Organic Learning

The Future of Digital Education

How might we rethink online education in 10 years time? How might we better connect learning outcomes to professional goals?


A dream team of design graduates decided to come together for competition hosted by D&AD and Pearson. The Brief was to to Identify an issue, challenge or opportunity presented by the global scale of education in 2027 and then to design a product, service or campaign to address it.


D&AD and Pearson Global


Spring 2017


- Experience Design,
- Storytelling
- Animation


Eloise Smith Foster,
Kokawe Wong-Pichet

The Research Process

WWe started out with a service-design mindset. Instead of thinking about the product, we first got to know our target users. We focused on people who were already in the workforce and were looking to upskill or retrain.
Through a series of interviews with 8 diverse learners, our qualitative data pointed in the direction of 2 different user groups:

The Guided Learner needs the service to transition to a new profession. They may feel anxious or overwhelmed by the size of the task and require a clearly defined learning goal, as well as step-by-step guidance on how to get there.
The Independent Learner is curious about new directions and opportunities. They are ready for new challenges and motivated to do what it takes to get the knowledge and experience they need to progress.

The starting point is personalised, and the road to success shifts and adapts along with the users. This is why we called the hypothetical platform “Pearson Organic Learning”.

The Service Journey

We used the method of storyboarding to brainstorm the steps of the learning service. We dubbed our user “Rob the Transitional”: a man in his 30ties that used to be a co-pilot. He lost his job when planes became autonomous and now must figure out how to re-skill. There are many questions he needs help answering, such as: what opportunities do I have given the skills I’ve already obtained? What should my goal be and how can I best get there? How do I motivate myself without any classmates or a teacher around?

1. The need for change

At first, Rob realizes that he has no choice but to re-skill. He’s still unsure how though, and the many unknowns cause him anxiety.

2. Knowing your options

Once the tree is chosen, it starts to grow “branches” and “leaves”- concrete steps he has to take in order to move forward. He is given access to a forum of learners climing the same tree as him.

3. Choosing a path

Once the tree is chosen, it starts to grow “branches” and “leaves”- concrete steps he must take to move forward. He is given access to a forum of learners climbing the same tree as him. They form his study group.

4. Working towards goals

Since Hassan still has a day job and he studies in the evenings, his process needs to be flexible. With each task he needs to complete, he can choose the format that suits him best.

“We were impressed by the user-centric perspective as well as the relatable style in this submission.”

- Rebecca Sinclair, Pearson

Person Organic Learning: The Commnercial

The final step was putting it all together in the form of a short advertisement. We convinced two of our friends to play the parts of our learners and wrote out their scripts based on the storyboards. We then spent a whole day filming, and another 3 in post-production and editing. We’re proud to say that Person equally liked our work, winning us the D&AD New Blood silver pencil award in London.

Impressions from the D&AD New blood award ceremony