Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D?

Design thinking – what does it mean to L&D?

It doesn’t matter what learning theory or approach you follow, at some point those involved in the L&D world will have to…well…design something. Even if it’s informal or social, there is some kind of design involved, and there’s no denying that design thinking is a current media darling. It may show up as “UX” or usability/user design, which tends to live in the web development (or digital product development) world, or game design, fashion design, graphic design, behavior design…if you think of all the places that “design” can show up, it’s fairly ubiquitous.

What is design thinking?

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO, who are leaders in design thinking. They’ve even produced a whole “Design thinking for educators” site: complete with free toolkit and helpful articles about design thinking. Their perspective is that design thinking is a mindset.


“…is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context. While design thinking has become part of the popular lexicon in contemporary design and engineering practice, as well as business and management, its broader use in describing a particular style of creative thinking-in-action is having an increasing influence on twenty-first century education across disciplines.” (

The d-school at Stanford uses this approach, which is summarized in this graphic:

design thinking process

They share their approach in this PDF:

Sam Burrough (@burrough) presented a great webinar for LPI – which you can watch for free here:

You can see more design thinking ideas, resources and suggestions in the “Scoop-it” Sam’s curated:

Learning Design thinking

More perspectives on design thinking

Think about design thinking and how it impacts your work. Come to the chat on Sept 19th and share your thoughts.

3 thoughts on “Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D?

  1. Pingback: Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D? | fred zimny's serve4impact

  2. Pingback: Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D? | Ed...

  3. Pingback: Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D? | L&...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s