Life Skills Learning Designed For Youth, By Youth

Interns take the lead, designing career + life skills learning playlists for youth at @LRNGCHI Tweet This

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“What am I passionate about? How can I share my passion with other young people?”

These questions motivated a group of interns at the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust this summer to create innovative learning opportunities for their peers.

During the summer of 2017, the Hive Chicago Fund hosted youth interns participating in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s One Summer Chicago initiative: a summer jobs program that brings together government institutions, community-based organizations and companies to provide employment and internship opportunities to youth across Chicago between the ages of 14 and 24.

The interns dedicated their summer to creating exciting and engaging digital content for other youth on LRNG, a national digital learning and badging platform used by 12 cities across the U.S. Locally, the Hive Chicago Fund manages LRNG: CHI to help young people develop career readiness and 21st century skills.

The LRNG model is built on the playlist: a series of experiential activities (digital or in-person) around a common theme. This summer internship experience marks the first time the Fund has featured Playlists whose topic and content have been entirely driven by youth.

Three hexagonal digital badges: Health Eating, Savvy Adventurer and Photography 101Through LRNG:CHI, young people aged 14-24 complete “playlists” of skill-building activities to earn digital badges—which can unlock real-world opportunities, like job-shadowing or internships.


To prepare for this project, the interns participated in workshops with learning design experts to gain background on connected learning and to develop their skills in curriculum development, gamified learning, research and evaluation—while creating content around themes that were meaningful to them and that would resonate with other youth.

  • Bridget is a student at National Louis University dedicated to making healthy choices. Inspired by watching family members struggle with diabetes, Bridget created the Healthy Eating Playlist to help other youth form healthy habits.
  • Anni is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is passionate about traveling. She created the Adventure Is Out There! Playlist to inspire other youth to travel and to provide tips for planning a safe, organized and budget-friendly travel experience for teens.
  • Saasha is a student at Harold Washington College and a photography enthusiast. Saasha created the Photography 101 Playlist to teach other youth the basic rules of photography composition, and to show them how easy it is to take a good picture.