Introducing design thinking online to large business education courses for twenty-first century learning


  • Carmen Vallis University of Sydney, Australia
  • Petrea Redmond University of Southern Queensland, Australia


design thinking, design thinking online, business education, twenty-first century learning


Design thinking can be broadly defined as a set of creative skills to understand and problem-solve ambiguous and complex problems, and a practice that places humans at the heart of the design process. Such collaborative ways of design thinking and design-doing are much needed to address twenty-first century challenges such as climate change. Design thinking methodology is well known for teaching and learning in design disciplines, and to a lesser extent, as an innovative problem-solving framework for business education. Typically design thinking has been taught and practised in physical settings and to a lesser extent online. While design thinking is also increasingly practised online, this is challenging at scale in higher education contexts. This case study analyses design thinking activities with educational technologies in a large undergraduate cohort of first-year business students. Eleven students and three teachers were interviewed to ascertain their level of engagement with design thinking with digital tools and to identify common themes that enabled or inhibited such practice. Student artefacts of design thinking are explored and compared to the interview data. Findings indicate that students may develop novice design thinking skills, process knowledge and mindsets in online and remote delivery modes, despite limited experience, technical and time constraints. Broader learning design implications of design thinking constraints in digital practice are discussed to assist educators. It is suggested that higher education adopt and support design thinking, as a subject and practice, more widely.


Download data is not yet available.







How to Cite

Introducing design thinking online to large business education courses for twenty-first century learning. (2021). Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 18(6), 213-234.

Most read articles by the same author(s)