xLab project update for the fall semester

Universal Learning and Employment (LER) Ecosystem: Privacy-Preserving Verifiable Credentialing Solution

Earlier in the year, xLab faculty members Youngjin Yoo and Erman Ayday were awarded a grant with the Walmart Foundation to develop a white paper identifying key socio-technical challenges and principles to design and implement a universal LER ecosystem. 

By utilizing emerging technologies such as decentralized data storage, tokenization of personal data, and decentralized digital identities, the team hopes to suggest a new technology standard that can be designed to promote diversity and inclusiveness in workforces. Such technology could pave a pathway––along with appropriate policies and recruiting practices––to encourage non-traditional candidates to join the mainstream employment opportunities and provide upward mobility. 

Throughout the summer and continuing into fall, the team has been busy interviewing experts in technology, human resources and those working with alternative learners. They have also been conducting a systematic review of the extant literature, and creating an industry survey, with the goal to provide key design principles for future development efforts toward building a universal learning and employment record ecosystem. 

Voice of Future Customers: Gen Z research project

This semester, xLab will be working with a group of university and high school students to conduct deep user research into the visual experiences of Gen Z–– what they watch and read. The team of students will study themselves as well as family and friends ages 15-25 and conduct anthropological probes via surveys and interviews to understand the cultural, social, technological, and psychological experiences of future users. 

Mentored by xLab faculty and staff, the student team will generate a set of personas of future customers and develop key insights on their needs. They will capture these insights in their own voice and present it directly to senior leaders from the company sponsoring this project, an electronics manufacturer in South Korea.