We immediately started interviewing teachers across the country. These first-hand sessions not only validated our assumptions but also gave us specific insight into the challenges teachers were facing. After interviewing educators, we uncovered these key insights:
These insights led us to two central questions:
We focused on aspects of social-emotional learning in order to get learners engaged in the new online classroom environment.
Our research served as the catalyst for a 2-week design sprint, where we iterated on a number of concepts to help teachers engage their classrooms. We ideated on concepts that were not only relevant for digital learning, but also could be used in hybrid and in-person learning models.
The design process followed the IDEO Design Sprint methodology. During the first week, we ran interviews both externally with teachers, administrators, parents and students and internally with Khan Academy stakeholders from Learning Science, Product Management and Marketing. We also conducted design exercises, from storyboarding to creative mash-ups, that allowed us to diverge and then converge on ideas. Taking our artifacts as inputs, we collaboratively came up with the concept of Refresh. The experience was initially conceived of as a slide-deck prototype, which we then used to validate with teachers. Our qualitative feedback was positive; teachers felt that having an experience that allowed them to get their class warmed up, cooled down or just reset would have a positive impact on learning outcomes.
The slide view of a prompt for when teachers want a random prompt.
The list view for when teachers want to scan through and find the right prompt.
Khan Academy Refresh was released right before the start of the school year in August. Its reception has been positive, and teachers all over the country have been eager to use it in their classrooms:
I LOVE THE REFRESH IDEAS!! Lovely backgrounds and fun ideas! My burnt out brain needs these as much as the kids do! Thanks!
A friend of mine, just called me frantically. She needed a unique prompt to use with a student. Without hesitation, I said check out Khan Academy Refresh. Within seconds she did, said thank you and bye.
The team and I hope to develop Refresh further and allow for teachers to submit their own contributions and share how their classrooms have interpreted the exercises included. Refresh can be experienced at refresh.khanacademy.org