Archive of European Projects

Design Thinking Applied to Education and Training
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The competitiveness of economies is increasingly dependent on the availability of a qualified and entrepreneurial workforce. European education and training systems continue to fall short in providing the right skills for employability (Rethinking Education, EU, 2012). HEI and VETPRO will need to reposition themselves in the emerging learning landscape. They will need to experiment with new formats and strategies for learning and teaching to be able to offer relevant, effective and high quality learning experiences in the future (Redecker, C. et al., 2011). The education and training system in Europe need to provide students with high-level, employable skills and that demands for flexible, innovative learning approaches and delivery methods to improve quality and relevance of the education providers and enrich learning experiences and support personalized learning. A recent study on Innovation in Higher Education (EU, 2014) and a report from the High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education (EU, 2013) recommended that HEI´s should consider the need to: a. nurture an institutional culture to innovation that enhances creativity, stimulates openness to innovation and minimises resistance to change; b. develop and monitor curricula drawing on new methods of teaching and learning so that students acquire relevant skills for employability; c. introduce and promote cross / trans and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning fostering student´s entrepreneurial and innovative mind-sets (pilot experiences using Design Thinking are described as good practices). Design thinking (DT) is a holistic concept to design cognition and design learning that enables students to work successfully in multi-disciplinary teams and enact positive, design-led change in the world. Furthermore, design thinking can be seen as a metadisciplinary concept which “turns out to deliver a precious methodology for interdisciplinary creative work as it specifically complements mono-disciplinary thinking” (Lindberg et al. 2009). DT is, therefore, a learning tool capable of delivering “new skills”, many of the new skills - sense making, social intelligence, novel & adaptive thinking, cross cultural competences, computational thinking, new media literacy, transdisciplinarity, design mindset, cognitive load management and virtual collaboration are well identified priorities for the workforce – employers and organizations seek. The need to prepare the present and future workers for an increasingly dynamic society has long been a concern at different political, educational and organisational levels. This scenario offers an important challenge to the education and training sector. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and Vocational Training Providers (VETPRO), in particular, have a great responsibility in the success or failure of this adjustment. They are in the unique position to deliver the skills the market requires and the workers miss. Project D-Think aims specifically to prepare HEI´s and VET´s to deliver the transferable skills required and foster entrepreneurship learning using an innovative learning methodology. D-Think aims to promote a wider use of Design Thinking as a transversal learning tool by developing and making available an innovative digital course supported on mobile learning for education professionals and professional trainers. The project aims to: • develop a m-learning course on Design Thinking applied to education & training; • stimulate HEI´s and VET providers to renew their learning approaches and methodologies; • foster the cooperation between HEIs and the labour market and allow for the development of human resources more prepared to respond to the challenges of the labour market, able to stimulate the growth of flexible and innovative businesses in the future. D-Think project encompasses the development of a comprehensive research based on the Design Thinking Methodology and that will provide a baseline for the next stages of the project and, simultaneously, serve as a practical example of the application of Design Thinking Tools in a research and learning process. In the second stage, the consortium will work on the development of a Design Thinking Tool Kit, comprised of a set of learning resources to support the use of the methodology by European educators. The final stage of the project, includes the development of an innovative and interactive mobile learning course, for European educators. The course will be freely available as an open online course.
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