12 day Learning Express in Chiang Mai Report


This report details the March 2018 Learning Express Program ICT, KIT students participated in. Learning Express (LEX) is an international social innovation program lead by Singapore polytechnic, giving students an environment to properly execute and implement the method and process of design thinking (DT). Students from each country have to overcome language barriers, cultural differences and diverse life styles of their counterparts, to work together to find a problem and solve any issues to make life better for the homestay stakeholders. 

1. Introduction
Lecturers Akihiro Tsuda (ICT), Hidekazu Kanemitsu (KIT) and Hayato Ogawa (ICT) took part in the chaperoning and co facilitating 4 KIT students and 4 ICT students in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This year the Kanazawa students joined the new 12-day LEX program coordinated by Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna (RMUTL). The following report will explain the day-by-day activities of the March 2018 Learning Express Program. Looking into some of the challenges and obstacles, the students meet.


2. Day 1 arrival day
KIT and ICT students check into the RMUTL hotel and later in the evening Singapore students and facilitators join the Japanese students in the RMUTL hotel. The students directly go to their assigned room to rest for the next day.


3. Day 2 Orientation and DT training review 
Welcome speech is given by RMUTL and facilitator from each of the three universities where introduced to the students. Next, an Ice break session held by RMUTL facilitator helping the students to get to know each other and introducing foreign students to local cultural norms and taboos. Later the students divided into their homestay village groups and did a small ice break session again to familiarize each other and their language capabilities. Design thinking training is reviewed emphasizing observation and interview process, after the review the introduction of the project statement is announced to students for each homestay village. The most important part of this session was for the students to have a firm understanding of good interview process. Interview questions where made discussed and practiced by students while facilitators reminded students of distributing note taking, translating, speaking and listening tasks.


4. Day 3 to 5 homestay 
This the toughest stage physically for the LEX program where students go to the countryside of the host university to find a problem and start thinking of a feasible solution for the homestay community. The students have to work in full autonomy with facilitators stepping back and letting students work through their training, while managing time and keeping them focused. All three days the students are exploring their area of interest and interviewing key stakeholders who fit the project statement. 


5. Day 6 Ideation 
Ideation is the hardest stage mentally where students reassess the project statement, making sure the data they collected match with their problem statement. Creating a persona to represent the target demographic the stakeholder is trying to better the livelihood of or making the livelihood of the stakeholder himself or herself better. 


6. Day 7-8 Prototyping 
This is where the students will be physically creating the solution where the stakeholders and target demographic can visually see, physically try out and see the scale of the solution. Most of the engineering students do the best here especially language is not needed when creating a prototype, mostly sketching and good drawing skills.


7. Day 9 Co-creation
In this step of the program, the students bring the prototype they have created back to the stakeholders for input; on what is good and improvements for the final product. In addition, the prototype they produced is assessed to make sure the stakeholders are going to need or will be using.


8. Day 10 Gallery Walk
 The gallery walk is held at a large conference or meeting area where people from outside the project and the community can be presented with the material that has been produced. More input gained from this gallery walk to improve the prototype and to acquire more available concepts or solutions from different demographic of people. During the gallery walk, participants are given small items as counters to vote on each project for popularity, creativity and design.


9. Day 11 Cultural Immersion and closing ceremony
On this day, the votes are added up from the gallery walk, students are awarded on their hard work, and results of the gallery walk. Certificate of completion and exchange of gifts occurred during dinner while performing short showcases on sharing cultures from each other’s homelands. Lastly, the RMUTL chair and facilitators give the closing statement and students go back to the hotel for their last night’s stay.


10. Day 12 Checking out and departing
This is the last day of the program where everyone checks out of the hotel and returns to their home country. Here students realize they have to part with their new friends and go back to everyday life but have a connection with somebody in another part of the world. The students share the social media account user names and info in order to keep in touch during this time.


11. Conclusion
The students acquired a unique social and cultural experience on this trip and on May 29th they summed up their experiences and pictures onto a power point and presented to program sponsors and main contributors that supported them on this trip and program. The program has received a lot of praise and will be continuing into next generation of ICT students.


チェンマイでの12日間 ラーニング・エクスプレスレポート






2.1日目 到着

3.2日目 オリエンテーションおよびDTトレーニングの復習

4.3日目~5日目 ホームステイ

5.6日目 Ideation

6.7日目~8日目 プロトタイプ製作

7.9日目 共創活動

8.10日目 ギャラリーウォーク

9.11日目 文化没入とクロージング

10.12日目 チェックアウトと出発



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