What is Design Thinking, and How Does it Impact the Learning Experience?
[featured-image-full] Learning and Development experts are challenged by the task of creating and delivering content that is both engaging and informative. And while the time has come and gone for gimmicky strategies like “edutainment”, the demand for creativity in learning experiences remains steady. Creativity is a concept that is certainly difficult to bottle, but it is based on several key elements that can easily be built into your development phases. These elements include being open to new ideas, being playful with the content, generating lots of ideas, and testing them out to see what does and doesn’t work. Much of this creativity comes from a certain way of thinking, heavily based in design. Design thinking signals a shift away from the traditional slide-based eLearning experiences toward techniques in storytelling and gamification, experimentation in new options for mobile learning, microlearning, video and VR/AR technologies. This has resulted in a fast and sometimes uncomfortable shift in the day-to-day work for an instructional designer, but the foundation in designing for the user is what supports and helps to nourish more engaging and creative learning programs.
Understanding Design Thinking
At its core, design thinking builds more engaging and impactful learning experience through the application of several creative strategies. It helps instructional designers increase their creativity and their confidence when developing learning experiences rather than basic slides.  It’s about centering in on the learner’s experience at the point of ideation. Putting your designers in the learners’ shoes right from the beginning, imagining what the possibilities and preferences are right at the start. This focus on empathy is an important tenet of design thinking, and it allows the designers to really expand their process outside the usual day to day work.  
Exploratory Programs
There are so many experimental technologies in the learning space that it’s a real shame not to at least try branching out into the unexpected. For example, virtual reality provides the unique opportunity to bring your trainees into a unique environment. You can offer learners a 360-degree view of a workshop, of a specific place, or even have them interact with digital elements within their own workspace. This technology brings a much more hands-on, integrated approach to corporate training which can increase experiential learning, and lead to better retention rates. Give trainees the chance to practice and perfect their learnings in a virtual reality setting. Microlearning is another powerful tool because it delivers the concepts and information that employees need in less time for greater impact. What micro-learning comes down to, is taking a complex skill or lesson and breaking it down into smaller, more consumable pieces. Think about how you can be challenging your team to learn new skills, while at the same time not overloading them with content that eats away at their valuable work time. Micro-learning is easier to create and consume, often with minimal cost involved. Consider working with one of our consultants to explore different micro-learning activations such as micro-blogging, group chat, and video.
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Do your employees leave training sessions inspired and energized to try new strategies? Do they look for opportunities to extend their learning? Does current training improve performance? For more tips on how to get creative with your learning programs, talk to an expert in all things Learning and Development. Connect with the Clarity Consultants team today.

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