In 2016 as part of its “Every Child Learning” initiative, Pearson partnered with Save the Children and the Jordanian Ministry of Education to improve educational outcomes for millions of Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanian children. For years, high drop-out rates had negatively affected childhood education, and so this multi-organization, multi-national initiative convened to begin addressing the problem through the development of an app-based education game called Space Hero.
A small team of designers at Pearson volunteered their limited time over the course of four core project phases: a journey mapping workshop, the discovery of fundamental questions and themes for the game experience, field research on the ground in Jordan, and finally the design of key moments for the game.
Throughout each project phase, the Pearson design team faced the challenge of continuing their day jobs while needing to produce deliverables under a tight timeline and with limited hours to devote. This meant collaborating asynchronously across their distributed team to collect, synthesize, and arrive at conclusions from an immense amount of ethnographic and game-design research, as well as the findings from their journey mapping workshop.
We needed more than a digital whiteboard. MURAL provided a structured way to keep the conversation going. Ultimately, we were able to generate, explore, and engage with more ideas than would otherwise be possible in a short period of time.
Without the luxury of meeting regularly in person, Jen and her distributed team worked together digitally and asynchronously, whenever each individual could find time. MURAL canvases, which they first began using in their journey mapping workshop, served as their digital workspaces. They were able to create their deliverables in a matter of weeks, a process that would have otherwise taken them months.
This solution proved particularly effective during the phase in which they explored early user flows, game design, and game structure in preparation for a scheduled field research trip where their work would need to be applied.
Exploring game structure and collecting feedback early on.
Leveraging MURAL as their digital workspace, the Pearson team led the project through the challenging (and sometimes messy) ideation, discovery, and design phases of the project with a lean, efficient approach.
They were able to digitize the entire journey mapping process and continue to collaborate around it as the project progressed. They collected and synthesized their research and ideas into a field research guide. They designed the math puzzles that formed the backbone of the game via storyboards and scripts in MURAL. And they collaborated with teams and other organizations across the globe when they couldn’t meet in person.
They successfully guided a complex, volunteer project involving numerous stakeholders from inception to delivery under a tight timeline.
Our team has found that we can work even more quickly and more efficiently now as a result of what we learned on the Space Hero project.
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