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How might we …? The Lab’s Top 25 design challenges

A “design challenge” is often how the Education Design Lab works on an equity barrier or challenge for New Majority (L)earners. We co-create — with partners — a disciplined, time-limited exploration and testing laboratory across stakeholders, with a focus on the (l)earner needs to find new approaches to the barrier or challenge? Here are the Lab’s major initiatives through the years.


1. How might we capture and credential learning outside the classroom in ways that will be meaningful to employers?

2. How might we support veterans to be competitive for high-wage cybersecurity careers?

3. How might we build a meaningful apprenticeship into the bachelor’s degree?

4. How might we build human-centered innovation leadership capacity at colleges and universities?

5. How might the federal government support new majority learners in a world where the degree is being “unbundled?”


6. How might we foster peer-to-peer connection among our online learners to drive satisfaction, learning and retention rates?

7. How might growth-oriented public universities adopt adaptive operating models that harness advances in teaching and learning to graduate more students of color?

8. How might we create visible, flexible, affordable, alternative academic and training pathways within the DC hospitality industry?

9. How might we redesign our college’s structures and practices to foster a culture of innovation toward systemic change?


10. How might we design a seamless transfer pathway between two- and four-year colleges to foster retention and completion?

11. How might UNCF institutions provide intentional and sustainable pathways to build 21st century competencies and help all our graduates find meaningful employment in their desired career field?

12. How might we test demand and viability for a low-cost, experiential Catholic University degree to serve LatinX populations in the Southwest?

13. How might we demonstrate in different job markets that 21st century skill credentials have hiring value?

14. How might we develop and nurture the well-being of individual students by creating intentional college environments that support and reinforce thriving?

15. How might we reimagine general education as competency-based and tied to workforce skills?


16. How might community colleges dramatically improve completion rates for single mothers by intentionally addressing the unique needs of this population?

17. How might we design employer-driven, stackable pathways that can lead to a degree and prepare students for employment in the high-growth healthcare industry?

18. How might community colleges design equitable and accessible micro-pathways and credentials toward high-growth careers endorsed by employers and visible to learners?

19. How might we strengthen the capacity of rural community colleges to serve as critical economic growth engines for their learners and communities?

20. How might we validate and credential existing skills to make (l)earners more visible in the talent marketplace?

21. How might we create more efficient ways for learners/education consumers to understand the skills they need, acquire those skills, and signal those skills to employers?

22. How might Goodwill International take a holistic approach to catalyze sustainable and visible earnings pathways with the people it employs and serves?

23. How might Best Buy broaden its post-secondary education strategy leveraging its community assets?

24. How might we most flexibly inspire and serve more learners to help them understand their skills-based and transdisciplinary journey and position them for success across the changing and dynamic world of work?

25. How might we strengthen and evolve our leadership role as institutional leaders to better drive regional ecosystem alignment?