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Digital Learning Design Challenge

Bring your creativity and innovation to help solve the most pressing challenges facing learners today.


The COVID-19 crisis has amplified demand for high-quality remote learning tools and opportunities. Richer, more rewarding learning environments go beyond lectures and worksheets to support a learning community where students persist and thrive. 

Through the Digital Learning Design Challenge, Stanford students will learn to approach problems in education through a student-centered lens, using research and design to create solutions that have the potential for broad adoption. You will have the opportunity to develop and pitch for funding. You may also be selected to conduct early-stage prototyping and present to industry professionals.

Why participate in the Digital Learning Design Challenge?


The design challenge gives students access to a series of workshops to grow your knowledge and your network. Workshops will focus on learner-centered design processes, learning science and design, technical implementation, team building, and entrepreneurship.


Participants selected for funding will gain access to mentors who provide support throughout the later-stage research, design, and development phases of their projects. Mentors include faculty experts, industry experts, and near-peers with recent experience in development of digital learning experiences.


The Digital Learning Design Challenge and Start X provide students with an opportunity to receive award funding throughout various phases of ideation and design.

Connection to gatekeepers

Participants selected for funding will also be connected to a community of entrepreneurs, faculty experts, and industry gatekeepers interested in leveraging science and design to produce more effective learning solutions.


Winter quarter workshop schedule

Workshops are held online Thursday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.  The purpose of the workshops is to help students form teams and develop a successful project and pitch.  We encourage attendance in the workshops, but they are optional. 

Winter pitch event

On Thursday, March 4, participants pitch their projects to a panel of academic and industry experts. $1,500 grants will be awarded to top teams for early-stage prototype development. To participate, you must have attended the Feb. 18 Practice Pitch session.


January 14

– Introduction
– Human-centered design
– Mixer


January 21

– Learning science
– Game design
– Mixer


January 28

– Entrepreneurship in EdTech
– Accessibility & inclusion
– Mixer


February 4

– Pitch preview
– Mixer


February 7

– Deadline to sign-up
for the winter pitch event


February 11

– Pitch development
– Mixer


February 18

– Practice pitch (required session)


February 25

– Prototyping tools


March 4

– Winter pitch event

Spring quarter workshop series

Workshops take place Thursday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Spring pitch event

On Thursday, May 6, participants pitch their projects for a panel of academic and industry experts. Grants of up to $9,000 will be awarded to top teams for further project development. To participate, you must attend the April 22 Practice Pitch session. 


April 1

– Entrepreneurship
– Prototyping & user testing 


April 8

– Academic research
– Prototyping & user testing


April 22

– Practice pitch
(required session)


April 29

- Prototype testing


May 6

- Spring pitch event