I am currently in the research stage of a project for the Learner Experience Design class taught by Stacie Rohrbach. We are learning strategies for understanding and designing learning experiences as we develop our own within a topic area of choice. My group has been working on sustainable food systems.

As pictured in the photo above, we began by writing on sticky notes every question we had related to the topic. We then grouped those questions into categories and started to work out the Who What Where When Why of a learning experience focused on sustainability in food systems. We decided to focus on freshmen at CMU, as they are in a pivotal point in their life- the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at personal habits and explore new ones. 
We then sharpened our focus onto one learning goal: Teach Freshmen to Care for the Earth Through the Foods They Eat
We have been looking at our subject through the lens of different frameworks. We have identified key stakeholders and hypothesized their hopes and fears. We have looked at the current state of understanding for our stakeholders and their ideal future state. For instance, freshmen currently lack resources to learn cooking skills like maintained dormitory kitchens, but an ideal state would give them access to such facilities. We discussed how we might bridge those gaps, like by offering cooking classes to freshmen in central facilities. Then, we looked at the flow of learning about sustainable food habits through the 4MAT learning cycle. It begins by communicating the reason for learning at all, followed by the content, then putting the content into practice, and finally imagining where to go from there. We went through two cycles of this, exploring the flow of core concepts, then imagining how we might design real learning experiences in each part of the cycle.
Then we moved on to the stage of active research. This stage helped us so much to challenge the assumptions we inevitably carried into our research. We  interviewed freshmen, Dining Services, and Residential Education staff about food sustainability. We had some really interesting conversations. We also set up a cultural probe for the freshmen to interact with, giving us a much broader qualitative understanding of their mentalities.
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