‘We are in a century where technology has seeped in all parts of our life. With increased mobility, instant communication, easy access and the world-wide web, we are often placed in unknown situations that require immediate analysis and decision making. Traditional approaches often seem ineffective in the new context and we require new tools and methods to solve a given problem’.
The above scenario holds true for every profession- be it science, research, business, etc. The field of education is no different. Being a teacher myself and having taught in a secondary school for a few years, I can easily say that teachers face a lot of complex problems and challenges that need to be tackled differently and more systematically. Be it with regards to curriculum designing, lesson planning, or enabling independent learning environment, the teaching-learning process requires a human-centered, problem – solving approach to develop different skills and bring creativity and innovation in both students and teachers. One approach that might seem useful in this context is ‘Design Thinking’.
I recently attended an experiential session facilitated by Pearson India that talked about Design Thinking. The event was conducted in Delhi, and I got the opportunity to attend it online and understand how it can be applied in various professions. The session marked the presence of Vikas Singh, Managing Director of Pearson India, Varun Dhamija, Vice President- Pearson Professional Programs and Joseph A Hopper, who is trained in Design Thinking and is the head of learning programs at the Pearson group.
Before sharing my learning on the concept of Design Thinking, let me give you a brief introduction about Pearson India.
About Pearson India
Founded with a mission to create better learning opportunities, Pearson is the world’s largest learning company with employees in more than 70 countries, helping people of all ages to make progress in their lives. It offers a wide range of products and services in educational institutes and to learners that ensure accessible, personalized and effective learning experience.
With great expertise in educational courseware, assessment and learning solutions powered by technology, its products and services are mainly organized around three key stages of learning – K-12 education, higher education and test preparation and, vocation and professional education. Established in India since 1998, Pearsons’ books and publications are used by millions of learners and teachers around the world every day. To know more about Pearson check Pearson India Website or follow their Facebook and Twitter page.
Moving on to talk about the insights I gained from the session.
What is Design Thinking
Design thinking, also called as solution-based thinking, is a mindset or an approach to learning and problem solving. It can be referred as a new paradigm for dealing with problems in various professions- be it business, research, education, innovation etc.
It is a formal method of resolving a problem, creatively and practically with the intent of an improved future situation. It involves starting with a goal of a better future result and then identifying challenges, gathering information and finding a solution by considering both the present and future parameters of a problem.
Design-thinking employs divergent thinking as a method to explore multiple solutions to a problem. It involves ideating various solutions (possible or impossible) and then applying convergent thinking to narrow the number of retained solutions and select the best approach.
Why Design Thinking in Education
Unlike the traditional approach to teaching and learning, design thinking encourages learners to take an inquiry stance and think divergently. In contrast to a purely analytical approach, this involves more structured steps like identifying and understanding the challenges , collecting information, generating potential solutions, experimenting and refining ideas, testing solutions and improving the same through feedbacks. It is an iterative process, circular in nature. When applied in pedagogy, such a method stimulates idea generation, enhances creativity and leads to ‘out of the box’ thinking and innovation in students.
The design process is quite impactful and can be implemented while designing a curriculum or course framework. Teachers can create teaching learning aids and material based on the principles of design thinking. This may help them plan innovative tasks that would develop problem-solving skills in student.
Since design thinking is a social process and involves interactions and discussions among peers, it can enable highly collaborative activities in and outside the classroom. Design-based projects allow students to work in groups and enhance team working, communication and presentation skills. Students learn to express their opinions and listen to other’s opinions, be receptive to untraditional ideas thereby welcoming innovation. Such an approach equips students for life thereby making them solve their everyday problems in a creative and innovative manner.
The field of education has to be modernized at every level and design thinking can be proved as a very useful tool to develop the right skills in students as needed in the twenty first century. It affirms experimentation, processing information by taking into consideration the real world, people’s experiences and feedback and applying creativity, critical thinking and communication. Such an approach encourages curiosity, constructiveness and reflexivity in learners.
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