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Melton Fellows Selected for Acumen Yearbook!

Melton Fellows Karla Araya and Pedro Poblete, along with Yefen Wang (a designer based in the Netherlands), have been included in +Acumen's 2016 yearbook for their participation in one of Acumen’s online courses! Pedro was the team lead and Karla was a collaborator in creating a Storytelling Cafe dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship.

Below are some reflections from Pedro and Karla about their experience. You can read the whole +Acumen’s 2016 yearbook here.

Congratulations to Pedro and Karla!

Pedro: Over 100,000 people took their courses last year, so being selected as a ‘success story’ is somewhat mind blowing for me. We did this course out of curiosity, without any expectations other than personal growth, yet, somehow, we were able to share our work with a broader audience, and bring some visibility for the Melton Foundation. One of my collaborators in this course, Karla Araya, was completely new to human-centered design. […] She actually went to participate in a design thinking workshop with MIT in Zambia shortly after we finished the course.

Karla: As MF fellows, curiosity makes our internal combustion engine work and drives us to keep learning, trying, and sailing in new seas. This topic was completely new for me, and it was interesting to discover along the way how useful it would be for the next steps in my life.

Pedro: I discovered +Acumen courses through IDEO.org and their course on human-centered design. I’ve always worked with communities and technology, and I wanted to learn a bit more from their approach. When I looked at the course I was extremely excited by the format designed by +Acumen: participatory, focusing in workgroups rather than presentations or videos, and developed in such a way that people that are new to the topic could participate. I contacted a few friends and convinced them to take the course with me. We created a very diverse group, with a designer, a psychologist, and a biotechnologist, two of us in Chile and one in the Netherlands.

Karla: Today, I’m leading two different projects: the first one is “InclusivApp” which promotes technological solutions based on the needs and validation of people with reduced mobility (wheelchair users, elderly people, pregnant women or baby carriage users, etc.). For this, a prototype of a mobile app will be developed jointly with the beneficiaries themselves. Here I’m using all that I learned from co-design methodologies when we worked in the D-Lab’s PIA Summit in Zambia. 

Pedro: I am a facilitator and technology designer, and having developed several trainings and workshops, both online and offline, I was inspired to see the effort placed into developing a learning experience that is accessible for anyone around the world. Most MOOCs replicate an “auditorium classroom” experience: an expert imparting knowledge to a room, with no regards to individual differences and stories, without promoting any critical thinking. What Acumen did in this course was very different, unique, and innovative, and it has made me redefine my understanding of what’s possible through e-learning.

Karla: My second project is an Enertech project thath aims to produce a solid biofuel or pellet by densifying an invasive weed from Chile as raw material. This is as a greener-and cheaper, fingers crossed-alternative to burning firewood, as we used to do in Temuco. For this initiative, our team will use human-centered design to place users at the center of innovation, to create the product that best fits their needs. One of my biggest takeaways from the course is that if you see a great way to approach your field of study in a non-traditional way, take the challenge!

Pedro: What this +Acumen course offered that no other MOOC ever did was the opportunity to work with two very different friends, introduce them to human-centered design, and allow ourselves to explore solutions for global problems.

 

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