Design Thinking in the Classroom

We just started our nationwide Innovator’s Congress (ICon)  here in Metro Manila. We have gathered educators from different subject areas to train them with new skills and techniques for their teaching strategies. This year, our theme focused on design thinking.

You may be asking, what is design thinking, especially once applied in education?

Design Thinking is a dynamic problem-solving approach to help educators become creators, innovators and emphatic beings. Imagine you have a problem you want to solve. Let’s say you have a problem of frequently forgetting things. Your initial approach is to immediately brainstorm for a solution. In design thinking, however, you look deeper into the problem first. You think of the root causes, the context and the people involved. In this case, if you always forget things, you will look into the whole picture — the why, the how, and the who would benefit when a solution is delivered for a problem.

 

How can design thinking be applied in education? Abesamis & Robles (2017) shares three key points:

  • As a teaching strategy

You can engage students with design thinking projects. With this, students can go beyond the “learning by doing” approach in doing their final projects.

  • As a mindset or solving problems in school

As educators, you are in a unique position to solve school problems being in constant contact with your students. Because of this, you can create a team and address school issues using the design thinking approach and engage a community in the decision-making process.

  • As a process for lesson planning and designing materials

In preparing school materials, you can use a logbook to create a student profile, that in effect, can be used as a primary resource while drafting your lesson plans. With each student profile, you can log any feedback gathered after an activity; thus, it will be easier for you to gain ownership of your student’s learning progress and become a better teacher.

 

As an educator, you can also be a designer. As a designer,  you start with the people and focus on their needs, understanding the context of their problem. Armed with insights, you then start designing ideas and solutions. You iteratively refine these solutions by gathering high-quality feedback before finalizing your output. With this process, a teacher and school leader like you can create an authentic learning experience for your students.

 

How to let your students experience the design thinking process? Here’s how:

Emphatize

  • Encourage your students to look, listen and learn. Let them ask questions about the people, or about the circumstance. Let them explore all possible scenarios.

Define

  • Here, the students will generate and narrow down the data they’ve gathered based on their questions. They can now create their design challenge statement. A design challenge statement is the similar to the problem you want to address.

Ideation

  • The students here “go all out” with their solutions. They can just down all the ideas for their solution as many as they can.

Prototype

  • Once they have a chosen feasible solution, your students can start building tangible prototypes. It can be a mini-version of the product they want to build using scrap materials, or if it is a process or strategy, students can document their prototype through role-playing and videos.

Testing

  • If students have built a prototype, it is now necessary to show it to their target audience for feedback. This feedback will serve as a springboard for improving their work and building a better solution to the problem. The final work can then be their reference once they decided to implement these prototypes into bigger and better solution to the problem they wanted to address.

 

In our ICon event, our teacher-participants became students for a day and used design thinking in their activities:

 

By using design thinking, both Filipino teachers and the students can create better and feasible solutions to problems at hand. Not only that, using this approach can make inventors and effective problem-solvers in no time. In a world where innovation is the new norm, you have to constantly be curious and update your skillset so you can always have something exciting to share inside the classroom. 🙂

 

Reference:

Abesamis, G. & Robles, K. (2017). Design Thinking. Quality Teacher Magazine Vol. 14 No. 2, Diwa Learning Systems and Bato Balani Foundation Inc.

 

Pangalangan, A. (2017). Prepare Learners to Become Effective Problem Solvers. Quality Teacher Magazine Vol. 14 No. 2, Diwa Learning Systems and Bato Balani Foundation Inc.

Feeding my eLearning Interest

Technology plus learning equals eLearning.

Ever since college, I have this penchant for anything multimedia used for learning purposes. Anything that will lead me to developing eLearning materials, I’ve tried. When opportunity came to work as a school eLearning specialist at the field, and now product development specialist of elearning products, this interest shoot skyward.

I’ve been reading posts from elearningindustry.com and subscribed to feeds related to eLearning. I’ve also volunteered when training opportunities for Adobe Captivate 8 at the office came. Though I was not able to practice what I’ve learned during that hands-on training, I was able to use that pre-existing knowledge to self-study Articulate Storyline; thus, my first project entitled Workplace Compliance using the basic commands was conceived. You can check the project description and demo here.

Workplace Compliance
Workplace Compliance

Just a quick comparison between Adobe Captivate 8 and Articulate Storyline, they both adhere to providing interactivity to eLearning courses, aside from the fact that both are easy to use (for Adobe Captivate, if you have experience using Adobe tools and for Articulate Storyline, for those with MS Powerpoint experience). However, between the two, I like Articulate Storyline better with the ease of use and the community always available for support. I guess Adobe Captivate support for development of responsive eLearning (mobile, tablet, desktop) just takes Articulate Storyline a notch higher when it comes to features, though Storyline published content can be viewed for HTML5, andriod and iOS devices.

Going back, I usually do the following to further fuel my eLearning interest:

1)Read feeds related to eLearning. Just a year ago, I subscribed to elearningindustry.com and receive feeds everyday about the latest trends in the elearning sector. I’ve set my email client to automatically filter all the feeds to a folder and everyday,I set aside time to read on any new blogs that would enhance my knowledge about elearning. I also subscribe to other feeds from astd.org, elearningexamples.com and blogs with #elearning.

2)Invest and acquire books about elearning. In today’s world, it’s easy to acquire a book, either the physical one or the electronic type (ebook). As of the moment, the only hard copy of a book I have is Learning Articulate Storyline by Stephanie Harnett and so far, I recommend this book to those new to learning Articulate Storyline. As far as the concepts will be taken into consideration, I’ve downloaded several free ebooks from www.comlabindia.com, elearningindustry.com and iadl.org.uk that you can check out.

3)Surround yourself with people talking and practicing eLearning. In my case, I am exposed to eLearning through my workplace, where basically, part of my job is to write about elearning products and develop them. In your case, you can take advantage of the internet to do that. You can join forums on elearning, follow elearning professionals via the social media, and take part in communities that advance eLearning in your area.

4)Practice being the eLearning enthusiast that you are. One effective way to learn about something is to practice it. That’s what I’ve done so far. I’ve indulged myself in creating an elearning course to literally apply what I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter if you’re just good at one area: writing, or editing, or developing elearning courses. What matters most is that you learn and you practice what you’ve learned. You can also join #ELHChallenges at elearning heroes to build up your portfolio. The submitted demos for each challenge are really awesome that qliterally, it inspires me to be better at the courses I create.

5)Talk about eLearning. If you are interested about something (or someone), you talk about it (or him/her), right? Same with eLearning. As you learn more, share your knowledge to other people. It will not only allow you to reflect what you’ve learned but also give back to the community that helped you out when starting out to know more about eLearning. In my case, I use my blog mainly in sharing each learning nugget that I chew on.

So there. As a beginner in eLearning, learn, share what you learn and allow others to learn, just like what I’m doing. In this industry, that passion to learn more is the true foundation of being successful and being able to help others learn 🙂