As of January 1, 2018, stewardship of Hive Chicago will transition from Mozilla to a new local non-profit, the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX). Hive Chicago will have a temporary home at the Chicago Community Trust until the transition to CLX is complete. The Hive is still the Hive. Read more here.

Transforming DiscoverDesign into an Open-Source Learning Lab

Relaunch as an open-source cooperative learning lab for design thinking and online mentorship.

CAF will transform into an open-source cooperative learning lab for design thinking and online mentorship through investments in: new content; diversified audiences; a more robust, flexible platform; and strategic partnerships.

Lead Organization:
Chicago Architecture Foundation

Partner Organizations:
ACE Mentor , DePaul University , Digital Youth Network , Caxy ,

Project Goal:
a. Enabling equitable access to Hive Programs? 500 characters.
CAF is committed to sharing the platform with the Hive Network. This project will also increase the visibility and accessibility of Hive programs by introducing new programs to youth through related achievements. Using achievements to level up in other programs increases the mobility of youth across Hive organizations. Digital achievements create an important point of access into Hive programs for Chicago teens who use but are not otherwise engaged in Hive.

b. Creating learning pathways? 500 characters.
Digital achievements will create learning pathways within that lead to outside opportunities such as access to special programs or internships. These pathways will engage students of younger ages who will be prepared for architecture, engineering, and design at the high school level. This partnership will also map pathways across the Hive by illustrating how youth discover and earn related badges from different programs.

c. Sparking and sustaining innovation? 500 characters.
This project demonstrates a new model of learning through multiple delivery methods: digital achievements link formal and informal learning, peer mentorship and teacher/professional mentorship, and experiences across multiple Hive programs. The dissemination of information about our process will provide a toolkit of best practices for other Hive organizations to adapt.

d. Providing value beyond the Network? 500 characters. offers individualized, youth-centered experiences that emphasize one’s unique skills and interests. This allows teens to define and pursue their interests beyond Expansion of relies on the Hive Network: the more organizations and youth that use and shares achievements, the more intrinsic and social value it will have. Through partnership ACE Mentor, CAF will extend the impact of even further to national learning networks.

Establish a baseline and analyze trends to help the field of connected learning collect authentic user data. This baseline data will track.
• The number of unique youth, mentor and teacher users of over time as tracked in Google Analytics.
• National reach of users over time as measured by users in different states in Google Analytics.
An increase in users who are informal learners and who have little prior design experience.
• 25% of new users in the first year after launch will indicate that they started with little to no experience in design or architecture, as measured through a survey when creating a user account.
• Increase in users’ design skills from informal learning contexts (vs. school settings) as documented through badge pathways visualized on user profiles.
An increase in engagement, design thinking and skill development over time among youth users.
• 50% of users who complete one design project will also earn at least one skill badge or complete another, high level design project with the help of online or in-person mentoring.
• Evidence of increasing sophistication in the design process as shown in comments and reflection posts from youth users, mentor reviews of youth design projects, and badge data.
An increase in the number of users who follow a learning pathway of increasingly complex content and deepening engagement in the online community over time.
• Progression through learning pathways as documented through badges earned.
• Ethnographic interviews with youth users to define diverse student experiences within and learning pathways through content.
Establish a baseline and analyze trends to help the field of connected learning track downloads and dispersion of toolkits and curricula replicated by other institutions.
• Increased inquiries from other Hive Network members to CAF to partner on projects related to
• Increase in partner projects on through co-authored design challenges.

Project Tags:
2015 Round 2 RFP, Ultimate Onramps

Project Portfolio

  • tools is an online platform where students, teachers, and mentors come together to design solutions for real-world challenges.

    The vision of DiscoverDesign is to be the premiere tool for enabling young people to experience the design process and prepare them for the journey of becoming designers. 

  • sample works

    CAF Minecraft Design Jam

    The introduction of the badging platform provides CAF with a new hybrid instructional/learning model that combines face-to-face and web-based learning, or a DiscoverDesign Learning Lab.

    The CAF Minecraft Design Jam will allow students use design thinking to solve a real-world problem in a virtual environment. The success of the CAF Minecraft Design Jam will influence future programs utilizing this DiscoverDesign Learning Lab model.

    Additionally, by hosting the CAF Minecraft Design Jam onsite in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio, CAF has the opportunity to leverage its current assets by integrating its tours, exhibitions and technology into this program.

  • sample works

    CAF’s DiscoverDesign adds Digital Achievements

    CAF implements digital badges on DiscoverDesign connecting an online community of youth, teachers, & mentors.

  • sample works

    Re[CREATE]Ed Spaces: Recreating educational spaces inspired by youth

    The Re[CREATE]Ed Spaces project provides a platform from which a diverse group of youth will be the creators of their experience and be tasked with recreating an educational space for youth. Their voices will drive the design of the pocket park, provide the narrative of the story of the project that will be shared with the Hive, and will make this new youth-inspired space possible.

  • documentation


    Fast forward to today, CAF secured match funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and used that match to apply for a Lever grant from the Fund. The grant was approved for $165,000 in 2015 Round 2. From 2011 to now, almost four years later, this project has matured through the Fund’s pipeline.

  • documentation

    DiscoverDesign and the Chicago Architecture Foundation: Using AngularJS and Drupal 8's REST API for Content Management

    A major goal for this project was to build an interface that allowed students to navigate and edit their projects with as few clicks as possible.

    This post is the second in a series describing Caxy’s work architecting the DiscoverDesign site in Drupal 8 for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. This article discusses how we used AngularJS with Drupal 8’s REST API to allow student projects to be edited without using Drupal’s admin UI or forms.

  • documentation

    DiscoverDesign and the Chicago Architecture Foundation: a Drupal 8 Case Study

    Caxy’s experience and expertise building large Drupal projects for Chicago institutions such as the Field Museum and Northwestern University made them an excellent choice to create a new user experience for DiscoverDesign and upgrade it to Drupal 8, the latest version of Drupal- an open source platform. This opportunity has been exciting both in terms of ideas and technical implementation. We are glad to be able to share the collaboration between CAF and Caxy through this blog post series describing highlights of what was built, and dives into some of the technical details of specific features.

  • documentation

    UX Design Principles for DiscoverDesign

    In preparation of the rebuild of DiscoverDesign as an Online Open Learning Lab, CAF engaged with Fuzzy Math to solidify the design direction for the new DiscoverDesign. These User Experience (UX) design principles serve as a guiding document for building a UX that values a visitor’s time on the website.

    These design principles begin with a Parti – a simple statement that expresses “the big idea” and serves as the chief organizing thought or decision of the project – and further breaks down the UX principles for each potential audience.

    These design principles have been and will continue to be helpful in building out an open learning lab for the Hive network and make DiscoverDesign a far-reaching solution for learners (and facilitators of learning) to carve out pathways of engagement using The Design Process as a way-finding tool in a connected learning context.