The Top 6 Benefits of Design Thinking in eLearning

The Top 6 Benefits of Design Thinking in eLearning
Summary: Design thinking in eLearning is all about innovation, creativity and a change of perspective. In this article, I'll highlight the most significant benefits of design thinking in eLearning, so that you can determine if it's the right approach for your next eLearning project.

Design Thinking in eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Need To Know 

It's not hard to see why design thinking is quickly becoming the “go-to” approach for many eLearning professionals. There are a variety of benefits associated with design thinking in eLearning, for both learners and eLearning professionals, as it offers effective solutions to common challenges and ensures that the finished eLearning deliverable achieves maximum results. Here are just some of the most notable benefits you can expect to receive when adopting a design thinking approach:

  1. Gives you the opportunity to view a problem from a different perspective.
    Design thinking in eLearning shifts your design perspective. Instead of focusing on the eLearning authoring tools and learning management systems you are going to use or the ideologies you are going to incorporate, you are concentrating on the needs of your learners. You have to put yourself in the place of your learners to determine what problem they are facing and how you can remedy that problem by creating an effective eLearning course. This is a dramatic shift from many other instructional design approaches, which are usually centered on how you are going to convey the information, rather than what you want to achieve. By viewing it from an entirely different perspective, you gain the ability to look at the challenge facing your learner from a brand new angle, so that you can formulate a solution based upon their specific needs.
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  2. Allows you to delve into a problem to determine its root cause.
    One of the most significant advantages of design thinking in eLearning is that it allows you to get to the heart of the matter. Rather than relying upon data performance reports or the assumptions that clients may have regarding learners' needs, eLearning professionals get the chance to explore the problem for themselves. They can conduct focus groups, hold one-on-one interviews and ask learners to fill out surveys that give them insight into what learners truly need to take away from the eLearning experience. eLearning professionals are able to go out into learners workplace or explore their cultural backgrounds, in order to gain a clear idea of what is standing in the way of their learning process. Do they lack motivation? Are they unaware of the real world benefits? Is the current eLearning strategy missing the mark, and how?
  3. Encourages innovative thinking and creative problem solving.
    eLearning professionals are natural problem solvers.  By seeing an existing issue within an organization or a learning gap that needs to be filled in, eLearning professionals may figure out how to remedy the problem by creating amazing eLearning experiences. This is why design thinking in eLearning is an ideal match. It offers you the chance to use your innovation and creativity to solve the problems that learners face on a daily basis, either in their personal or professional lives. The process involves a great deal of brainstorming and formulating new ideas that can help to expand learner knowledge. By taking a design thinking approach, you can collaborate with other eLearning professionals to get their input and feedback, which helps you to create a complete eLearning experience for your audience. Even if the ideas you come up with don't end up in the finished eLearning deliverable, you were still able to exercise your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, fact that will help you to become an even better eLearning professional in the long run.
  4. Ensures that the final outcome meets objectives and client requirements.
    Design thinking in eLearning involves prototyping, meaning that the eLearning deliverable you end up launching is one that has undergone numerous rounds of testing and client feedback. As a result, eLearning courses that are designed with the design thinking approach are more likely to meet objectives and client expectations, as they had a direct say in the eLearning design and development process. Rather than ending up with an eLearning deliverable that misses the mark, you have an eLearning course that actually serves the learning goals it has been developed for.
  5. Results in an experience that is more effective and informative for your learners.
    An eLearning course that has been designed with a clear focus on the experience and outcome of your learners is far more effective and engaging for your learners. While content is important, taking the design thinking approach means that you keep a close eye on how every element of your eLearning course is going to ultimately achieve the objectives for your learners. The quality of their eLearning experience is not an afterthought, but an integral part of the development process from the very beginning.
  6. Enables you to continually expand your knowledge.
    Design thinking involves its fair share of feedback and course evaluations. Even after the eLearning course is launched you will be measuring the results and ensuring that your learners are getting the most out of their eLearning experience. By doing this, you gain the opportunity to continually improve your understanding not only of your target audience, but also of eLearning as a whole. You can determine which activities and tools you may want to use on your next eLearning project or use your feedback data to see whether there are any weak spots in your eLearning strategy that may need to be fine tuned moving forward.

Design thinking in eLearning can bring these benefits to virtually any eLearning deliverable. So, you may want to think about integrating this approach into your instructional design and development process for future eLearning courses, especially for those that deal with performance goals.

Read the article The Basics of Design Thinking in eLearning to find out more about the basic ideas behind Design Thinking in eLearning, as well as the stages involved.