💡 Challenge-based learning: Mini Hackathons

Tap into the creativity of your people as the highest form of learning. How?

Amanda Borealis is the L&D manager of a biotech company. She has set up a UX Research training for Product managers to acquire new skills and frameworks on how they can uplevel initial market research, user discovery and working with insights to ensure product growth success right from the beginning. Amanda asks a UX Research trainer to hold a 2-day training for product managers who signed up for this session. Following the training, she wants to provide room for participants to apply what they learned in creative projects in a fun way that is also applicable for her company.

Inspired by the idea of fostering creativity and collaboration, Amanda decides to incorporate a mini hackathon as the last 3,5 hours activity of the training.

Amanda collaborates with Superflow’s L&D Team in a call to customize the UX Research framework templates offered by Superflow. Together, they choose the following question as the main theme of the mini hackathon: "Where do you see our company excelling in terms of new products and services in 10 years from now?"

Following the UX Research training, participants join a brainstorming session on Superflow's platform, centered around the question of the company's future excellence in new products and services. The initial 20 minutes are dedicated to participants sharing their visionary topics and team project ideas, fostering a creative and open environment for exploration of new UX Research application areas.

Participants vote on the project ideas and provide comments anonymously to ensure inclusivity and engagement in an additional 10 minutes. This ensures the best way for teams to be formed.

With the voting and commenting phase concluded, AI technology comes into play. Highly voted project topics are instantly grouped together by AI, taking into account the participants who voted the highest for each topic and identifying shared matching ideas. This automated process ensures that teams are formed organically based on interest and expertise.

The newly formed teams embark on a 2-hour problem mapping journey within Superflow's platform on the templates they designed with Amanda and the trainer. Guided by facilitated UX Research framework canvases, participants work collaboratively in small teams to analyze and address the identified challenges. This dedicated time allows for in-depth exploration, ensuring that each team thoroughly investigates the problem space and potential solutions for the creative problem or solution area applying new skills and knowledge.

As the clock winds down, teams gather insights and develop their projects. In the final hour, they vote on each others’ projects to determine the top five teams to have the opportunity to present their project ideas to the senior executive management team.

Remarkably, all these activities, from the initial brainstorming session to the final presentations, are accomplished within the compact timeframe of 3.5 hours. The mini hackathon conducted on Superflow's platform facilitates efficient collaboration in a challenge-based learning format, harnessing the power of AI for seamless team formation and providing a structured environment for teams to learn by doing through the UX Research process.

Amanda Borealis witnesses the tremendous value derived from the mini hackathon. The product managers not only acquire new skills through the training but also gain hands-on experience in applying those skills to practical projects that have the potential to shape the company's future. The combination of project-based learning, collaborative problem-solving, and efficient time management empowers the product managers to contribute meaningfully to the company's growth and innovation endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How does the mini hackathon or a challenge-based learning format benefit managers?A1: The mini hackathon provides managers with a practical application of the skills and frameworks they learned during a training by facilitating creativity in a flow state. It allows them to collaborate, brainstorm, and work in teams to address real-world challenges applying the right skills. Through this hands-on experience, managers gain a deeper understanding of UX Research methodologies as well as experience it real life in team work, so they can apply them directly to their work, fostering innovation and enhancing their ability to contribute to the company's growth.

Q2: How does Superflow facilitate team formation during the mini hackathon?A2: Superflow employs AI technology to streamline the team formation process. After participants share their visionary topics and project ideas, the AI algorithm automatically groups highly voted topics together by clustering, taking into account voting scores on the 2-axis matrix as well as matching ideas. Team formation based on affinity and similarity of ideas shared ensures that teams are formed inclusively based on shared interests and complementary expertise, maximizing the potential for collaboration and productive outcomes.

Q3: Can you explain the timeline and structure of the mini hackathon?A3: The mini hackathon is flexible, it can last anywhere from 3 hours to 48 hours. In the above example, it is designed to be completed within a 3.5-hour timeframe. A mini-hackathon usually starts with a 20-minute brainstorming session where participants share visionary topics and team project ideas. This is followed by an additional 10 minutes for voting and commenting on the ideas. The AI then instantly groups highly voted topics to form teams. Teams then engage in a 2-hour problem mapping template, working simultaneously in small teams using facilitated UX Research framework canvases. In the final hour, teams vote on completed UX Research project topics, and the top five teams present their suggestions to the senior executive management team. This structured timeline ensures a focused and productive environment for generating innovative ideas and solutions.

Q4: What is challenge-based learning and how can I use it?

Challenge-based learning is an innovative educational approach that emphasizes real-world problem-solving and active engagement. It involves presenting learners with authentic challenges or problems to solve, encouraging them to apply their knowledge and skills in practical contexts.

To use challenge-based learning, you can follow these steps:

  1. Identify a Relevant Challenge: Choose a challenge that aligns with the learning goals and objectives you want to achieve. It should be meaningful and connected to real-life situations.
  2. Engage Learners: Introduce the challenge to learners and generate curiosity and interest. Encourage them to explore and understand the problem from various perspectives.
  3. Research and Investigation: Provide resources and opportunities for learners to conduct research, gather information, and analyze data related to the challenge. This step helps them develop a deeper understanding of the problem and potential solutions.
  4. Collaborative Problem-Solving: Encourage collaboration and teamwork among learners. Facilitate discussions, brainstorming sessions, and group activities that promote critical thinking, creativity, and collective problem-solving.
  5. Design Solutions: Guide learners in developing innovative solutions or strategies to address the challenge. Encourage them to think outside the box and consider multiple perspectives while designing their solutions.
  6. Implementation and Reflection: Support learners in implementing their solutions or prototypes in real or simulated contexts. Afterward, facilitate reflection activities to encourage learners to evaluate their work, analyze the outcomes, and identify lessons learned.
  7. Showcase and Evaluation: Provide opportunities for learners to showcase their solutions, whether through presentations, exhibitions, or demonstrations. Encourage feedback and evaluation from peers, mentors, or experts to promote continuous improvement.

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