Rethinking project-based learning in a changing higher education landscape: design thinking as a paradigm for media making

    Research output: Published contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


    Design Thinking is an approach to the development of skills in creativity and innovation that is well established in the fields of design and architecture. It has similarities with other pedagogic approaches such as problem-based learning (PbBL) in that some of the core features of Design Thinking include the posing of ‘ill-defined’ or ‘wicked’ problems, solution-focused strategies, abductive reasoning, and practical prototyping of solutions. In the primary and secondary educational sectors (especially in the USA) Design Thinking has been used to promote creativity, team working and autonomous learning.
    The deployment of projects as a means of structuring learning in media practice education is a long-established practice and aims to achieve similar goals, even though it is often overly focused on assessable outputs rather than the learning experience. Such that projects become mere administrative containers for structuring activity and their use lacks a firm pedagogic foundation. As an approach which places creativity, innovation and critical thinking at its heart, Design Thinking offers a potential way into thinking through the experience of project working for media practice students that enhances learning and places process at the heart of its pedagogic discourse.
    The workshop aims to model the Design Thinking approach through the undertaking of a rapid-participatory-action-research activity. The aim of the activity is to not only model the Design Thinking approach for the purposes of knowledge transfer, but to evaluate the possible challenges faced in translocating this approach to a different field of practice. In this case that of media practice education as expressed through the framework of project-based learning (PjBL).
    The workshop will set a ‘wicked problem’ for the workshop participants in the form of a typical creative brief delivered to media practice students, in this case one recently used to trigger a L5 unit at Solent University. The workshop will step through the five phases of the Design Thinking process in order to illustrate the core principles of the approach while adapting it, through practice to a new field of creative activity. Further creative constraints for the activity will confine the problem-solving approach to tools and techniques commonly found within the field of media practice. At the conclusion of the practical activity there will be a rapid appraisal of the experience which will be captured for later analysis.
    It is expected that the outcomes of the workshop will not only provide an introduction to the Design Thinking approach but will also shine a light on any challenges that may be faced for educators wishing to transpose the approach to their own subject disciplines. The data from the workshop will be collated, analysed and evaluated leading to a rapid review (blog post) and later, the writing a full journal article is intended.
    [word count 451]
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2019
    Event3rd Active Learning Network Conference - Sussex University, Brighton, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Jun 201911 Jun 2019


    Conference3rd Active Learning Network Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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