How can we inspire personal transformation?
A case study of iteration for online tools and lessons
Completing a personal project is hard. You start off with an exciting idea, lots of motivation, and wonderful visions of success. But then you get stuck. Something doesn’t work out quite the way you planned, or the project starts to feel too complex and overwhelming.
This is exactly the problem we tackled at Experience Institute when we created Leap Kit, a set of tools for designing 90-day learning projects (see project page here). Hundreds of people around the world have used Leap Kit to plan and execute stunning projects, yet we’ve found that some folks using the kit on their own often have difficulty getting started without being part of a group or having fixed deadlines.
To help bring people together and help them feel more supported we started by creating Leap Kit Online: a Leap Kit slack channel and set of short "lessons" and examples. We found that these lessons were useful for showing how to use the kit, but they still weren't providing enough motivation for some people to start their leaps.
Our second iteration of Leap Kit online was to use the content from the kit to build a 12-week online course that participants would go through together, sequentially. Leap Course was launched in late August 2016 and is still in progress. Described below are some of the features of our two major iterations and what we learned from each.
UX and web design lead for Leap Kit Online
- Instructional design and UX design lead for Leap Course
Iteration 1: Leap Kit Online
Leap Kit Online was our first attempt to form an online community of "Leapers" and share tips and examples of how to get started easily. We designed and built a website on Wordpress and invited all Leap Kit customers to join the Leap Slack team.
Leap Kit Website
The site we created acts as a store and sales page for Leap Kit. It describes how the kit works and presents two Call to Action options: buy the kit, or sign up for access to free lessons.
Since our kickstarter campaign concluded we have continued to regularly sell Leap Kits to individuals and schools through this site.
Online Lessons & Example Videos
We created a short set of lessons showing tips to get started on your leap. Each lesson features a video of a Leaper showing how they used the Leap Kit at different points of the process.
The example videos were quite helpful for users not sure what to do. However, the videos didn't do much to build community with other leapers.
Leap Slack Team
We launched a Leap Slack team and invited everyone who bought the kit or backed the kickstarter campaign. We moderated it to encourage people to share progress along the way.
We had some really inspiring dialog happening in the first month but it has been difficult to maintain over time. Several leapers have shared fantastic project outcomes, but many others have dropped off the channel.
Iteration 2: Leap Course
From talking to users of Leap Kit and running Leap workshops with people in person we have found that users who gave themselves fixed deadlines and/or had a group of people going through the process with them were often much more successful than those who didn't. To address this we created a 12-week online course where participants go through each step together and regularly check in with each other to provide feedback and support.
"Dripped" Lessons every week
It's such a simple thing, but fixed deadlines really do help us complete tasks and projects. We set up regular lessons that were "dripped" or made available each week. You can't skip ahead, but must create a regular rhythm and stay at the same pace as the other participants in the course.
Each lesson consists of an intro video and several short readings and activities, all hosted in a learning management platform.
Class and cohort group calls
Face to face connection is so critical for the inward reflection required to pursue a meaningful project. In Leap Course we host large group video calls and smaller "cohort" calls for participants to meet the instructors, share their progress and responses to activities, and give and receive feedback.
integrated slack channels
Leap Course has its own Slack team, and for each milestone within the course we created a separate Slack channel for participants to share their progress and get feedback. The image on the left shows the start of the "Leap Statement" channel where participants are sharing initial ideas for what their leap will be.