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Design Thinking for Transforming Educational Practice and Student Outcomes

with Dr Bo Kelestyn and Dr Robert O’Toole (aka Dr Bo and Dr Bob)

Design Thinking is an enjoyable and social way of designing things together.

It combines creative and formal processes into an approach that may be used by us all to create designs that: fit with our needs, values and capabilities; stick in use for a reasonable time; spread to further people and uses; and grow our capability for further design innovation.

This learning circle will combine:

  • A survey of key texts from Design Thinking, design research and design anthropology;
  • Trying out Design Thinking workshop and project methods (the fun bit);
  • Reflecting upon our design challenges (e.g. module design, learning space design) and applying Design Thinking methods to them (for example, with students as co-designers).

The learning circle is running alongside the new IATL undergraduate module Introduction to Design Thinking, and we plan to involve the students from that module in the circle’s activities.

Dr Bob is especially interested in using technology to overcome the challenges of doing participatory design collaborations when people have few opportunities to meet physically. He will be able to spend time helping people to set up and use IT systems to support their projects.

Our ultimate aim is to see a set of exemplar Design Thinking projects undertaken by staff and students, with journal articles and a book as outputs.

To start this Learning Circle there will be a Design Thinking Masterclass on 7 November 2018 open to all, please see the description on the right hand side. This will then be followed by a Learning Circle meeting for Fellows only on 14 November 2018 at 9.30am. More details to follow shortly.

About the coordinators:
  • Dr Bo Kelestyn recently completed her thesis on the use of playbooks as a medium for Design Thinking in business.
  • Dr Robert O’Toole completed a thesis in which he created a synthesis of Design Thinking, the assemblages ontology of Deleuze and Guattari, and design anthropology. He then examined how this might be used to improve how we do designing at the University of Warwick.


Design Thinking Masterclass
7 November 2018
1.30pm to 3.30pm
Experimental Teaching Space, Teaching Grid, Main Library

In this masterclass we will consider, and try out, participatory design practices that may be used to improve how we design learning activities, assessment tasks, leaning environments, courses, all of the elements that make up excellent education. This is especially useful when designing with students, considering potentially risky design change, and dealing with poorly stated or conflicting design values.

If you wish to attend the Masterclass please complete the on-line registration form.