Ready to Recycle

Building sustainable foundations

Helping students contribute to a better world


While 5-8th graders know they should recycle, they lack the understanding of the purpose or process of recycling. Many young teens are simply unaware of how recycling works and what materials can be recycled.


Provide a 30-45 minute course teaching 5-8th graders introducing them to the ins and outs of recycling, while also giving them a protagonist-driven, hands-on learning simulation to reinforce the types of real world choices young people make every day. 

Setting the foundations

We broke the project down into a few important chunks of work. This included: Interviewing school teachers about students issues on the topic of recycling, breaking down those findings into easy to understand information and creating a interactive course that would help students understand recycling.

Our interviews with teachers helped us break down the key areas we wanted to focus on:

  • Students lacked understanding of the recycling process
  • Students were confused about what was and what wasn't recyclable
  • Students were bored with the old idea of recycling(traditional advertising)

Drawing from the information we had obtained, our team began work on the course. Every week, the team gathered to review the progress and brainstorm ideas to bring the course to life. Once the narrative and instructions for the course had been finalized, I began to create the necessary components and configurations. During this process, the Learner Experience team and I determined that we needed a way to help learners process their learning. As we had no existing setups for our course to fulfill this requirement, we created a story that would enable the learner to shop and learn simultaneously. This story involved a teacher asking the learner to purchase items from a simulated online store that were highly recyclable. The product team worked together to develop a shopping experience that would allow for this.

Shopping Flow
Shopping Course Flow

Once the flow and low fidelity course pages were created, we tested the course with a few students as well as tested for any accessibility issues.

Issues Found

Accessibility Issues: We discovered that our course configurations were causing screen readers to read content in an unintelligible order. Initially, I feared we'd have to scrap the entirety of our efforts and start from the beginning. After working with the team, however, we identified some adjustments that needed to be made. The development team was able to swiftly resolve the issue.

Visual Understanding: We found that learners were not absorbing the content effectively, so we developed scenarios to determine if they were truly understanding it. The results of the testing showed that they had a limited understanding of the material.

  1. Learner is given a scenario to choose an item that would be the most recyclable in their budget
  2. One the learner completed their choice they would be ask why they made that choice
  3. Once the learner provided that input we created a Lottie animation that animated showing if their choice was good or ok for the environment.

This adjustment gave us the data needed and enabled the learner to understand the implications of their choices, while also getting feedback on whether they had a positive or negative impact on the environment.

Family from Module 1
Module 1 characters

More Testing

After three to four weeks the outcome was a polished and functioning course. We tested once more and found that some people took a little longer than 30 minutes on the course. So we were able again to modify the course content and refine it so users were able to enjoy the story and learn in under 30 mins. Once the course launched we created a course that had hit some key areas.

  • Users gained an understanding of the single-stream recycling process, from mining and refining to recycling
  • Users were able to make more sustainable choices through our interactive and educational shopping experience
  • Users were both entertained and educated while participating in the experience

Once we finalized these items the course was launched and we will be testing as students test the courses out. We have received praise from various teachers about the course and the love of the final process of the shopping experience. I cannot wait to learn more and see how we can improve in the near future since this is something we are constantly building.

Overall creating an online web course for Everfi about recycling has been an enlightening experience. Knowing I have helped to equip learners with the knowledge and skills to take action and make a positive impact on the environment. By teaching the importance of recycling, we have enabled our learners to become part of the solution and contribute to a better world. I am proud to have been part of this journey and are confident that our course will help to spread awareness and create a more sustainable future.

Product Designer & Animation:
Jason Reyna

Ed Guillian

Grace Manno


Principal Product Designer

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