Design Thinking at Scale II: Investigating the MOOC Potential for Design Thinking Training

 PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel


The emergence of design thinking as a discipline (Withell and Haigh, 2013) and its gradual yet increasing uptake by MOOC providers, raises the question about how compatible such courses are with a real life design thinking learning experience? Evaluating the existing design thinking MOOCs from the perspective of their pedagogical practices and content, looking into design thinking courses offered by D-School Potsdam and d.school Stanford, conducting interviews with both experts and students concerning the most important aspects of learning design thinking, along with reviewing the related body of literature on e-learning and CSCL indicate an existing gap between the learning experience of an online and real life design thinking course. Thus the project team “Design Thinking at Scale” does not aim to translate a real life design thinking course to an online environment, but to better support the design thinking learning experience in both online and offline domain.

The project team sets the goal to introduce a new digital solution to support the important phase of inspiration (Brown and Wyatt, 2010) - called understand and observe at D-School and Empathize at d.school. The reason for this choice of process phase is that as a very first step, it allows designers to discover new opportunities as well as to gain new insights about people for whom they will design solutions. Moreover the data gathered in this phase (e.g. interviews, observation notes, artefacts) are crucial to guide the design team towards a user-centered solution.

After identifying the needs of design thinking teams during this phase, we propose, prototype and test a digital solution with teams in online and real life settings.