Redesigning the Volunteer Experience

Peer Health Exchange (PHE) works to give teenagers the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions by training college students to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools that lack health education.

Opportunities for Design 

PHE approached with this question: How might we reimagine the volunteer experience in order to improve the quality of health education for high school students? Over the course of a 12-week project, the team used human-centered design to identify insights about PHE volunteers and students which then informed the development of opportunities and concepts for PHE to implement in its volunteer program

The team conducted field research at multiple PHE locations around the United States where they spoke with PHE college student volunteers, national and local staff, high school students and teachers, subject matter experts, and analogous interview subjects from completely different fields. The team spent time with college and high school students on campus, in their homes, and surrounded by family members and peers. The team developed a sense of the everyday lives of both college PHE volunteers and the high school students they teach. 

Based upon this research, the design team developed three opportunity areas on which it based its design concepts.

Opportunity Area # 1: Lower up front barriers to becoming a volunteer as a college student. The team created design concepts that attempted to reduce road blocks and create more on-ramps for volunteers. 

Opportunity Area # 2: Give student volunteers more reasons to return. Designs in this opportunity area focused on building meaningful long-term relationships between PHE and its college-student volunteers.

Opportunity Area # 3: Encourage local learning and adaption at PHE as an organization. The team's final set of concepts focused on ways that PHE can create a culture of sharing and innovation among PHE college student volunteers, local staff, and national staff.

What we Designed

From an initial list of twelve design concepts, the team built six different prototypes that it tested on three college campuses with a mix of individual and group interviews and with new and returning PHE volunteers. These prototypes included an "Innovation Contest", "Peer Awards", and a "Playlist" highlighting successful workshops organized by syllabus structure.

To learn more about the PHE project, including all about the team's human-centered design process during the project and its final design recommendations to PHE, download the project deliverable here. Check back soon for an impact update from PHE.

  • PHE: Designing a Transformational Volunteer Experience
    The final deliverable in a project that asked: how might we reimagine the volunteer experience to improve the quality of health education for high school students?