking some of the elements that feel most fundamental: what is the role of the teacher? Where does learning happen? Who drives the experience?

Griptape is one such organization, putting young people in control of their own learning. Griptape invites youth to design their own Learning Challenges, providing grant funding, connection to other young people, and an adult champion. Griptape extends this youth-driven perspective to its own organization, with a youth leadership board and advisory board that contribute to Griptape’s direction.

So, when Griptape asked us to design a 9-month learning accelerator to bring together learner agency organizations and young people to learn from each other, to share ideas, and to create the space for collective problem-solving, we were challenged to unlearn many of the basics of a collective learning experience. 

We designed a set of experiences where the participants would drive, where big aspirational ideas were balanced by immediate actions, and where the distinction between young people and adults was dissolved.

The participants formed relationships, developed concrete ways to implement the themes that emerged in the sessions, brainstormed ways to measure learner agency and celebrated both the doing of the work and the outcomes of it.

Our mission is to use design to reduce structural inequity in America. Agncy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  © 2020 Agncy Design Inc. 
Boston, Massachusetts