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Tag: design-thinking

What role does Design Thinking play in Learning Experience Design?

By Brian Salerno

Brian Salerno, Program Chair, Learning Experience Design at Brandeis UniversityIn recent years, Design Thinking techniques, developed and adapted by organizations such as IDEO.org and the Stanford d.School, have become increasingly popular approaches utilized to drive creative thinking and innovation within companies, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, educational institutions, and other settings. These Design Thinking techniques include a variety of structured activities and approaches individuals or groups can engage in to inspire new creative innovations, to guide the ideation and problem-solving process, and to explore ways to implement new ideas.

<<Join Brian’s upcoming webinar: Diving into Learning Experience Design>>

Simultaneously, the discipline of Learning Experience Design has emerged as the latest evolution of instructional design. Inspired by and infused with approaches from user experience design (UX), learning and cognitive sciences, learning analytics, interface design (UI), universal design for learning (UDL), and educational technology, Learning Experience Design (or LX for short) is a design discipline that emphasizes creation of impactful learning experiences that place the learner in the center. Learning Experience Design requires that we understand the personal, educational, and even professional contexts within which our learners reside, and to create a learning ecosystem that supports the whole learner and their educational goals. Successful LX Designers understand that an effective learning experience is about more than just content and assessment, it includes the visual and experiential aspects of a learning environment, the analysis of the efficacy of learning resources, the social and emotional domains of learning, and the tools and processes learners engage with in order to achieve a transformational educational experience.

Niels Floor, a dutch educator who is credited as being one of the earliest proponents of the practice of LX Design, describes the Learning Experience Design process as starting with a question or learning problem that needs to be solved, and continues with extensive research about the learner and the desired learning outcome, then the process proceeds with the design phase which includes idea generation and the development of a concept. Once the concept is solidified, LX designers move on to the development phase where a prototype is created, then the testing phase allows designers to ensure the design is truly learner-centered. Finally, after some iteration and adjustment, the learning experience is ready to launch.

If you’re at all familiar with Design Thinking already, these steps of Floor’s LX Design process should resonate because they are very closely aligned to the Design Thinking model created by the Standford d.School, which includes the steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Design thinking steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test

Source: dschool.stanford.edu

The “Empathize” step in the Design Thinking process closely aligns to the “Research” step in LX Design, as “Design” aligns with “Ideate”, “Prototype” with “Build”, and “Test” with (of course) “Test”. This alignment makes it easy for a Learning Experience Designer to draw upon a variety design thinking techniques to support their work building learner-centered educational experiences. Some of the Design Thinking techniques most commonly used by LX Designers include:

  • Persona development: researching and creating an aggregated and detailed profile of the learners likely to be engaged in the learning experience
  • Journey mapping: creating a framework to identify key interaction points in a learning experience.
  • Rapid prototyping: building a number of prototypes to help visualize what a learning experience will look and feel like when complete.
  • “How might we” ideation: a process for quickly brainstorming as many possible design solutions that you can in a finite period of time to foster creative thinking.
  • Piloting: a longer-term test of your learning experience design solution, to gather information about it’s effectiveness.

These are just a few examples of Design Thinking techniques that can be easily utilized by LX Designers to support the learning experience design process. All of this is simply to convey that while Learning Experience Design and Design Thinking are not the same thing, Design Thinking provides a toolbox that LX Designers can draw upon to support the research, ideation, prototyping, and testing processes necessary for creating deeply engaging, creative, and learner-centered educational experiences. Those of us who teach Learning Experience design as a discipline and utilize it’s methodologies in practice emphasize the importance of being responsive to the unique needs of the learner. Design Thinking provides LX Designers with several useful tools to aid in the creative problem-solving that makes learner-centered design possible.

Brian Salerno is the program chair of the Master of Science in Learning Experience Design at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies. He is the Associate Director for Learning Design in the Center for Digital Innovation in Learning at Boston College.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis University to add two online master’s degrees this fall

Programs to address critical need for skilled professionals in expanding digital marketing and design industries

WALTHAM, MA – Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) announced today the launch of two new fully online, part-time master’s degrees: a Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Design and a Master of Science in User-Centered Design.

The programs’ curricula incorporate the rigorous standards of excellence that make Brandeis one of the country’s top universities while capturing the latest applied technologies and industry best practices. Both 30-credit programs are designed so students can complete them in 1.6 to 3 years.

The M.S. in Digital Marketing and Design distinguishes itself from other degrees — particularly traditional marketing degrees — in how it blends together principles of digital marketing design, tactics dmd-heroand analysis. The program concentrates on the technical application of marketing theory in digital environments, equipping students with a rich toolkit for delivering sound, tailored digital marketing campaigns.

“Today’s businesses rely heavily on websites, blogs, social media and other digital content that are created and controlled by the organization,” said Steven Dupree, VP of Marketing at SoFi and the program’s chair. “Students will learn to leverage these assets, implement a sound media strategy, and analyze digital marketing data to make smart decisions that grow companies.”

The M.S. in User-Centered Design is geared toward professionals with backgrounds in human computer interaction, information technology, computer science, digital marketing, or interaction design. The program focuses on the psychological and other human factors that affect the usability of systems and should influence interface design strategies. Students learn processes for extracting user needs and requirements; developing concepts with wireframes/prototypes; and learning methods to refine and validate their designs through an iterative process.  Upon program completion, students will have developed a portfolio of artifacts that apply innovative thinking and a human-centered approach to web, applications or software enterprise system design.

UCD“Design-thinking coupled with leadership skills are the magic bullet that technology companies need to successfully innovate and produce world-class products and services,” said Blade Kotelly, VP of Design at Jibo and a member of the degree program’s professional advisory board. “This program strikes the ideal balance between theory and practice.”

In addition to the new programs, Brandeis GPS offers a post-master’s graduate certificate in Learning Analytics and eight fully online part-time master’s degrees applicable to an array of industries. All Brandeis GPS programs are asynchronous, providing students with a flexible and convenient approach to completing their degrees.

Students interested in applying for either program should complete their applications by Aug. 11, 2015. Students also have the opportunity to take courses prior to applying for admission. Registration for the fall 2015 term opens on August 25, with courses beginning Sept. 16. For more information, please visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

About Brandeis GPS
Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division is dedicated to developing innovative programs for motivated professionals. GPS offers 10 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and one online graduate certificate program. With three 10-week terms each year, Brandeis GPS provides exceptional programs with a convenient and flexible online approach. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver individualized support and professional insights.

 About Brandeis University

Brandeis University combines the breadth and scope of a world-class research university with the intimacy and accessibility of a small liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the nation’s best universities, Brandeis is widely recognized for the excellence of its teaching, the quality and diversity of its student body and the outstanding research of its faculty. As a leading research university and member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Brandeis fosters self-motivated, curious students ready to engage new experiences and equipped for global endeavors.

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