The outlines below highlight the focus and components of  five 90 minute co-design sessions that lead to the three hour project design sprint (the process to answer questions, test ideas, and prototype solutions which in this initiative is developing a VR experience that helps teens build mental health strategies). These outlines should be used as a jumping off point for library staff engaged in this process. Activities and tools used may change based on library, teen, and community assets and needs.

Co-design sessions follow a similar structure, with elements and activities within that structure varying based on the theme of the co-design series and session.  Elements that repeat are:

  • Session opening: Welcome everyone to the event.
  • QotD: Brings everyone together as a way to learn more about each other, build relationships, and start to think about the theme of the session. The QotD should relate to the theme and be a way to connect the QotD conversation and answers to what will be going on in the session.
  • Review of the agenda: Lets co-designers know what they will be working on and why and provides a chance to connect the QotD to the day’s activities.
  • Design activity/activities: The interactive/collaborative activity (or activities) that co-designers will take part in.
  • De-brief: Gives co-designers the chance to reflect on what they participated in, what they learned, what they liked/didn’t like, what more they would like to do or learn.
  • Closing: Thank you and next steps.

Note: in each session outline below teen well-being concepts are noted using the following key:

  • M = Mental well-being
  • P = Physical well-being
  • E = Emotional well-being
  • S = Spiritual well-being

Phase 1: Ideation

Session 1 – Goal: To Build Relationships

The very first session in the process is all about relationships and building connections between teens and adults.  This session is informal and is less structured than the co-design sessions that follow.

Session 2 – Goal: To Build Relationships and Build VR Confidence

The second co-design session gives teens and participating adults the chance to get to know and feel comfortable with each other.   It also provides teens and adults the opportunity to feel comfortable with the technology and VR settings – such as VR Chat.

Session 3 – Goal: Continue to Build VR Confidences

The third co-design session gives teens the chance to learn more about VR and engage in VR activities together – continuing to build relationships and build comfort and confidence in each other and in exploring VR experiences.

Session 4 – Goal: Building More Confidence in VR

In the fourth session teens have the chance to explore a new VR tool, Mozilla Hubs, and at the same time are able to start thinking about the mental health aspects of the project and how they think about their own well-being.   In the fourth session you can re-emphasize the goal of the project: teens will take what they learn about VR to help design a VR experience for others to use as a way to de-stress and build positive well-being.

Session 5 – Goal: Deepening Relationships and VR Confidence, & Exploring Teen Well-Being

In this session teens begin to think more deeply about well-being while at the same time continuing to explore the ins and outs of VR.  At this point in the process, through the work that happened previously, teens should feel comfortable with each other and as a result are more able to discuss their thoughts and feelings about their own lives, what makes them happy, what makes them stressed, where they like to hang out, and so on.

Session 6 – Goal: Considering how to Design in VR & How VR Experiences can Support Mental Health & Well-Being

Now that you have worked with teens over several co-design sessions, they have built their confidence in the co-design process, have built relationships with each other and adult facilitators, are familiar with how to engaging in VR spaces,  and are beginning to think about mental health and how they incorporate mental health strategies in their daily lives.  In this co-design session you will more intentionally bring those pieces together and give teens the chance to have a fun experience in VR and connect that fun experience to mental health.


Design Sprint

A design sprint is a process born at Google, that allows teams to align on a specific problem, generate a mass of solutions, prototype, test and learn from real users in just a few days. In the VRtality program we hosted design sprints between sessions 5 and 6 after co-designers had built relationships and learned about VR and before starting to prototype a VR experience. Visit the What Is a Design Sprint? page and the Sample Design Sprint page for more information.

Map sketch prototype graphic

Phase 2: Prototype Feedback

Session 7 – Goal:  Moving from Design Sprint Ideas to a VR Experience

The first session that follows the design sprint is a chance to talk with teens about the ideas generated during the sprint and make more decisions about what the VR experience will look and feel like

Session 8 – Goal:  Moving from Design Sprint to VR Experience Part 2

In this session co-designers will continue discussing their design sprint ideas and make decisions about what will be included in the VR experience.

Session 9 – Goal:  Tying Ideas Together

In this session co-designers have the chance to see all of their ideas since the design sprint in one place on a development board.

Session 10 – Goal:  Getting Headsets and Co-Designers Ready

The focus of this session is to work with the co-designers so that they are able to test out the VR builds on their own headsets.  The time needed to set up the headsets for this will vary depending on whether the session takes place virtually or face to face.

Session 11 – Goal:  Playtesting

The activities in this session will vary based on whether or not you need to continue helping co-designers set up their headsets for testing the VR experiences being built.

Session 12 – Goal:  Playtesting Part 2

This session focuses on a final playtest of the VR build.

Session 13 – Goal:  Launch & Reflecting on the Learning and the Experience

This session combines a celebration with reflection on all that was learned and developed together through the VRtality program

curly woman

Libraries’ support of teen mental health must be embedded in everyday services and start far before a crisis occurs.

Linda W. Braun

Librarians & Educators Online

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