Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a proven method that enables students to actively explore real-world problems - and Couragion had a problem to solve. We needed to get initial feedback about our new product from people who would engage in truth-telling (in other words not friends and family). Our goal was to use PBL to expose the STEM students to our real world software design and development process whereby they got to be the clients. Over 120 individuals at Skyline High School participated in user acceptance testing which allowed them to learn by doing in a student-driven manner. And we were in the classroom to facilitate and observe their progress first hand. Their challenge was to provide constructive input on what worked and what could work better - all the while engaging in their own career exploration and self-discovery process of identifying "best fit" careers.
We received thoughtful and insightful feedback from the students throughout the process. At the end of the beta, the challenge shifted. We asked the students to put on their product manager hats and gave them each some R&D budget to spend. The process gave everyone a voice. They had the opportunity to spend their investment on the product enhancements or product line extensions of their choice. You can read more about the initiative on the St. Vrain Valley Schools STEM blog.
The feedback we received was incredibly encouraging and helped us to improve the usability and effectiveness of our app. We've taken the past few months to focus on performance improvements and development of those product enhancements which were most highly prioritized. Special thanks to teachers, counselors, and students of Skyline High School for their ongoing support of Couragion!