Off the Wall Learning Gets Playtested and Shared


(The original article was written by Ilena Parker, and Off the Wall Learning was created by the Institute of Play)

Early in December, a group of mentors attended an Institute-led professional development workshop on best practices in developing and distributing informal learning activities geared at youth.

The mentors were all members of Hive NYC Learning Network, a group of museums, libraries and other youth-facing non-profit learning organizations that work together to create new learning practices. They were there to playtest the latest from Institute of Play: a new approach to challenge-based activities called Off the Wall Learning.

Off the Wall Learning is an engaging way to share informal learning activities that represents the dynamic nature of the activities involved. By presenting a self-directed activity straight to the learner, the Off the Wall Learning series provides a shared experience to both youth and mentors that creates richer opportunities for them to interact.

The Off the Wall Learning project kicks off with the highly visual Off the Wall Challenge posters, produced in partnership with Hive NYC. At the workshop, Hivers rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty playtesting the first activity poster – the Water Filter Challenge. With empty water bottles, coffee filters, gravel and other household supplies, teams worked to design a filter that could clean a cup of water in less than a minute. Check out this slideshow from the workshop to see what the teams came up with.

After a successful playtest, Institute designers and informal learning developers shared a template for content development and visual design of learning activity posters, which we used to create the first two Off the Wall Challenge posters. You can download our posters below, as well as an editable template that you can use to make your own Off the Wall Challenge. We’d love to see what you come up with – please send your designs our way!

For more information about Off the Wall Learning, or to download examples as well as the template uploaded here, please visit:


Institute of Play

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Publication Date: 
December 24, 2012