Exponential Learning

Category: Learner Supports

Form Technology-Enabled Prototype

Project Description:

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.

Research Insights:

Through our exploratory research, we identified several key pain points, behaviours and attitudes that post-secondary students experienced during their processes 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. Therefore, our solution addresses: How might we facilitate students’ informal exponential learning experiences? So that we can make the information they seek and already share, open for all students to learn from and contribute to.

Research Methods:

We used exploratory research to understand over 20 post-secondary students’ experiences to complete coursework, and then evaluative research to test how they perceived potential solutions created to address their journeys.

Co-Creation Session:

We recruited participants to explore and map their experiences before, during and after work. After, they formed groups to rapidly prototype solutions to solve their assignment pain points (results).

Journey Mapping:

We individually interviewed students who shared their assignment journeys. They explored the steps taken to complete them and their reasoning behind them (results).

Prototype Testing:

We gathered key insights from exploratory research to brainstorm solution ideas. Students interacted with our prototypes to evaluate whether they would fit and address their experiences to complete work (results).


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 inform their assignments.

Prototype Goals:

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

Project Materials:

  1. Prototype Report


Anne Filion, Eric Chung, Danielle Cruz