One of the popular definitions of ‘Design Thinking’ attributed to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, reads as follows – “Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
Design Thinking and Design are two different concepts or subjects rather. ‘Design’ is creating a blueprint of an object or visualizing an idea and putting it down on paper. Design Thinking is a technique which can be applied in various scenarios to improve productivity, profits and improve the experience of clients and customers. This blog post looks at the need to apply concepts of Design Thinking in eLearning and how it can help improve the learning experience.
The Stages of Design Thinking
The Design Thinking process has 5 stages- empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
Empathise – Listen to your audience, imbibe internal feedback as well.
Define – Clearly list out how you wish to achieve, what you wish to achieve when designing the course.
Ideate – No idea is too big or too small and innovation can come from the most unexpected of places. Be a good listener and seek ideas from all members of your team. ‘Meetings’ are not important, validating and executing ideas that hold promise is what matters.
Prototype and Test – Perfection is achieved with practice and stringent quality testing and there is no shortcut to success. So keep the deadline in mind, get your act together and build your course accordingly.
When Design Thinking principles are introduced into eLearning, one stops worrying about factors like the LMS or the authoring tool. One looks at the heart of the course, the core content and how it can help the learner use the course effectively and achieve the pre-defined goals on completing the course. Design Thinking also inculcates a culture of problem-solving and collaboration, which is a great asset for any organization.
We have all seen examples of excellent content being let down by poor design. In a fiercely competitive world it is important for companies to find their own unique voice and identity. Fifteen years ago the number of companies involved in eLearning in India was limited in number.
Today, every single city has a number of eLearning companies, big and small, vying with each other to bid competitively and create eLearning courses. Powerful software with in-built templates now gives anyone with a good command of language, stable internet and a well-equipped personal computer, the chance to create an eLearning course. Numerous freelancers around the world are giving some serious competition to companies and are actually creating a mini-revolution of sorts.
It is important for the design to be as non-intrusive, clutter-free and direct as possible. The target audience analysis and pre-defining of learning outcomes plays a major role as well in how a course needs to be designed. From the characters within the course to the placement of text, use of buttons and videos and voice-over involved, every single aspect of the visual element of the course matters a lot!
Keep thinking with a clear focus and spread your thoughts beyond pre-defined notions and mindsets; we are sure you will appreciate the benefits of Design Learning.
So, what are your thoughts on Design Thinking in eLearning? Share your feedback in the comments section below.