DT to Improve the Academic Experience

In education we do not typically engage our users — our students — to tackle some of the problems in education. But with a fast growing interest in user experience design we can’t neglect our students anymore. Design thinking can be very useful to provide insights for curriculum development and learning culture. User-centered design can make students feel valued and help them build the communication and self-regulation skills they need. It can be a great way find some answers to the question: how to improve the academic experience.

DT academic level

DT challenges in school

The biggest challenge is the mindset of teachers. If teachers have a traditional mindset, then they’re not willing to learn from the process. The process of getting to know stakeholders, thinking outside the box and trying out creative solutions, is crucial to success. Learning along the way is just as important as finding a workable solution. But educators haven’t been trained like that. They are looking for answers that will make the daily task of teaching students easier.

But also the fact that we don’t always have an immediate answer and that we have to slow ourselves down to make sure we really understand the problem, is a big challenge. It’s easy for teachers to get bogged down in the details of their work. For teams who wants to get involved with user-centered design, it can help to get professional facilitators involved. They can help to take a step back and keep the possibilities open.

what it is

Design Thinking is a problem solving framework. The concept has been around for decades, it’s an alternative to a purely analytical approach to problem-solving.
Tim Brown, IDEO’s president, defines design thinking as: “The mission of design thinking is to translate observation into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives.”
The goal of improving lives is an important point to the process of design thinking. In fact, it’s what design thinking is all about: finding fresh, creative solutions to problems, but in a way that puts people and their needs.

traditional problem solving vs DT

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.
Traditional problem-solving often takes a methodical, almost scientific form. Pinpoint a problem, define the steps to take and tools to use to reach a solution, then stick to the plan and hope for the desired result.
It’s straightforward, but not always flexible, innovative or effective. What if the issue identified isn’t the real source of the problem? What if the steps don’t lead to the right solution?
Instead of starting with a problem, design thinking starts with observation. It’s informed by an understanding of the culture and what people need (context of a problem), rather than the problem.

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