What is Their Lived Experience?
- Posted by Chris Flanagan
- On August 27, 2021
Introducing Today’s Student Experience Lab
Buckle up team! We are putting our student-centric glasses on for a fun and thought-provoking ride. We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Today’s Student Experience Lab in partnership with the Lumina Foundation. The Lab is aimed at helping Lumina and its partners gain deeper insights into the challenges and opportunities facing today’s students, especially adult learners of color. The project promises to lean into Lumina’s equity-first approach and engage students and stakeholders in a process built to bring the lived experiences to light through storytelling, appreciative inquiry, and participatory design.
We believe students’ voices
can should be instruments of meaningful, lasting change.
As Chris Flanagan always says, “We simply cannot design new solutions for today’s students without their own voices and lived experiences deeply embedded in the process.” At Kinetic Seeds we believe that no matter how long we have been doing this work, and no matter how tied we are to educational experiences in our past, personal or otherwise, we simply cannot assume that we know everything there is to know about the experiences of today’s students nor can we solely rely on quantitative data to understand it. The world is simply changing too fast, and only those living it, challenging it, failing or succeeding in it, can paint the absolute picture of it. And when something as personal, individual, emotional and often traumatizing as systemic racism is at the core of the challenges, we have to get it right.
Many ask how bringing a room filled with students, each with their own unique backgrounds, challenges, mental models and experiences can speak for the many who have their own unique experiences. Researchers can make the mistake of seeing the adult student of color as a monolith—solve for one and you solve for all. This couldn’t be further from the truth which is why this form of qualitative research can (and usually does) unearth the most profound and wide-reaching issues that get to the heart of the lived experience. And when students are further involved in the co-creation of solutions, funders, entrepreneurs, and higher ed leaders are more likely to bring pilot solutions to the table that are closer to the mark.
In addition to acquiring new insights, the Lab will also seek to:
- Describe an imagined future – namely, education for what?. We know we want change, but from a student perspective, what does that end goal truly look and feel like?
- Generate ideas and solutions that speak to the needs of today’s students. By bringing together all stakeholders in an inquiry-based approach to solution design, all can learn to understand the challenges and opportunities and create mutually beneficial solutions that are more sustainable over time.
- Spark insights that help shape public narratives. Deeper understanding of lived experiences coupled with quantitative data and facts can go a long way to creating mutual understanding which can translate into more robust conversation in education speak spaces.
- Inspire influential storytelling. Nothing is more powerful than a first-person account of a lived experience. Authentic, personal stories have a way of helping people connect, relate and ultimately take action.
Stay tuned as we begin to release findings over the coming year. And if you are interested in learning more or launching your own Experience Lab, contact our Chief Experience Officer Leigh Anne Cappello at firstname.lastname@example.org