Evidence-Informed Design

Warning: This is where we "Geek Out!"

If you've gotten this far, you've probably seen what Life Skills Reimagined looks like. But just because it has a unique look and feel doesn't mean it works.

Here is the research and data that went into its creation, and we've gained so far from it's use. We leveraged our team's expertise in adult learning and feedback from our target user audience to drive the design and development.


Primary - Internship Program

We hosted an 8-week internship program for a group of young adults who had experienced foster care. During this time we conducted a series of informal "focus groups" to discuss what they felt equipped to do, what they felt uncomfortable with. Because they worked with us every day, we also got to see first hand some of the things they struggled with. 

We showed them dozens of examples of elearning, and even though some of it even made even US cringe, there were overwhelming only two recurring pieces of feedback.

  1. I want to read as little as possible. (Millennials and Gen Z prefer video over other mediums.)

  2. Don't make it all look the same.

Primary - Youth Advisory Board

The design and concepts were presented at a foster care agency youth advisory board for input.

Secondary Research

We evaluated

  • Any available life skills content and design approach that we could get our hands on.

  • Research on youth homelessness related to skills needed for self-sufficiency.

  • Common life skills assessments and any related curriculum, including Casey Life Skills and Daniel Memorial Assessments.


We leveraged learning best practices and principles of neuroscience to ensure engagement and retention. 

  1. Engage multiple senses - using video, audio, storytelling and physical interaction increased retention. (see table to the left)

  2. Contextual - using situations and examples that students can relate to. Our brains learn by connecting new things to things we already know.

  3. Microlearning - our brains remember best, and our attention is maintained, in short bursts.

  4. Multiple reinforcement points - Knowledge and habits are encoded into long-term memory through repetition. Every time we reinforce, those new neuropathways are reinforced. For new information and behaviours to "win" the new paths must be stronger than the old.

  5. Immediate application reinforces learning. 

  6. Proficiency is a long-term process. Tools and processes are needed to facilitate the continued application of knowledge.

Retention rates by presentation type.png


Focus/Testing Groups

We hosted a series of focus/testing groups to gain feedback on our platform content and design.

  • Groups were brought together to evaluate a series of modules.

    • Most users were ages 16-24.

    • Most had experience in foster care (assumed some extent of emotional trauma)

    • Urban setting

    • Majority were African American

  • Users were provided login assistance, but no other instructions on how to navigate the platform.

  • Facilitators were available to answer navigation questions, if needed. 


The content was deployed as a self-paced curriculum in an inner-city high school after school program. Learners would access the content after completing their homework.


Both groups were asked to complete a five-question survey after each module.

  1. How would you rate the usefulness of the content? (Likert scale 1-5)

  2. How would you rate the creative approach/look and feel compared to other life skills training you have received? (Likert scale 1-5)

  3. What did you like the most? (Free text)

  4. What did you  like the least? (Free text)

  5. What suggestions would you have for improvement? (Free text)

For the content evaluated, the average across all of the content was approximately 4.5.

The overall score averages ranged from 3.75-5:

  • Understanding Cash Flow received a 3.75

  • What is Credit and How Do I Get it? scored a 5.0.

  • Only one module scored below a 4.0.

Other Feedback

The modules were also reviewed and feedback was provided by the following: 

  • Personal Finance: The owner of a wealth management company with substantial  experience teaching financial management to our targeted audiences.

  • Getting & Keeping a Job: A multi-unit Subway Franchisee

  • All: A former teacher and founder of a residential home for women who are working towards self-sufficiency

  • All: A youth with experience in foster care received and provided feedback on content, authenticity, ease of understanding and wrote many of knowledge check scenarios.