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Exponential Learning


How many courses use the same assignments year after year, requiring students to do the exact same work over and over? How many assignments have you done that were looked at once, then never again? How often have you felt like you were working just to get a grade, instead of doing something of value?

This project tackles the issue of meaningless work, by exploring new ways to make sure everything they do has value. Instead of “throwing away” the work of students, Exponential Learning captures it and makes it available to other students. Then, when students do an assignment, they build on all this previous work and do something new that future students will be able to use. This will make assignments more meaningful and useful, which will increase engagement and expand our collective knowledge on every topic.

This project seeks to better support all students by addressing this question: How might we facilitate students’ informal learning experiences so that we can make the information they seek and already share, open for all students to learn from and contribute to?


Through exploratory research, several key pain points were identified, such as behaviours and attitudes that post-secondary students experienced during their process to complete assignments.

Students seek feedback from their course network and will look to other informal resources (e.g.friends) for validation if they don’t receive it from professors or course peers throughout their assignments. They already practice their own form of exponential learning by continuously consulting others to build their knowledge.

Exploratory research was conducted to understand students’ experience with completing course work:

  1. Co-Creation Session: Participants were recruited to explore and map experiences before, during and after work. After, they formed groups to rapidly prototype solutions to solve their assignment pain points (results).
  2. Journey Mapping: Students were individually interviewed to better understand the collective learner assignment journey (results).
  3. Prototype Testing: Insights were garnered from the exploratory research; students interacted with project prototypes and evaluated whether the solution would solve the design challenge (results).


Currently, this project remains dormant. The eCampusOntario SXD Lab is seeking expressions of interest from post-secondary partners who would like to adopt, adapt and develop the prototype below. 


Quilt is a community-based, digital platform that allows students to co-create open educational resources together. It addresses the key insights of students struggling to find relevant resources, collaborators and feedback by bridging together content with the collaboration that students already informally practice. Quilt currently focuses on notes, as students already create and share them with their peers to learn and support their assignments.

Prototype Goals:

  1. The mission is to use student work in the classroom to create an open learning community.
  2. The vision is of a world where students act as creators and take ownership of their education. 


Anne Filion, Eric Chung, Danielle Cruz

Category: Learner Supports

Form: Technology-Enabled Prototype


Prototype Report