Co-designing a learning platform in 5 days


YLab, a part of Foundation for Young Australians, connects like-minded young people (YLab Associates) to help them redesign the systems and processes that shape our world.

After piloting their educational program, YLab sought to improve the onboarding process for Associates joining the YLab Learning Program.

Usually, the team at YLab facilitate and run workshops with and for their clients. This time, they needed to be the focus. They wanted to find and design the solution through a quick, iterative process, and approached Portable to facilitate a five-day co-design sprint.


Portable ran a five-day sprint inspired by Google Ventures with a carefully selected cross-disciplinary team from YLab. Our goal was to successfully moderate the design sprint in a way that allowed YLab to align their strategic thinking, target areas of opportunity, and create the best possible digital solution for testing.

As facilitators, our role was to help YLab formulate their own ways to improve the onboarding process through a rapid design, prototyping and testing sprint. By removing other steps usually associated with product development, the YLab team were able to formulate and test their ideas without making any expensive and long term commitments.


Through group discussions, we began mapping the goals and desired outputs of this sprint. It was essential to align everyone towards a common goal. The YLab team arrived with an idea of the challenge they were looking to tackle; improving their onboarding platform for new Associates. The Portable team helped YLab to identify the areas that could be improved, and formulate a strategy to find a solution.


The sketch phase began with a comparative analysis of existing information about learning platforms, which was used to provide a foundation for the solution. We guided the YLab team to identify their desired outcome, and then the team members kicked off the design phase wit a rapid prototyping activity called ID8s.


Every idea was presented to the group by the team member who created it, which was then evaluated by the group. Each team member had to vote on their two favourite ideas. The winning idea was a learning assessment tool that would help determine the strengths and weaknesses of potential Associates, providing information to help with the customisation of their individual study paths. It was then storyboarded as a team.


The idea was solidified, so we guided the YLab team in their decisions for what they wanted the prototype to look like and how they wanted it to function. They created a learning platform that could be understood, delivered and used by testers. The short time frame meant the focus was on usability.


The app was tested by a small sample of potential associates during an interview process. User-testing helped to identify elements of the application that required further analysis, development and workshopping.


  • The learning assessment tool YLab prototyped was successful at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of associates and, therefore, is an appropriate learning program.
  • User testing provided valuable insights to inform the potential for ongoing development of the tool.
  • The process up-skilled the team at YLab, equipping them with the processes needed to document, test and validate ideas in the future.


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