Designers Of Learning

Authentic Engagement with Designers of Learning

Welcome to the Designers of Learning page for Mayfield 2023.

We invite you to use our card set for conversation prompts with peers, for active observation and engagement with your learners, and for creating action plans to shape your own learning environments.

Here we share with you our journey, in building a tool that assists designers and educators to shape learning environments. Through this, we aim to empower educators, and support learning experiences which embrace justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The prompt cards included in this tool provide a framework that can be adapted to unique learning contexts, allowing for the exploration of new and divergent ideas. By encouraging broader conversations considering all users of a teaching space, the cards facilitate a stronger collaborative approach when designing for learning.

Cards are supported by peer-reviewed literature and evidence, providing a solid foundation for the prompts and ideas presented. Additionally, the cards include “fun facts”and catalysers for further research and reading, providing opportunities for educators to deepen their understanding of important issues related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in education. With this set of cards, educators can empower themselves to design effective and engaging learning experiences in the absence of formal design consultation – and outside the limits of formal design projects.

Designers Of Learning

Authentic Engagement Toolkit

Click on the buttons below to use the cards online


The Tool

These cards are a versatile set of facts, conversation prompts and challenges.

Where applicable, they have tiered prompts for 5min questions, 10mins, and 10min+.

Try using them in your staff meetings, workshops, or just a casual chat while grabbing coffee!

And remember – each card is only as effective as the extent of knowledge gathered, attained and implemented. We strongly recommend following these up with reflections, and class activities or interviews to maximise the participatory aspect for better outcome!

Cards in Action – We’ve Tested Our Tools In The Field

School Workshop 1

“How do spaces promote learner agency?”

Precedents of different innovative learning environments were given to educators alongside a list of questions. Our workshop attendees found this to be quick and simple to organise and keep record. In response to these spatial prompts, main concerns raised were levels of noise, distraction, over-stimulation for students. Key desired aspects of a space for learners included comfort, ease of access and ability to record work, and for educators to have a line of sight to all students.

Design Workshop

“How can engagement & participation celebrate JEDI outcomes?”

Drawing from previous co-design sessions with students/educators, an engaging process and a positive lens were central to incorporating JEDI. All attendees advocated for tactile elements – post-it notes, printed materials, things to write on/sketch and shuffle around. Graphic prompts and colours were received well by students and educators alike. Distinctive headings, activity outlines and a workshop template helped in keeping record, as well as explaining and facilitation. Conversations, and a tiered format to gradually dive deeper, eased people into opening up and sharing stories.

School Workshop 2

“Test run for our card set”

The 4 distinct categories, playful graphics and easy to read font were very warmly received. Instantly our educators were attracted to these prompts, and found them very relatable to their everyday challenges and issues. The factual prompts – “Did You Know” – ignited discussions immediately, a much more engaging outcome than before! Teachers naturally begun comparing their answers and thoughts on spatial prompts – “Imagine You Are” series, which over time, can then inform and transform into design conversations.

Interested in the reasoning behind the Designers of Learning Tool from the Authentic Engagement Toolkit? Read below to find out more.

Our card set aim to be easily accessible, digestible and adaptable to various situations and users. Through listening, observing and reflecting, both designers and educators can gain valuable insights, helping to create more effective and engaging educational outcomes within both pedagogy and learning space.

There is a disconnection.

Collectively we are time poor, with constrained communication channels, and limited knowledge of each others’ realms. Additionally, the changing local demographics, research outcomes, and learner cohorts mean each of our situations can be different on a grounds-root level.

To assist this, our toolkit prompts and provokes discussion. Through these workshops, educators are able to tailor their very own action plans. This will help you to create your own learning experiences with autonomy, unique to the context of your learners and their backgrounds. More importantly, we’d like to offer strategies and develop your independent critical design-thinking skills for promoting inclusion and diversity.

Our tool is a set of cards for workshops, presentations and consultations alike. This provides a practical and accessible framework for designing effective and positive learner experiences. This website is a platform for sharing our work, as well as resources and insights into our process.

Through our participation in the Mayfield Project, a gap was evident between the designer’s intentions and the educational value being experienced by the learner. Often, a divide is created due to a lack of attention to social-cultural values (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion). This is critical in addressing a wider component of each learner’s educational experience and its outcomes.

Educators who design these learning experiences often lack the time and access to relevant design tools. Further, the influence of administrators and potential for information to be interpreted differently can additionally exacerbate this problem.

How can we create a user-friendly tool that is non-prescriptive, digestible, and adaptable?

What kind of device would engage you to re-evaluate your very own learning spaces, personas and think outside the box?

We’ve got you covered! Below are a list of resources which we found to be helpful, separated by topic:


Participatory Research – engagement and interaction really matters, and here’s why:

Participatory Action and Research. Organising Engagement.

On PAR – Using Participatory Action Research to Improve Early Intervention. Australian Government, Department of Social Services


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for educators – what is JEDI in this context?

The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. Adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality. Salamanca, Spain, 1994.

“The Role of Professionals in Promoting Diversity and Inclusiveness.” ISOTIS. Accessed May 4, 2023.

Teaching in Today’s Inclusive Classrooms. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2019.

“Educational Equity and the Classroom: Designing Learning Ready Spaces for All Students.” EDUCAUSE Review, May 14, 2018.

Hurtado “Linking Diversity and Educational Purpose: How Diversity Affects the Classroom Environment and Student Development.” ERIC. Accessed May 4, 2023.

Pang. Diversity and Equity in the Classroom. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Achinstein “Focusing new teachers on diversity and equity: Toward a knowledge base for mentors.” Teaching and Teacher Education. Accessed May 4, 2023.

The University of Arizona College of Humanities. “Classroom Dialogue Guide: Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom.” Accessed May 4, 2023.

“Toward Inclusive Learning Spaces: Physiological, Cognitive, and Cultural Inclusion and the Learning Space Rating System.” EDUCAUSE Review, February 10, 2020.


Neurodiversity – resources on our neurological differences:

Responding to Neurodiversity in the Education Context. Education Counts. 2018.

Mirfin-Veitch et. al. “Responding to Neurodiversity in the Education Context: An Integrative Literature Review.” Donald Beasley Institute. 2020

Neurodiversity Hub

Mahto et. al. A rising tide lifts all boats. Deloitte Insights. 2022


Ability Grouping and Mixed Ability Grouping – teaching methods and pedagogy:

PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed. OECD. 2019.

Rutherford. Ending Ability Grouping to Empower Māori Learners in Aotearoa New Zealand. Education International. 2022

Ability Grouping. Department of Education and Training, Victoria. 2016.


Universal Design and Inclusive Design Principles:

CAST. 2023. UDL Guidelines.

Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI). 2021. Universal Design for Learning (UDL).


Relationship Building:

Krone & Yu. Promoting Friendship Development in Inclusive Early Childhood Classrooms: A Literature Review. International journal of Early Childhood Special Education. 2019.

Nilholm. Research about Inclusive Education in 2020 – How Can We Improve Our Theories in Order to Change Practice? European Journal of Special Needs Education. Volume 36, 2021.

Unteach Racism. Teaching Council of Aotearo New Zealand. Unpacking Racism Module.