Why You Should Use Design Thinking

Why you should incorporate Design Thinking into your Learning Design process

Learning has shifted from courses being designed merely to solve problems to creating learning experiences.

When I was exposed to Design Thinking, I realised how many of these elements we at Game2Change were already intuitively making use of through our design of learning games and experiential learning. As a team, we then decided to dive in even deeper and to see how we could extract the full value of Design Thinking to hit the mark with our clients and to create better products and services.

We are so excited about this approach and how it improves learning design that we have decided to offer a Design Thinking Workshop as part of our first Learning Lab.

If you are in a position to challenge your own thinking and the way you design learning, then this methodology will immediately add value and benefit to your work, to your clients and to your learners.

We have summarised three key benefits you will gain by adopting this approach:

1. Understanding the Bigger Picture and Complexity of Solutions

Instructional Design is very focused on a linear model with inputs equalling outputs, whether that is through the ADDIE or Action-mapping methodologies. Evolving to a learning experience and a more solution-focused approach needs an understanding of the bigger picture and all the different components influencing learning.

Our challenge as Learning Designers is to expand how we frame both the problem and the universe in which the problem exists. This re-framing is invaluable to designing broader, more comprehensive, solutions.

2Hands-on Exploration

Design Thinking allows for hands-on, real-world exploration through the building of prototypes. This process is key to designing complex, nuanced solutions. These solutions are tested and updated with input from participants and within the environments that they are designed to be applied.

In Learning Design, we need more of this to test both our assumptions and the practicality of our solutions in an iterative way, with lower risk and investment costs.

3. Building in Empathy

When we are solving “people problems”, our solutions need to have a real understanding of the user’s perspective, their narrative and what motivates them. I have found that in stepping into a user’s shoes and really understanding their world, more options for design are gained and a co-creative relationship with targeted users can be developed.

This approach is essential when you eventually get to test and implement your learning solution. It means you gain far better adoption and buy-in where users who have been part of a design thinking process are more likely to be champions and to influence other users.
These are just three of the many benefits we have experienced and which have helped us to design even better solutions for our clients in experiential learning and games.

We are excited to share Design Thinking in the first of our Learning Lab series.

  • We will take our participants through the six steps (from the Amsterdam School of Design Thinking) in an interactive and fun way.
  • This will be followed by practical scenarios detailing how we have applied our learning design which will give you pointers and tips.
  • Each of our participants will then get a chance to apply and experiment with what they’ve learned. This will be similar to how you would experiment in a lab and our participants will have a business or a learning challenge that they need to tackle using their new-found knowledge.
  • Participants will each receive a toolkit and will start the process by brainstorming with other participants.
  • We will follow this up with two online sessions to present prototypes and to get feedback.

Each participant will leave the Learning Lab with the benefit of a practical prototype and a plan that they will be able to implement in their work environment.

Click here for more information on our Learning Lab or contact us on

011 100 7650


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