February 27, 2018

Creating More Effective, Efficient, and Equitable Education Policies with Human-Centered Design

By Jason Weeby

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Human-centered design is an approach to creating solutions for problems and opportunities through a focus on the needs, contexts, behaviors, and emotions of the people that the solutions will serve. For years, it has been used to create and re-create products, services, and experiences such as doors, hospital visits, and breast pumps. More recently, public agencies have begun to use human-centered design methods to define problems, generate solutions, and test them to improve the services that they deliver. Some governments have even created innovation offices that serve as in-house design consultants and train other employees to integrate human-centered approaches into their daily work.

Increasingly, designers and public leaders are beginning to apply human-centered design methods to the creation of public policies themselves. So what would it look like if human-centered design methods were applied to the creation of education policies? Can a process created for products and services in the private sector improve how education policies are created and implemented?

Creating More Effective, Efficient, and Equitable Education Policies with Human-Centered Design” makes the case that policy practitioners can use human-centered methods to create better education policies because they are informed by the people whose lives will be most affected by them.

Policy practitioners can use human-centered design methods to 1) articulate more accurate definitions of problems and more relevant solutions, 2) generate a wider variety of potential solutions leading to innovation, and 3) meaningfully involve constituents in the creation of rules and laws that affect them.

This report provides a brief overview of the evolution of human-centered design; catalogs examples of its use in the education sector; explores how its methods and processes might be added to the policy research toolkit; and outlines limitations, risks, and potential for next steps.

Download the full report here or read it in the viewer below.

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