Developing Experience Designers

Experience Points: Learning From New Experiences

a man standing on a dock looking out at the water

This post is a copy of the Experience Points page I include in my courses.


People learn through experience. Depending on the range of experiences you’ve had, you may have insights, perspectives, and vision no one else can claim. In order to build up a storehouse of unique experiences, you have to have those experiences. Experience Points exist to reward diverse experiences.

In this course, Experience Points will be earned based on the level of experience you choose to have on an assignment. Different levels of Experience Points are earned when you or your group to choose people, activities, or places to explore for your assignment work. All Experience Ponts for the course will be combined as a percentage weighted group of the final grade. Check out the details below about how Experience Points work.

Experience Points Levels

All experiences are not encountered at the same level. Some experiences are more challenging than others. Experience Points are earned based on the level of experience you choose to have. You can have an adventurous experience, an unfamiliar experience, or a comfortable experience. The more adventurous the experience, the more Experience Points you can earn. 100 points (a perfect score) is the most you can earn.

AdventurousUnfamiliarComfortable
Grade1009070
DescriptionBeyond your comfort zone into unknown experiences.Outside of your daily range of activities.Inside your comfort zone.
ChallengeMentally, physically, and/or emotionally new and challenging.Aspects are often mentally, physically, and/or emotionally new.Mentally, physically, and/or emotionally familiar.
UnexpectedYou will experience many things that are unexpected.You will experience the unexpected.You will not likely experience the unexpected.
Planning RequiredExtensive planning, preparation, and/or skill development required.Some planning, preparation, and/or possibly skill development is required.Very little preparation, planning, and/or prior skill development is required.

Experience Points Areas

Experience Points are earned by experiencing new things. These “new things” are divided down into three different experience areas: people, activities, and context.

PeopleActivitiesContexts
Encounter and/or interact with people who are not part of your daily routine.Do an activity that is not part of your daily routine.Experience a place that is not part of your daily routine.

Here are some detailed examples that help define different experience areas. Use these examples to guide the experiences you will select for your assignments.

People

Encounter and/or interact with people who are not part of your daily routine.

LevelGradeDefinitionExamples
Adventurous100people who are culturally, racially, ethnically, socioeconomically, ideologically, politically, generationally different from you, including people with different physical and cognitive abilities, people who have a career or do work that is drastically different than yoursa woman who uses a wheelchair, a man who is 84 years old, a woman who supports a pro-life agenda, a woman of Japanese descent, a man who is a blacksmith or woman who is an astrophysicist (drastic career difference)
Unfamiliar90people whom you work with but are not close relations, people whom you live near but are not close, faculty and staff who are not your instructor, people not affiliated with Miami, people who have a career or do work somewhat similar to yoursco-worker from another department, city council member, a professor in psychology, owner of an ice cream shop, man shopping at a grocery store, Uber driver, wait staff at a restaurant, Disney Cast Member, other guests at the Walt Disney World Resort who are like you, an interior designer, writer, or other designer (similar career difference)
Comfortable70people whom you interact with on a daily basis, people whom you are related to, people you speak with and with whom you have developed friendshipsfamily members, a favorite uncle, best friend, well-known neighbor, classmate, friends, roommates, close neighbors, the course instructor, “convenient” people, a close co-worker who does the same job you do
Not Completed0did not do the assignmentdid not do the assignment

Activities

Do an activity that is not part of your daily routine.

LevelGradeDefinitionExamples
Adventurous100never-before-tried activities, once-in-a-lifetime events, once-a-year activities, uncommon events, trying something for the first timeattending a yearly music festival, visiting a national park, visiting a Jewish synagogue for the first time, participating in a protest, making an apple pie, volunteering at a food bank, or changing a tire for the first time, trying a new subscription service, playing a game for the first time, using a new smartphone app, eating a food from a cuisine you have never tried, developing/coding a game, website, or app using methods you’ve never tried before, building with a new material
Unfamiliar90activities you do several times a year, done in different ways than you have tried beforeattending a child’s dance recital, walking instead of driving to work, having a dentist appointment, visiting a local theme park, hosting a party, playing a game you haven’t played in a long time, eating a new food within cuisine you know well, listening to an audiobook or podcast infrequently
Comfortable70familiar activities you do daily or weekly, done the same way you usually do themdriving to work, working out at the gym, eating at a familiar restaurant or dining hall, riding a bike, feeding an infant child, watching a movie on television, mowing the lawn, using a favorite smartphone app, taking a shower, watching television, commute to work, classroom activities, work activities, activities around your home or the hotel, using familiar transportation modes, eating familiar foods, familiar recreation activities
Not Completed0did not do the assignmentdid not do the assignment

Contexts

Experience a place that is not part of your daily routine.

LevelGradeDefinitionExamples
Adventurous100visiting a place where you have never been before, exploring a location whose climate that is socioeconomically, culturally, geographically different from your home area, visiting a place that is significantly more or less populous than your home area, unique topography, environmental conditions, landscape, terrain, population density, governmental structuresa national park, a different country, a neighborhood that is culturally different from yours, a small town or big city, a rural or urban location
Unfamiliar90visiting a place you only visit a few times a year, doing familiar activities but in new placesoff-campus in Oxford, visiting a new building on campus, shopping at a new store, a major league sports venue, a concert venue, a local park
Comfortable70places where you live and work, places visited dailyyour home, workplace, residence hall, classroom, familiar on-campus locations
Not Completed0did not do the assignmentdid not do the assignment

Turning in Experience Points Assignments: XP Reports

Each student must make a case for the level of experience they selected. There will be an Experience Points Canvas assignment for every assignment/project that has an Experience Points component. For this assignment, every student must report their selected experience and why it is the level they claim (adventurous, unfamiliar, or comfortable). This will involve completing a pre-designed table, then turning it in via Canvas. The XP table below demonstrates the content that should be entered:

PeopleActivitiesContext
Which Experience Level?What level was this “people” experience for you?

Choose one of the following:
Adventurous, Unfamiliar, or Comfortable

What level was this “activities” experience for you?

Choose one of the following:
Adventurous, Unfamiliar, or Comfortable

What level was this “contexts” experience for you?

Choose one of the following:
Adventurous, Unfamiliar, or Comfortable

What Happened?Who you encountered.

A few sentences about the people you met, worked with or observed. What were their abilities? Age? Cultural, racial, socioeconomic, ideological uniquenesses? Career backgrounds?

What you did.

A few sentences about the activity you did.
What steps were taken to complete the activity? How long did it take? Under what conditions was it completed (hot, frigid, windy, time-sensitive)?

Where you put yourself.

A few sentences about the place/environment where you went. What were the environmental conditions? What was the cultural background of the place? How busy or quiet was it? What was the population, flora, fauna, or other conditions physical conditions?

How Different?Why is encountering these people adventurous, unfamiliar or comfortable? Share how different they are from you and your “normal” interactions.Why is doing this thing adventurous, unfamiliar or comfortable? Share how different this activity is from your “normal” activities.Why is going to this place adventurous, unfamiliar or comfortable? Share how different this place/environment is from your “normal” activities.

A Completed XP Report

For example, after deleting the content from the starter table then filling in the report, an XP table could read like this:

PeopleActivitiesContext
Experience LevelAdventurousUnfamiliarAdventurous
What Happened?Men and women living below the poverty line. 12 total people. All were African-American and work in their small town. Some were unemployed. One is a veteran.Conducted a focus group about improving access to education. We had a crawfish boil.Golden Meadow, Louisiana. A small town of 2,000 people on the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans.
How Different?I am a white woman and I am 22 and the people I worked are very different from me in their customs.I have eaten seafood before, but never crawfish or creole food.I am from a big city (Columbus) so a small town like this is something I have never experienced before.

Grading Experience Points

The grade you will earn will be equal to the most challenging level of experience you had for the assignment. Examples:

  • People: Adventurous, Activities: Adventurous, Contexts: Comfortable – earns 100 points out of 100
  • People: Comfortable, Activities: Comfortable, Contexts: Comfortable – earns 70 points out of 100
  • People: Unfamiliar, Activities: Unfamiliar, Contexts: Unfamiliar – earns 90 points out of 100
  • People: Comfortable, Activities: Unfamiliar, Contexts: Comfortable – earns 90 points out of 100
  • People: Comfortable, Activities: Adventurous, Contexts: Comfortable – earns 100 points out of 100

The instructor reserves the right to evaluate your report and upgrade or downgrade your claimed experience level based on your report. Be as objective and clear as possible when reporting your experience for the report.

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