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The effectiveness of Design Thinking techniques to enhance undergraduate student learning

Ritchie, Jane, Tinker, Amanda and Power, Jess (2015) The effectiveness of Design Thinking techniques to enhance undergraduate student learning. In: Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities, 11th – 12th November 2015, Glasgow, UK. (Submitted)

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Students have access to an ever-increasing quantity and diversity of information, presented to
them in multiple formats; the challenge for them is to identify and use this data effectively.
Many undergraduate students experience difficulties in managing the knowledge that they
gather, in recognising the quality and authenticity of this information, and in assessing the
importance and priority of data. This therefore requires the development of strategies to
support their learning.
This paper explores the potential for using design thinking tools and techniques to enhance the
learning of undergraduate students of the creative industries. Design thinking is an approach to
problem solving that is a collaborative, iterative and reflexive process (Brown, 2008) and as
such is closely aligned to action research and action learning. Using an action research
methodology, workshops were developed to encourage and support the students in the
formulations and development of their ideas for case studies, dissertations and major projects.
The workshops were conducted with successive cohorts of final year fashion business students.
Within the series of workshops students engaged with the collaborative tools and techniques of
design thinking, drawing from their prior knowledge and their experiences of work and
placement to contribute to the development of each other’s ideas and concepts. The paper
documents the outcomes of the workshops; how the group discussion and subsequent reflective
activities, with peers and individually, motivated and supported students in the further
development of their individual projects. How the iterative process of presenting their ideas
additionally supported the development of their communication skills.
This study has demonstrated the importance of action learning in a collaborative context to the
development of student learning and metacognition. The collaborative tools of design thinking
have the potential for application not only to collective projects, but can also be used for the
benefit of individual student projects. Design thinking offers a strategy for tutors to; engage
their students in reflection, to encourage students to integrate their knowledge and experience,
to demonstrate the benefits of collaboration and to build students’ communication skills. The
development of these abilities and skills is fundamental to the readiness of students for
employment on graduation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
Schools: School of Art, Design and Architecture
School of Human and Health Sciences > Institute for Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 19 May 2015 14:55
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:45


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