How to apply the 8 steps of design thinking to creating an effective online learning experience
The process of design thinking can be useful in creating online learning for two reasons: the process uses imagination in the design and taps into your creativity to deliver a unique and interactive educational experience.
In short, try everything and anything until you know it meets the intended goals and objectives.
This diagram provides a great summary overview of design thinking.
Here’s how to apply the 8 steps of design thinking for designing effective online learning:
To effectively design an effective and rewarding online learning experience -one must consider the audience and collect data that can lead to positive end result. Collect the data formally and informally - for instance, send your students a survey, conduct a focus group online and find out what your students want from the online learning experience.
- (Re) Frame opportunity
Now that you’re gathered the data, analyze the results and data. What does the data tell you? Dig deep into the data and also question the data - does the data accurately paint the picture of your learners? Begin to define the outcomes of this educational experience for your students.
You’ve brainstormed, sketched out ideas, wrote notes on a bunch of sticky notes - now step away from all of your thoughts for a bit. Sometimes when we step away from our ideas, we gain clarity to approach our project. Also taking a break will also give your brain a rest so that you can approach the process with a fresh and rejuvenated perspective.
Explore the possibilities with your course design and the structure of your content. For example, you may envision a large course with lots of quizzes and reflection. However, as you continue to experiment and learn your approach shifts. Instead, you choose to experiment with more interactive elements of design because that’s where your audience is leaning towards. Or you might instead choose to expand the original number of lessons you intended to create because the current structure isn’t sufficient to help students master the material.
5) Evaluate/Refine Ideas
Summarize the data and pick one or two key areas of feedback and apply that to your design. For example, if the feedback says that they’re looking for a specific lesson that you haven’t included then go ahead and add that in. The goal is to be flexible and open in your design process.
6) Rapid Prototype /test
Assemble the course content and structure and test portions of it with a small sample size. Find volunteers who want to give you feedback about your online course and take copious notes. Test it out on different audiences so you can get a range of feedback to include in your design; no single course can effectively satisfy students at all levels. The goal is to do your best to apply the insights and re-test to see if any improvements or changes resulted in higher engagement.
Now you’re ready to finish final testing to launch your online course. Double check that each lesson is in the right order, the correct videos are in there and the program is working and hit ‘publish’ or ‘launch’ so that your course is live.
8) Iterate & Scale
Examine the results and data to see whether your course is meeting learner’s needs. Check student’s progress and hold them accountable.
Two things you can do: set up automatic emails to students who haven’t started the course, are stuck at a specific part of the course, and reminders to keep going.