Interview with Keren Wong @ BEAM (2) 采访学愿桥的黄可仁 (2)

The session may have finished but here is the second part of an interesting interview with an interesting Designer 🙂

Following on from our popular convergence sessions during the live Teachers as Designers course, Keren Wong from BEAM (Bridging Education and Mobility) shares with us her introduction to Design Thinking and how she has applied it in her own work context.

This is Part Two of a two part interview. Chinese translation by Nancy Li.




3) When were you introduced to Learning Design/Design Thinking? 你什么时候开始接触教学设计,或者说设计思考的呢?

In 2014, BEAM had the great privilege of participating in the first cohort of the Aha School of Social Innovation’s accelerator (WeChat: AhaSchool), co-founded by a Shanghai-based couple, Mr. GU Yuan and Ms. ZHOU Xian.  That was my first meaningful exposure to Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodology. Funnily enough, it was all in Mandarin and in the context of designing rural education programming. To kick things off, we spent an intense weekend running through a translated and the Running Lean curriculum. We were given a chance to practice the tools on our own case studies. And then, throughout the year, our mentors traveled with us for individual site visits/product-testing trips, checked in for progress, ran mid-term skills-based workshops and monthly content discussions for the cohort.

They patiently stood by us for crisis management, coached us for competitions, and ultimately, let us learn from simply running (and often falling) with the methodology.

2014年,学愿桥有幸成为第一批参与Aha社会创新学院的机构之一。Aha社会创新学院(微信号:AhaSchool)是由一对上海夫妇顾远老师和周 贤老师共同创立的。那是我第一次近距离地接触设计思考和精益创业方法论。有趣的是,这些都是中文,而且也全是关于设计乡村教育项目的。所以为了学习这些课 题,我们翻阅了翻译版本的斯坦福d.school和《精益创业实战》的所有课程,度过了极其紧张的一个周末。而我们也得到了在自己的案例中练习这些技巧和 工具的机会。然后,在一年的时间里,我们的导师和我们一起实地考察,测试产品,为了之后的进步而记录数据,开展中期技能研讨会,每个月还会就内容和其他人 进行讨论。他们耐心地教我们危机管理,告诉我们如何在竞争中生存,直到最后,让我们从简单的应用(及通常失败)中学会这一套方法。

However, for those who can read/understand English, I often just point them to the website, which is wonderful in how they share the content in an open and easy to understand way.


Customer Journey Map 1

4) How have you applied it in your context? Do you have any examples of successfully implementing the Learning Design cycle? 你是怎么在实践中应用这些方法的呢?你能举一些成功应用了教学设计方法的例子吗?

As a Chinese person who was born overseas, I’ve been particularly sensitive in being able to identify an appropriate role for myself; that is,

I’ve been wary of projecting needs and solutions onto users, as “outsiders” have historically been well known for.

In addition, as we operate in the social-impact sphere,

consciously utilizing design-thinking methodology reminds us to first and foremost, humbly listen to our users before we start drawing assumptions about what rural teachers may or may not need.

作为一名海外出生的华裔,我一直都能为我自己确立一个合适的身份;换句话说,我会谨慎地确认用户的需求并为他们提供解决方案,就像“局外人”常常做的那 样。另外,因为我们是属于社会企业,所以有意地运用设计思考方法会时刻提醒我们:先放下面子认真地听取我们用户的反馈,再预想乡村教师可能的需求,这对我 们来说不仅是第一件要做的事情,更是十分重要的事情。

Some of my favorite tools to use are the Customer Journey Map (which I’ve blogged about how we’ve used here) and the Empathy Map.  Especially if you’ve already gone through a few ideas, the Empathy Map is often simultaneously the most helpful and most painful tool to revamp.

It forces you to see everyday life from the perspective of your users on a very detailed level. Oftentimes, you have to re-evaluate assumptions about their behavior.

我最喜欢的一些工具和技巧有客户旅程地图(我曾就我们在这里如何运用这一技巧写过博客),和移情图。移情图,尤其是对那些已经了解过一些要点的人来说,是 最有用的,但是同时也是最难以更新的。它逼迫着你站在用户的立场上,来具体地看待每天的生活。你还得经常重新审视你对客户行为的预测。

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When we first started using the Empathy Map, it revealed what times and in what places our teachers were on their mobile phones, connected to Wi-Fi.  We learned that while many teachers technically qualified as Tencent WeChat users, a sizable proportion checked their accounts only once every 2-3 days and still primarily used Tencent QQ to connect with peers, read articles, and even generate their own content via the QZone blog feature. By scrolling through their social media feeds to identify what teachers “saw” and “heard,” we were able to check if and how teachers were already using their peer networks to access or share education-related resources.  From the same source,

we were also able to better understand what aspirations or worries teachers needed to address on a daily basis (“thinking” and “feeling”).

On a very high level, we took into account how many teachers had simply leapfrogged desktop for mobile, and actually living a mobile lifestyle. This was manifested in how a lot of social activity would simply drop toward the end of the month as teachers ran short on data.

我们第一次使用移情图时,它向我们展示了用户是在什么时间和地点使用手机连接无线网络。我们发现,虽然从技术上来说,许多老师都是微信的用户,但相当一部 分的用户每隔一到两天才登一次微信账号,而且他们中的大部分都还是会使用QQ与同事交流,阅读文章,甚至会使用QQ空间发布状态,而不是微信朋友圈。查看 老师们的社交网络状态,看看老师们都“听到”“看到”些什么;以这种方式我们能够推断老师是否会使用或者是怎样使用社交网络来分享教育相关资源。同样地, 我们每天都能更好地了解到老师的愿望和希望解决的问题(即“思考”和“感受”)。从更高的层面来说,我们同样考虑过了有多少老师能略过电脑而使用手机,并 真正有移动手机生活方式这个问题。这也就解释了为什么到了月底,随着老师数据的缺乏,社交活动率也会下降。

Based on information gathered from the Empathy and Customer Journey Maps, we made detailed internal decisions about when and how to contact teachers, as well as when and how to run our online activities. This information also impacted more macro decisions, such as signing up for the early release of Tencent QQ Public account.


As you can guess, we’re pretty obsessed with user feedback. As we say, “GOOB!” (Get Out of the Building!)  We’ve also been studying and using measurement indicators that other discussion or forum products use to collect quantitative data on user participation.



5) What are your plans/projects for the future? 你有什么未来的计划或项目?

I’m really looking forward to this next semester. We’re really seeing a lot of our resources and supporters come together.


For instance, we just hosted an activity on the book, We‘re Going On A Bear Hunt. It demonstrated how to use dancing and singing in helping students interact with, and eventually better remember, material from any lesson. To achieve this, we worked with pedagogy experts to choose not only the book and targeted skill set, but also a great vendor to distribute the books to teachers, wonderful volunteers to help manage recording equipment, and more volunteers to read and perform the book for the video. I loved seeing the production come together and we’re so excited about how teachers have been responsive and sharing their feedback. Once we develop an operational framework that includes delivering the content and evaluating the output, I’ll be even more excited to see how this will scale.

比如,我们刚刚举办了一个关于《We’re Going On A Bear Hunt》这本绘本的活动。在活动中,我们向大家展示了如何利用歌舞与学生互动,并帮助他们更好地记住课程中的内容。为了达到这个效果,我们在启动活动之 前与教育专家们一起选择了书籍和通过书籍想要教授的技能,和一名供应商一起把书分发给老师,以及优秀的志愿者一起管理记录装置,为了录像效果,还和更多的 志愿者们一起朗读、演示。我特别欣赏这次的成果,而老师们的回复和反馈也让我们很兴奋。当我们建立了一个既能传播内容又能评估产出的机构框架时,我会更迫 不及待地看一看这些努力能够达到多大的规模。

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 09.33.37

About Keren Ruth Wong:

Keren Ruth rallies people around the vision of BEAM, both inside and out. She co-founded BEAM while studying international development at Tsinghua University in Beijing, surveying the rural/urban education
divide. She is most inspired when leaders disrupt industry and cultural borders to solve social issues. Keren Ruth completed her undergrad at Cornell and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community.




Image 1: Design Thinking (Source:

Image 2: Customer Journey Map (Source:

Image 3: Example Empathy Map (Source:

Image 4: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Source: 学院桥 wechat account)

Image 5: Keren Ruth Wong (Source:


*Teachers as Designers relies on project-based learning and follows on from a successful Hands on ICT (Information and Communications Technology) MOOC for educators interested in developing creativity techniques and approaches to integration of educational technologies inspired by learning design.


If you would like to participate in the next public Teachers as Designers session, or have a private session organised at your own institution, please email us at: teachersasdesignersevo at gmail dot com and one of us will get back to you. You can also use the contact form embedded in this website.

Interview with Keren Wong @ BEAM (2) 采访学愿桥的黄可仁 (2)
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