Baking a Good Online Course with Dr. Breanne Litts

Dr. Breanne Litts is an explorer at heart. You can find her either in the great outdoors going on wilderness adventures, or in the classroom investigating the way people learn best. Breanne started and runs the LED Lab to investigate how people learn through making, designing, and producing in diverse cultural and community contexts. Her students love the sense of community they find through the LED Lab and the support she provides them to pursue their own projects. Since coming to USU, Breanne has received six awards for her mentorship and teaching.

In this episode, Breanne and Wyatt go into the designer-learner perspective of solving people’s interaction with products. As a designer, and as an instructor, there is a responsibility to shift focus on the learner and their needs. As a designer, you may catch yourself solving the wrong problems, or looking at a problem in the wrong way because there is a lack of human-centered design –looking into the perspective of how the consumer learns through your product or service.

Looking further into human-centered designs, they discuss the need to invite those who will be interacting with your services into the design process and allows them to have some agency over their experience. Some examples they look into are Google vs. Apple and how their approaches effect the human experience. Google allows users to ease into the human interface as new updates come in. On the other hand, Apple “forces” operating systems, taking away the various ways users could efficiently interact with their interface.

How does this relate to learning in the classroom? Working in multi-sector, interdisciplinary research and design teams, Breanne focuses on how we can use technology to bring people from multiple disciplines and backgrounds, together in new, productive ways, especially in cross-cultural contexts. Technology isn’t just a PowerPoint or an iPad, but a pencil and paper as well. It is important to adjust the learning-environment for the student’s success, through technology and feedback. Through human-centered design, Breanne raises the question what can we learn about learning? What does this tell us about what’s possible in this designed environment we created?

This podcast also goes through adjusting work environments for crisis, humanizing people, forcing people to see the desire of connecting with other people, learning how to connect with technology, and highlighting areas experiences we can’t replicate with out in-person interaction.

Written by Ari Romo