Our goal is to introduce the design-doing mindset into the higher education experience in the United States. As as part of our research we discovered that design-thinking is now well known by educators. Teaching it, however, is another matter.
Problem Space :
Part of the challenge stems from difficulty in teaching project based classes, which is the pre-requisite for teaching design-doing in classes. Educators used to lecturing have to spend almost 3x the effort of as lecture-based class, upfront - even though the average effort is about the same. The other difficulty is that most of the teaching assets are made by designers for designers. Educators are still, for the most part, putting together their own design-doing teaching plans from scratch because the assets available online simply do not respect how explicit and timed things need to be for teaching.
Our bet is that IF we can make it easier to Educators to teach the design process, THEN they will in fact be willing to introduce design-doing into the classrooms RESULTING IN students learning critical skills relevant for their transition to Industry.
The embodiment of this hypothesis is the Cookbook : a collection of teaching "recipes" to teach design-doing in your classroom. We surface recipes from expert practitioners in industry and academia ensuring that the skills being taught in the classroom are relevant to industry. With a focus on developing the design-doing mindset and skillset, the cookbook refocuses the educator on facilitation rather than curating materials.
See the click-through storyboard : here
The cookbook approaches a design-doing classroom like a three tiered cake :
The bottom tier is classroom management - this includes forming, guiding and evaluating group performance. These are essential for smooth functioning of a class
The middle tier is design-led instruction. The educators chooses which design-doing mindset and skillset s.he wishes to introduce e.g. the mindset of empathy and the skillset of design research. This is inserted into a regular project-based class.
The top tier is real-world experiences which are overlaid on the design-doing experience. We know that design-doing is best learnt through solving real-world problems.
The cookbook provides teachable recipes for each tier including sample courses where the recipes have been integrated into full quarter/semester courses by different educators.
The highlight of the solution are :
- Teachable recipes, created by expert industry practitioners and educators : tried, tested, true
- Search for specific recipes or courses integrating recipes
- Modular recipes so you can start anywhere and be assured of finding all necessary assets to get going. e.g. Brainstorming may need a sample Point of View, which is provided as an ingredient.
- Sample courses which you can use to get off to a running start in your discipline and modify to your needs
- Community curated teaching resources - presentations, videos, white papers etc
- Creative commons with transparent attribution - if you create a recipe you become the author. If you copy and change someone else's recipe, you become the editor
- Discussion per recipe - so educators can share their experience of using a recipe
We know simply putting together an online resource does not a good teaching experience make. Therefore we pair the Cookbook with a ClassLab where we teach educators how to re-design their course to be design-led and include the Cookbook in that process.
The cookbook is a part of a larger set of interventions into the higher education system. This comes out of our primary research into the higher education system in the United States. We call this Project Moonshine :) See more here
Finally, everything you see has been validated by educators. We ran a workshop for 20 professors late last year where we handed them the materials in the cookbook without any explanation. The educators took it back, read them all and came back asking for more. We got feedback that the recipes are well made and desired. We also asked if we should stop or continue. Unanimously : continue.