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How to Provide an Engaging Learning Program Around Design Thinking

Design thinking is the art of implementing elements from a “designer’s toolkit” to create innovative solutions and systems. When applied the right way, it can offer considerable benefits.

However, imparting an understanding of design thinking principles across an entire organization remains a major challenge. Getting learners to engage with lesson content is a key part of making sure they not only understand what design thinking is, but actually retain and benefit from the information.
So, how can you provide an engaging learning program about design thinking for the people in your own organization?
Here are a few things that you can do to create a learning program for design thinking that will engage learners and help to ensure they benefit from the lessons:

Use a Variety of Different Types of Learning Content

Just as design thinking is about creative solutions, the very content that teaches design thinking should be the same. Using just one type of learning content for employees can get monotonous fairly quickly—disengaging learners and minimizing the benefits of training.
Many employee learning programs fail to leverage the full potential of multimedia in their programs—choosing to stick to simplistic text lessons rather than putting in the effort of creating (or procuring) a variety of text, audio, video, and interactive lesson content and working it into a single learning program.
By leveraging multimedia in learning content, it is possible to address a wider variety of learning preferences among the employees completing the design thinking course. This, in turn, helps to engage more learners and ensures lesson content sticks.

Make Learning Self-Directed

Self-directed learning, or SDL, empowers employees to set the pace of their learning and to choose what kinds of learning they engage in. This helps to provide a sense of control to employees regarding the direction of their career development by allowing them to choose when they start learning and what they want to learn.
Introducing a self-directed learning program for design thinking can take some effort. However, the effort will be well worth the enhanced engagement and learning results that SDL can provide.
A couple of key considerations when making an SDL program for design thinking are:

  1. Incentivizing the Design Thinking Course to Learners. In an SDL program, learners are largely free to determine what courses they want to take and when. As such, it is important to provide an incentive or reason for them to want to engage in a course that may not sound applicable to them at first.
  2. Making Learning Resources Readily Available. Limited access to learning resources can severely reduce the effectiveness of an SDL program. By using online learning resources, such as short-form videos, interactive lesson content, and e-publications, it is possible to make sure that learners always have access to the lesson content they need—removing one of the biggest obstacles to learning.

Encourage Employees to Come Up with Creative Solutions

In between design thinking lessons, encourage employees to participate in brainstorming sessions where they can come up with creative solutions to common workplace problems. How does this help you introduce a design thinking program to your employees?
First, it creates an opportunity for employees to see the value in the course. By engaging in these brainstorming sessions, employees who have already completed a part of the design thinking course can show off what they’ve learned to others, helping to inspire more participation in the program.
Second, it helps to cement the idea that innovation and fresh ideas are valued by the organization. This can help motivate employees to bring forward ideas for improving operations and build interest in learning how to make better systems for existing processes—something that the design thinking course can help with.
Finally, these brainstorming sessions can be used as an exercise within the design thinking course itself. Here, employees can demonstrate what they’ve learned while simultaneously providing potential ideas for improvements within the organization.
By providing employees with a variety of learning content, demonstrating the value of design thinking courses to them, and taking advantage of SDL learning models, you can introduce your employees to design thinking courses in positive and impactful ways.
Need help with finding the right learning content to make your employees engage with your design thinking course? Big Think+ has scores of videos and other content from a variety of renowned design thinking gurus—like IDEO CEO Tim Brown and Rotman School of Management Dean Roger Martin.
Contact Big Think+ today to get creative with your organization’s design thinking capabilities!

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