Integrating design thinking into instructional design: The #OpenTeach case study

Ní Shé, Caitríona, Farrell, Orna, Brunton, James and Costello, Eamon (2021) Integrating design thinking into instructional design: The #OpenTeach case study. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. pp. 33-52. ISSN 1449-3098


Online education is becoming the norm in higher education. Effective instructional design methods are required to ensure that “ever-connected” students’ needs are being met. One potential method is design thinking: an agile methodology that stresses the importance of empathy with the student. The #OpenTeach fully online course was designed using design thinking principles and delivered in Spring 2020. This article reports on a case study which focused on the use of design thinking to design and develop the #OpenTeach course. The five iterative stages of design thinking (empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test) were integrated into the design and development of the course materials. The findings of this study indicate that the use of the design thinking process may be used by instructional designers to achieve empathy with their learners, which will ensure learners successfully engage and achieve the learning objectives of the course. Implications for practice or policy: A rich case study of the successful integration of design thinking within the instructional design methodology of an online teacher education project is valuable to educationalists who wish to follow a user-cntred empathetic approach. Instructional designers should focus on empathising with their student cohort to successfully engage students in the content that has been designed, and developed, as part of an online course.

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