Establishing a Habit of Learning

In 5 Steps

Establishing a Habit of Learning

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

to Empower Your Learners

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

If you don’t think your organization is creative enough to implement design thinking, think again.

Design thinking isn’t about how good you are at design tools such as Photoshop, but rather it’s about using human elements when figuring out how to create products that addresses the real needs of people.

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Using the design thinking process, everyone is a designer and design is everywhere – the way you plan out your day, the way you arrange furniture in your room, the way you match clothes. In the corporate setting, it’s important to find out and integrate the end users’ needs from the beginning, so that you don’t end up spending all your time solving the wrong problem.

As Degreed’s Project Manager Ryan Seamons pointed out on the Design Thinking webinar with Chief Learning Officer, it’s important to realize that design thinking isn’t something you tack at the end of a project, but rather, it’s a mindset. It’s the process of constantly trying to understand the user and the problem at hand.

This diagram shows you a simple framework for approaching a problem using Design Thinking:

Design-Thinking-Graphic

As you can see, this framework is applicable to many types of organizations. Earlier this month, I wrote about how a design thinking program at a local high school positively impacted the students’ confidence and creativity. Here are the 4 actionable steps you can take to implement design thinking and bring its benefits to your organization:

1. Focus on the problem to solve

Companies fail to effectively solve their problems or meet their goals because they don’t correctly identify the person or problem.

Tips for identifying the problem:

  • Listen. Put yourself in other people’s shoes or problem and think from their perspectives what the problem is
  • Ask questions. What is the problem? Who is it for?
  • Have un-siloed conversations. Engage with not only one but multiple people; sit in that area and aim to understand what their life is actually like
  • Stay unbiased. Don’t impose what you think the problem is or the solution. Be open-minded and you might find something else you weren’t expecting

2. Get design thinking skills on your team

In past, ideation phase of the design thinking process were typically saved for Project Managers or Engineers, but that doesn’t mean it can only be used by that department or function. Since design thinking is the mindset of asking questions, understanding and testing, everyone has the ability to do this. Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget for a new role.

Tips for getting design thinking skills:

  • Practice the mindset. Start implementing the process in your role whenever you can. For example, if you oversee onboarding, think about ways you can test a new approach or understand the new employee mentality by getting  feedback via survey
  • Foster interests in design thinking. If you have someone on your team who wants to take initiative and expand their skillset, make sure to nurture that interest, whether it is encouraging experimentation or reimbursing them for design thinking classes

3. Have more debriefs (or start having them)

This is the part that people have the most trouble with: it’s important to understand that design thinking isn’t a one time thing, but rather it is a process of iterating on previous experiments so that the product can improve and become better. However, learnings can’t be implemented if there is no feedback process.

Tips for creating a learning culture:

  • Be open about what went wrong. Set an example that it’s okay to talk about what tests failed and use that to determine what can be better next time.
  • View failure as learnings. If one approach did not work, it narrows down the list of possible approaches and gets you closer to the approach that will work.

4. Embrace the feedback loop

The goal of design thinking isn’t perfection, but to get the best answer possible. The best answer likely won’t be the first answer; thus, there needs to be a constant loop of getting feedback and testing new assumptions.

Tips for implementing loop:

  • Test and iterate as much as possible. Find new ways and angles to test your assumptions, you might come across something you would’ve never thought of otherwise.
  • Have feedback sessions often. When you embrace feedback, not only does it create a safe space to innovate but also by talking about it, it prevents the same mistakes made again.

Design thinking can help leaders like you to identify and solve meaningful problems for your organization. Like anything new, the process is like a muscle that you need to build and use. With a design thinking mindset, you can spend time effectively on solving the right problems and building things that will impact your organization’s success – and you can start now.

Who doesn’t love a good music playlist? It’s your favorite tunes delivered on demand.

But what makes working out to your favorite playlist so inspiring and endorfin-inducing? It’s that you likely have songs and music styles matched to your workout of the day (or WOD for all you crossfit junkies). Unless it’s your thing, Norah Jones isn’t going to be featured in the middle of your Body Pump playlist. No, you’d rather have high energy, pulse-pounding beats.

But there’s high probability that there will be a difference in your playlist and mine, and that’s called the ability to personalize. Learning playlists follow the same mentality.

Playlists are popular because they are personalized and yours, and that is the core of good curation. Curation for learners is about access to the right information in the right moment of time. The word “right” in relationship to both information and time are a key statement. It means everything about the content has been assessed for quality and context.

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Just think about your own habits – when exploring a new concept, you’ve probably asked a peer and then done a google search. At the beginning, you want the basics, the how to’s, the 101’s. But as you get more educated on the subject, you’ll need more in-depth information; perhaps a detailed white paper or a full course.

And taking it a step further, maybe you’ve come to know you’re a visual learner so you would prefer to consume the information in video format. That is a key difference between curation and playlists. With curation, you can customize and personalize based on your individual needs and style, versus a long list of content (sometimes aggregated for you by an outsider based on keywords) about a topic – aka the concept behind the simple playlist.

According to Degreed resident curation expert Caroline Soares, “Great curators are the librarians of our time – they filter for criteria, audiences, learning goals, objectives, structure, utility and know what to curate and what not to curate for their end users. Ultimately the goal is to focus the learner’s attention on what’s most relevant, timely – guiding learners with a spotlight to ‘read this first.’ ”

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Degreed does this through pathways which are organized learning experiences in any modality you choose around any topic or theme. Unlike playlists, with pathways, you can reach the learner on numerous levels through the creation of multiple lessons and sections within one pathway.

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Degreed empowers every user to curate their own, unique learning experience by allowing them to build personal pathways. Instead of waiting for a defined training offering or learning agenda from employers, curation empowers learners to quickly find relevant, contextual answers on their own. Much more than a consolidated list of resources or content, curation simplifies the experience, giving learners the ability to search, find, assemble and filter the best quality resources into a relevant learning experience.

Ancora Imparo

These two words are often credited to Michelangelo, the great artist and architect whose work is still considered to be some of the finest in the world. Roughly translated, ancora imparo means ‘and yet I learn’ or ‘still I am learning.’ What’s impressive about these words is that they came from Michelangelo when he was well into his 80s. He lived true to that mantra throughout his life.

Though he began painting the Sistine Chapel in his 30s, it wasn’t until Michelangelo was in his 70s that he began working on the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica. Thus, proving that the human capacity for excellence doesn’t have to run dry with age.

As a human being only two years away from entering my 30s, I find it hard to stay hopeful as what seems like a constant barrage of stories about the young and successful fill my news feeds. As magazines and websites pump out their various “30 under 30” or “to watch” lists, it’s hard not to feel depleted, like I missed my chance for greatness. Side note: Respect where respect is deserved: S/O to Degreed’s own Kat Archibald for being named as one of Utah Business’ 30 Women to Watch this year!

So if you miss the marks set by the world—if you’re not a super successful mogul by 40—does life just flatline from there?

I know I’m being dramatic here. Obviously life doesn’t flatline at 40. But when you feel like you still have so far to go, it’s hard not to feel that way. Especially if you’re going through a time of failure or stagnation. But never fear, it’s never too late to learn and Malcolm Gladwell is here to help:

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In his article, Late Bloomers, Gladwell unrolls the idea that there are two kinds of geniuses: prodigies, who bloom fast and bright; and late bloomers, who have to struggle through years of experience and failure before they achieve greatness.

For example, Picasso was a prodigy. He had innate talent from an early age and knew exactly what he wanted when he started a painting. On the other hand, the artist Cézanne, who started painting at about the same age Picasso did, was flat out horrible. People even told him so. But over the years, he began to improve. He had to experiment and put in much more time than Picasso did, but he eventually arrived at greatness. In a sense, he had to let his efforts and experience age like a fine wine.

History (and the present) is full of stories like Cézanne’s and Michelangelo’s. Stories of people who made great strides later in life. Stories the prove that those who continue to learn and progress will always have a bright future. That’s the hope we all need to have if we’re ever going to do our best work and make it through our failures. I’m here to tell you that hope is real. But you don’t have to take my word for it!

 

Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad, who was breaking records in open water swimming left and right in her 20s and 30s, didn’t accomplish her most coveted goal until she was 64 years old. As she stumbled out of the ocean and into the record books after a grueling 53-hour ocean swim, she managed to force these words out of her swollen mouth:

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Harland Sanders

Sanders seems to be the most common name that pops up as a late-bloomer success story. Most know him better as Colonel Sanders. He had a slew of failures, including a failed restaurant, before he sold his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. He was 65 years old.

Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, nicknamed Grandma Moses, was an embroidery artist for many years. But at the age of 78, after arthritis made it difficult for her to continue embroidering, she began painting instead. She was entirely self-taught, using whatever she found around the house to paint her early paintings. It wasn’t until age 90 that she was discovered and began exhibiting her work internationally.

Nola Ochs

When Nola Ochs became the world’s oldest college graduate at the young age of 95, you would have thought she was done. Nope. Nola WENT BACK to school and completed a master’s degree at the age of 98!

Harry Bernstein

Bernstein, who lived through incredible difficulty during his first 25 years of life, struggled as a writer for years. It wasn’t until he was 96 that his writing took off on the heels of his memoir. But that’s not all! He kept going and published two more volumes to his memoir in the following years.

Stan Lee

The comic world would be a very different place if it weren’t for the comics written by Stan Lee. But it wasn’t until Lee was almost 39 that he had his first hit with “The Fantastic Four.” And in the years after that, he created all that is the Marvel Universe. As it stands, movie adaptations of Marvel’s comics have grossed $8.3 billion.

Momofuku Ando

Though you may not recognize his name, if you’ve spent any time as a penniless college student, you’re likely very familiar with his work. As a penniless 47-year-old man due to a bankruptcy, Ando invented what we now know as Cup Noodles and Top Ramen.

Vera Wang

Wang was a standout figure skater in college, placing fifth in two U.S. National Championships. She even spent 15 years in journalism at Vogue. But it wasn’t until she was 40 that she really hit her stride in the fashion industry, opening her first bridal boutique. Today Wang is “arguably the most prominent designer of bridal wear in America.”

We all have bright futures ahead if we just keep pushing ourselves to be better. If you don’t hit your stride now, don’t stress. You have plenty of time to get there, and it’s never too late to learn.

“…sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.”

– Malcolm Gladwell

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.“

Peter Drucker

As our CEO often reminds us “Learning culture eats learning strategy for breakfast.” Every company has a learning culture, a way learning naturally happens on a day-to-day basis. Strong culture enables alignment and motivation, being a foundation for any strategy. The challenge is, specifically for learning, there are at least three main stakeholders to build your culture around. And their priorities don’t always fit neatly together. At some point, you need to choose which stakeholder is the focus. The 3 stakeholders are:

1. Learning & Development team

2. Business Leaders

3. Learners

There are pros and cons with any combination. Leave any one of these out and you’ll see problems. I’m not sure that the perfect balance of all 3 exists. Each organization will have a different need in where their learning culture fits. Therefore, every L&D professional should spend time evaluating these two deceptively simple questions:

  1. Which group is the current focus of your learning culture?
  2. Which group should be the focus?

 

We’ve developed a 20-question cultural assessment to help you reflect on what type of learning culture you have at your company. Enter your email here to get the assessment:

Here’s a sample of the questions you can evaluate:

  • Do business leaders come to you with problems that need solving?
  • How do business leaders and employees think about L&D? Is it “just training”, or more comprehensive?
  • Do Learners know where and how to access learning at your company?
  • Do employees volunteer to help lead sessions, and create or curate content?
  • Do you celebrate learning? How?

 

Take the questions and spend some time examining them. In part II we’re exploring the benefits and downsides of each type of culture, and in part III we’ll plan on how you can take action to change your culture.

The main question to focus on today is, “Where are you and where do you need to be?”

 

The Degreed Lens event in New York was an evening of drinks, dialogue, and debate as over 150 L&D leaders came together to discuss ways to reinvent the learning experience for their organizations.

As L&D professionals, our roles have grown and changed to include so many additional things like change management, restructuring, compliance, and culture. It’s clear that learning professionals have two distinct roles now; direct and indirect.

Learning leaders at MasterCard, Xerox Services, IESE Business School, and Bersin by Deloitte, shared strategies for reinventing the learning experience in both direct and indirect ways at Lens NYC. Here are 4 things they recommend we can do to engage our learners and immediately refocus the L&D conversation.

1. Stop worrying about “completions.” Steve Boucher of MasterCard left the audience stunned when he revealed that completions aren’t one of his KPI’s; he is more worried about increased capability. No matter how it happens, your learners are learning. The better measures of learning are using metrics such as usage, recommendations to others and impact seen by the employee’s manager, as well as employee retention.

2. Increase our knowledge as L&D professionals. Within L&D, we need to grow and redevelop our own skills sets to understand things like: curation, information architecture, design thinking, and content management. If you don’t have people within L&D that understand these things, training is going to get left behind. People are going to find what they need – it is up to us to empower them to do so efficiently and effectively.

3. Empower the learner to be in charge. Too often we are worried about our employees making efficient use of their time. Your learners are adults, who will find what they need, even if you don’t give them the correct resources. If an employee is out there learning, regardless of what or how, they’re learning and that’s what matters.

4. Remember: You have a willing audience. Your employees want to grow and it’s important to engage them in the ways they find valuable. Employees report that career opportunities are twice as important to them as salary. This means that as an L&D leader, you are responsible for your people’s career mobility.

You’re not the only one struggling to keep up with all of the changing learning demands. Each panelist at Degreed Lens reported being there too. And your employees will be forgiving of the rough patches if you communicate with them through it. And there are tools out there, like Degreed, to help bring it all together.

One final thought from Josh Bersin to keep you motivated – “People are not going to do exactly what they’re told. It’s reality. So you have to create an environment that makes them want to learn. And it’s key to the success of your business. The learning curve is your earning curve.”

Here’s an exclusive look into the Lens NYC event:

What do Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Tripadvisor, and eBay have in common? They are what Harvard Business Review refers to as network orchestrators.

Network orchestrators create value by connecting a network of peers; making things work together while solving the needs of the user in new and innovative ways.

Airbnb doesn’t own a single hotel, but they’ve created the technology that connects hosts with travelers and provide the tools to make the process as simple as possible. To accomplish this, Airbnb is an open system with a long list of integrations including: dozens of local payment systems, Facebook, Google maps, and mobile communication tools, all with a seamless user experience.

By doing this, Airbnb is revolutionizing the hotel industry. Uber is having the same effect on the transportation industry. This shift to open systems that can connect people and tools is happening across industries, and it’s coming to the learning industry as well.

 

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Lots of traditional (and new) learning solutions claim to be the one-stop shop for all learning, but today, the whole idea of a one-stop-shop for all learning doesn’t make sense, for organizations or for people. People today are literally learning all over the place – in live classrooms and online, on our own and via other people, and through content as well as experiences. This chart highlighting new research shows all the diverse places people spend their time learning.

HowWorkersLearnDaily

No one actually relies on just one provider or one medium for all their learning and development. To make learning effective, employers should pick and choose, mix and match, the best of all of it.

Your LMS likely contains some excellent custom courses and maybe lots of informal resources, too. You’re probably paying for great training programs from a handful of preferred providers, while new learning content pops up all the time, increasingly from non-traditional sources. In fact, there are thousands of  sources of content now, including podcasts, videos, books, and online articles. No matter how much content each one of these providers has, it won’t be the only place that people go for learning.

These days, learning happens all over the place with nothing to connect it all, until now. Degreed is connecting all the world’s best learning experiences – systems, content, and people – so they work better together. With Degreed you can:

  1. Connect your internal L&D solutions to the world’s largest collection of paid and open-source learning tools – 3M+ classes, courses, videos, articles, books, podcasts and more from 1,300+ providers, plus any other content partners your organization values.
  2. Connect employees to the content they need, when they need it, with playlists of personalized recommendations, goals, and groups.
  3. Connect employees with experts and peers both inside and outside your organization.
  4. Connect employees to more choices for learning with FlexED, the first flexible spending account for learning.
  5. Connect your organization to insights into all the learning that is happening in your organization, beyond corporate classrooms and LMSs.

As learning shifts to a more open system style with Degreed, L&D leaders have the opportunity to both directly and indirectly create true learning cultures within their organizations. By providing the tools that feed people’s curiosity and real learning habits, L&D, managers and employees can share the responsibility of learning, making it more effective and empowering.

Interested in connecting all the learning happening in your organization? Visit get.degreed.com or request a demo.

 

To help L&D teams better engage employees, Degreed recently surveyed 512 people to understand how today’s workforce really builds their skills and fuels their careers. The findings, which are summarized in a new report titled, “How the Workforce Learns in 2016”, might make you rethink three common myths about workplace learning.

The infographic below showcases these 3 myths and the truths behind them. You can read more about them here.

3 Myths in Workplace Learning

Admittedly, I’m somewhat of a newb to the world of podcasts. Though I have been a fan of audiobooks for years, I took my time getting into podcasts. Last year when everyone was listening to Serial while they ate their cereal, I was going strong on my serial habit of sleeping in and skipping my cereal.

Six months ago I finally caved and decided to give Serial a try. I finished season 1 in a week. It wasn’t hard for me to understand why it has shattered podcast records. And I only know that fact because of an interview I listened to last week with Ira Glass… on a podcast. I’m sincerely grateful for Sarah Koenig opening the door for me to a new avenue of learning. Once I was done with Serial, I couldn’t just stop. I began exploring other podcasts. Now I consume at least 4-6 hours of podcast content per week.

After I had worked my way through the most recent episodes of the podcasts I was familiar with, I got the the point where I had to start branching out and searching for new content. As I tried other podcasts out, I realized that liking one episode of a certain podcast didn’t always mean that I would enjoy all of the other episodes.

Originally, I just browsed for new stuff by scrolling through the top picks list on the iTunes Podcasts app. But that was time consuming. After trying out the search functionality on the app, I wished I could search a little better. I decided to look for other resources that I could use to further dial in my selections. Turns out there are some pretty good websites/apps out there to help you do just that. Here are a few of the best ones I’ve found.

 

Player.fm

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First up is Player.fm. In terms of topic-based searches, I probably like this one the best. For example, just look how it breaks out the general topics into much more specific areas. Searching through those areas not only yields a list of the top podcasts relevant to the topic, but also the most recent episodes from any podcast that talks about the topic. You can run this app right on your phone (Android only) for free. As an iPhone user, I just enjoy using the search features on the website. My favorite part is the “play later” functionality, which allows you to save individual episodes instead of having to subscribe to the whole podcast and then remember where the episode was.

 

NPR Podcast Directory

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The NPR directory only searches and references podcasts that are produced by NPR. This American Life, which is an NPR podcast, basically invented the system by which most podcasts produce content today. So it’s safe to say they know their stuff. NPR owns a pretty good share of the podcast market. You’d be hard pressed not to find something you enjoy from an NPR podcast. The site also has recommended picks and category search functions.

 

Learn Out Loud

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This site might not have the most elegant design, but it still has a ton of functionality. You can search through all kinds of categories and topics to find content that is interesting and new. A lot of content is free, but you can also access their premium content for a fee. And they don’t stop at podcasts, how do you feel about free audiobooks?

 

Stitcher

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If you’re a frequent podcast listener, you’ve probably heard of Stitcher. But for those who might not know, Stitcher is a solid way to find and curate podcast content. The name Stitcher refers to the app’s ability to “stitch” together multiple shows into a customized station playlist—kinda like Pandora for podcasts. You can also try pre-set stations that are curated by Stitcher’s editors. One of the things I like is how it tracks the movement of the top podcasts. Those insights into how a podcast is trending can help you find great content that you may have overlooked otherwise.

 

Audiosear.ch

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Audiosear.ch has some really awesome visual graphics that help you understand various metrics of current podcasts. For example, there is a frequency graph that shows you who the most mentioned people are in their podcast database. And if you are curious about how many podcasts Macauley Culkin is mentioned in, you can find that in their People Index. There is also a feature called PodLikeThat that suggests podcasts that are similar to your favorite podcasts and podcast episodes. For those who might want random podcast suggestions, there is also a Pod-A-Day email you can sign up for to get a new podcast in your inbox daily.

 

Hopefully at least one of these websites/apps will help you more easily find new podcast content that fits your taste! And don’t forget, you can track all your podcast listening on your Degreed profile!

 

 

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein
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We believe that all learning matters, and learning happens throughout the course of our lives. We’re excited to offer one more way we’re making daily learning easier and more convenient- the Degreed app.

You’ve always been able to access Degreed.com on your phone, but we wanted to give you something tailor-made to your mobile learning habits. Today, we’ve released the power of the Degreed app, here’s a preview of what it offers:

 

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It’s simple. We’ve simplified Degreed to its essence so you can dive in and start learning even when you’ve only got 2 minutes to spare.

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It’s convenient. You already consume a lot of content from your phone’s browser, but until now, you’ve had to jump through a few flaming hoops to get that content into Degreed. We felt your pain and have worked tirelessly to make it easy. Now just hit the “share” button in your browser, choose Degreed from the Share pop-up, and Save or Complete items.

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It’s social. See something you want to share with a friend? Push content from Degreed into Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, SMS… whatever you want.

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“People are increasingly learning informally–on the go. Everyone knows this. But what is new is the ability to leverage all of those moments of learning into something greater. To turn that into professional credit. To leverage it to learn new skills. To level up. Degreed’s mission is to make all learning matter,” explains our Co-founder & CEO, David Blake. “The Degreed app is an extension of that mission–to help make all of that mobile learning matter–in a big way, in your career and professionally with your employer.”

The iPhone app is ready today in the Apple App Store and the Android app will be on Google Play very soon (think “weeks” not “months”).

Download the app and take it for a spin, keep in mind this is Version 1. That means there will probably be some bugs hiding in there. If you come across anything wonky, send us a note at app@degreed.com.

How it all started

Not to be nostalgic about my education, but this is the type of high school I wished I’d gone to.

Earlier this month, I served as a panelist for Design Tech High School‘s Presentations of Learning, which is a 3 minute creative display by d.tech students that demonstrates reflection, growth & improvement in the practice of design thinking to the greater community (taken straight out of the pamphlet because I couldn’t have said it any better).

D.tech High School is incredibly unique in that it immerses students in technology, design thinking and project-based approaches in the classroom with personalized learning. Design thinking is especially prevalent throughout all the lessons, and all teachers go through training at the Stanford d.school before teaching a d.Lab class.

What exactly is design thinking and why is it so important?

Design thinking is a way of thinking that puts being human first. The process looks like this:

design-thinking-01

Notice that the first and fundamental step is empathy. You observe, ask questions, and conduct interviews to find out what the other person really needs. This is where your assumptions and biases are put aside and the listening ears come forward.

Then, you define the problem with a big picture perspective of what exactly the needs are that we’re trying to solve for, to ensure that we’re not climbing the ladder that’s leaning against the wrong wall.

With the constraints set, it’s time to ideate and use the imagination to come up with the craziest ideas in your wildest dreams that can solve the defined problem. This is where the students expressed they had the most trouble in – speaking up and not being embarrassed about their ideas.

Then you narrow down the ideas to a couple to prototype. This is where you get scrappy and mimic the product and experience of using the product. Common materials are cardboard, construction paper, post-its and popsicle sticks (my favorite).

Then you test your assumptions. When your assumptions are wrong, it doesn’t mean that it’s a failure. It only means that you’re one step closer to the right solutions, and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Design thinking is an ongoing process, not only in the sense that you continuously iterate but also that it doesn’t just stop at the classroom. Throughout the panel, questions were asked to encourage the students to think about how they can apply these concepts they learned from their projects in life and for the upcoming semesters.

I was amazed by the quality of the presentations, the creativity of the mediums they used and the variety of their projects ranging from animated gaming videos to organized camping trips to composition of a rap song (basically all the things that I’ve only dreamed about doing). It was incredibly high quality and almost unbelievable that there were so many young actresses, writers, comedians and musicians in the house.

An unexpected effect of learning

I was in for a bigger surprise though – the way the students described themselves before design thinking completely blew me away. Almost every one of their presentations started with “I was really shy….” and I couldn’t believe that was true when the student standing in front of me spoke with such confidence and ease.

That’s when it hit me. Design thinking doesn’t only change the way the mind thinks but it also transforms the personality. Being a part of the process led to confidence. Turns out that conducting interviews encouraged them to step out of their boundaries and speak to strangers. Working with others to define the problem facilitated collaboration and teamwork. Sharing all kinds of ideas took away the embarrassment and hesitation to voice what’s on their minds. Constantly prototyping and testing melted away the fear of failure. Having the type of environment to experience this led to more confidence.

Creating a learning environment

To sum it up, the students were encouraged to be bold. d.tech provides them with type of environment to experiment and fulfill their curiosities at their own pace. Classes also mirror this type of mindset, with minimal tests which can be retaken throughout the semester, leaving the rest of the time dedicated to learning by doing projects. Those who are at a slower pace than others get focused help on a specific topic they are having difficulties with and only move on once they understand it. Similar to pathways on Degreed where a variety of content in different formats (courses, books, videos, etc.) can be curated into a self-paced learning path to learn new skills, d.tech empowers personalized and self-directed learning.

From the transformations I saw in the students, it makes me think – what if the learning delivery method mattered just as much as the actual lesson content? What if learning was the core motivation rather than the occasional byproduct of rote memorization? What if education wasn’t only a tool to get into college and a job after graduating, but also a toolkit for life?

What would that look like? It’s some food for thought as we work together towards reinventing the future of education.

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