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Design Workshop: Youths Solving Critical Real-world Problems One Course At A Time

The Design Workshop course has introduced students to a process to solve problems creatively through design thinking. Design thinking's core concept is human-centered design that involves five steps: empathy-building, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Through this concept, students have learned how to generate practical solutions to challenging problems in our society.

The Design Workshop course is one of the eight-week summer courses offered at Parami, taught by Dr. Romina de Jong, the Director of Academic Affairs at Parami University. The design challenge of this workshop is to create solutions for the challenges that youths in Myanmar are currently facing. During the final pitch, the The Elects team competed against three other teams, and was evaluated by five prominent judges with expertise in education, IT, human resources, and  entrepreneurship. 

At the Design Workshop final pitch, four design teams presented their final design solutions to the different design problem statements: 

  • The Nerds: How might we reduce the Mental Exhaustion of Matriculation students?
  • EDUcrew: How might we help private school teachers to create a well-engaged online class with their students during the Coup and COVID?
  • The Elects: How might we help fresh graduates affected by Coup and COVID to grab better job opportunities?
  • 4shadow: How might we make students feel engaged and motivated to study while they have a clear vision of their career path after university?

The The Elects team took the top place in the Design Workshop final pitch held virtually. 

“I didn’t expect to win this pitch. I feel happy and more confident to move forward as I believe this project can support our society,” said Aye Sandar, a member of the The Elects team, the winning team of the Design Workshop final pitch. 

Given the situation in Myanmar, many fresh graduates are struggling to find a job. Considering this challenge, the The Elects team came up with a design project called Employment for Fresh Graduates, aiming to help fresh graduates get jobs. The team will launch a website to share helpful job-search tips, volunteer/internship/job opportunities, career information sessions, workshops, and other career-related resources. 

“I interviewed some fresh graduates, and they shared that internship opportunities are available at the companies partnered with the university where they study. However, they usually don’t learn anything as they don’t get to do any practical stuff. Through our platform, we will provide information and skills that they need to find the right job. I hope to implement this project within this year,” Aye Sandar added. 

Upon the completion of this workshop, students have absorbed skills, knowledge, and design thinking concepts, which they can apply when solving a real-life problem. Aye Sandar shared that "the main thing I have learned from the design workshop is defining a problem. As we have many problems around us, I now know how to define the root of the problem. Also, I have learned to empathize. Whenever problems arise, we usually center ourselves on how we see the problems. Design thinking, however, has taught us how to center others and put ourselves in other people's place [when solving a problem].”

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