About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3290-3298
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0908

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

DESIGN THINKING EDUCATION: FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH-LED, DESIGN, EVALUATION, AND ENHANCEMENT OF A UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSE

A. Withell, N. Haigh

Auckland Institute of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
Design thinking is an effective methodology for innovation and is an interdisciplinary area that is taught at an increasing number of tertiary institutions and universities. There is however, a relatively small but growing body of research on the learning and teaching of design thinking. Based on a desire to improve the learning and teaching of design thinking to first-year business students at a New Zealand university, and to use research as the means to achieve this goal, a rigorous research project was initiated. The research focused on the iterative design, evaluation, and enhancement of successive versions of a learning environment for design thinking - in this instance a 12-week course. Participatory action research, comparative case studies, and a critical realist theorizing methodology were used to help develop casual explanations i.e. the identification student attributes, and causal mechanisms and contextual factors within the learning environment, which helped account for students’ response to its activation. In turn, this led to the identification of potential enhancements to the learning environment.

This paper explores the background and emergence of design thinking, and its value within university-level business programmes, and provides a brief overview of the critical realist paradigm positioning and associated and methodologies that underpinned the research. The conceptualisation, design, and evaluation of a design thinking learning environment is described in detail, along with a critical examination of examples of findings concerning tendencies in the business students’ response to the environment. Tendencies include students’ overall apprehension before the course commenced, their struggle to adjust to an unfamiliar experiential, project-based learning approach in the first few weeks, and their challenge engaging with specific design thinking practices including roleplaying, problem-reframing teamwork and collaboration, which in this instance dominated their overall experiences of the learning environment. Examples of explanatory theory are also presented, along with a summary of key enhancements to the learning environment. We believe that findings of this research will be useful for other educators who are interested in teaching design thinking to business and other university students, and for the design of innovative and effective learning environments.
@InProceedings{WITHELL2017DES,
author = {Withell, A. and Haigh, N.},
title = {DESIGN THINKING EDUCATION: FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH-LED, DESIGN, EVALUATION, AND ENHANCEMENT OF A UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSE},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.0908},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.0908},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3290-3298}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Withell AU - N. Haigh
TI - DESIGN THINKING EDUCATION: FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH-LED, DESIGN, EVALUATION, AND ENHANCEMENT OF A UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSE
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.0908
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 3290
EP - 3298
ER -
A. Withell, N. Haigh (2017) DESIGN THINKING EDUCATION: FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH-LED, DESIGN, EVALUATION, AND ENHANCEMENT OF A UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSE, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 3290-3298.
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