is designing for rapt attention
– engaging the senses through social, embodied and playful moves that drive participation, co-creation and agency.

chases curiosity
– designing amazing, astonishing, haptic, visual and tangible interactions that delight in the anticipation and reward of prototyping the never-before-seen.

promotes uncertainty
– to wonder is to doubt. We create space for the discomfort and mystery of not-knowing and the vulnerability and risks inherent in navigating emergence.

dreams of transformations
– designing new social imaginaries that help to provoke, critique, propose and create shifts in how we think, do, act and be in the world.

is led by MADA Professor Lisa Grocott.

Got a question about WonderLab? Get in touch.

A creative, investigative space where human-centred learning meets people-centred design.

In a world of screen-based, just-in-time, life-long learning, people still need high touch, high impact experiences in the workplace or campus.

WonderLab does not simply enable everyday learning – we strive for transformative learning.

We want to provide the tools needed to change how people think and act in the future. This is a high bar we have set, but we recognise that with support and the conditions for co-design changed thinking, we can help facilitate a community that interacts, interpretes and engages in a wonderful way with others.

WonderLab is grounded in a critical thinking approach that encourages learners to be curious through design strategies and resources that are playful, motivating, respectful, engaging, self-paced and social.

This learning is centred around neuroscience and psychology. Our workshops and games encourage memory retrieval, spaced practice, elaborative encoding and interleaving, because we know that you remember more when a making activity is involved. And activities that integrate the heart, mind and guts are the most potent.

At their core, these play-based activities draw on peer to peer learning mindsets that are interdisciplinary (informed), collaborative (interactive), reflective (linked to life), generative (creative) and most importantly applied (taking action). WonderLab is motivated to encourage autonomous inquiry, promote self mastery and help articulate individual purpose within the wider prism of the synergetic community.

Select an area of investigation to learn more:

We are driven to consider what design brings to the interdisciplinary field of learning. So material thinking is one contribution design has to offer. But if we resist the power constructed around the idea of expert, we also want to privilege different types of knowing. We wonder not just about material thinking, but the co-creative act of making, the stories designed objects can surface.

We believe design has something to offer to how we learn. But we also believe that design has much to learn from other practices.

WonderLab research is...

  • Applied. The design practice orientation places an emphasis on interventions that seek not to tell us how the world is but to explore and propose how the world might be.
  • Project-grounded. Working on complex projects that cannot be solved by one discipline alone asks us to respectfully work with the knowing of other disciplines (i.e. psychology, education, neuroscience, STS, feminist and queer studies etc.)
  • Interdisciplinary. Disciplinary generosity requires us to critique design hubris (by interrogating our assumptions about design) and assert design confidence (by being able to name what design brings).
  • Additive. The invitation is for the designer-as-researcher to infuse material and prototyping practices, speculative thinking, design mindsets and co-design principles to grounded theory, narrative inquiry, phenomenology, ethnography or participatory action research to name a few.
  • Novel. In bringing design materials, mindset and methods to complementary research methodologies we begin to forge new ways of researching.

WonderLab at its heart is a pride of PhD candidates and supervisors from across a range of disciplines, cultures.

The WonderLab PhD cohort brings together an international research collective pursuing doctoral work through Monash University. Candidates are exploring practice-based research topics in design and learning through their individual professional practices. The cohort contribute to one another's research and projects through group collaboration, collective contribution and dissemination of research and a shared commons of tested methods, tools and research resources. Supervision is committed to the whole of the collective as well as individual work. Research is pursued and exhibited to include both the individual practice and collective research components of the cohort.

For more information, visit Graduate research...

WonderLab Researchers

We design games, WonderBoxes, that promote hands-on, minds-on social interaction. These games have been created especially for organisations and communities as a way to give agency to participants to drive their own personal and professional growth. The nature of a game means that the direction, experiences and outcomes are not pre-prescribed. There is no expert determining what is of value to know. The peers contribute to and define the game and the end result. Because of this, the WonderBoxes offer a learning strategy that can be revisited, iterated, shared and mastered over time.

Design positions itself as operating in the realm of potential. Design is all about exploring new ways of doing things so we might craft different futures. We no longer find it relevant to think of a designer as someone who designs for a client but as someone who designs with community. To do this well we need to invite others into the process.

One way we do this at WonderLab is to invite communities to a playdate. We don’t invite people to experience some highly resolved learning experience. We are interested in the playdate as a space for negotiating, exploring, imagining. We invite people to join us in co-creating and critiquing what that half-baked learning experience could become.

To share work that is still in play, that is not-there-yet is to feel vulnerable. Which is a big ask in a public space. Yet it also seems apt. For the verb to wonder is also about being in a state of doubt...to wonder if, to wonder how, to wonder what...

WonderLab designed a series of standalone and integrated Learning Encounters that support the navigation of the ILETC pathway. These meta experiences introduce the four core elements of the study: ILE’s, Deep Learning, Mind Frames and Teacher Change.

The encounters create a social learning context where peers within a school community can come together to navigate the ILE transition. They are informed by evidence-based research through an integration of the lessons from ILETC research and research from interdisciplinary research from education, behaviour change, psychology and design. These learning experiences complement the activities that come from best practices in schools by highlighting experiences that ILETC feels will support this work.

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