Using a Design Model as a Scaffold to Create Learning Tools: A Case Study with We! Connect Cards

Main Article Content

Chad Littlefield
Heather Toomey Zimmerman


This paper explores the development of We! Connect Cards, a card-based learning tool intended to support interpersonal relationships across various workplace and learning settings. The designed artifact is a card deck containing 60 cards with a question on the front and an action on the back. We discuss the development process of We! Connect Cards within the framework of a 5-phase design model. The purpose of our design paper is to share the design work of We! Connect Cards while exploring the utility of this model as a guide for creating and improving the design work. To understand the design case of We! Connect Cards, we draw upon relevant Human-Centered Design literature and concepts with an introduction to the chosen design model developed by the Stanford University Three test cases of the We! Connect Cards were conducted in a nonprofit, corporate, and higher education context. We include the scholarly discourse on the value of supporting interpersonal relationship development to situate the reader to the intended use scenario and learning outcome of this card-based tool. We organize the paper by the three iterative cycles of design, each within a nonprofit, corporate, and higher education context, to highlight the valuable insights and fruitful failures of each formative test case.

Article Details

How to Cite
Littlefield, C., & Toomey Zimmerman, H. (2017). Using a Design Model as a Scaffold to Create Learning Tools: A Case Study with We! Connect Cards. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 8(2).
Author Biographies

Chad Littlefield, We and Me, Inc.

Chad Littlefield is currently the co-founder and CEO of We and Me, Inc. He studied Learning, Design, and Technology at Penn State University. He is interested in better understanding how social connections build trust and engagement in a workplace environment.

Heather Toomey Zimmerman, Penn State University

Heather Toomey Zimmerman is an associate professor of education in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Penn State University. Her research interests include mobile computers to support science learning, family learning, and designing for learning in out-of-school time.