By Erin Scully and Kinta Montilus

As the world of work continues to evolve and 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity remain vital differentiators for competitive career development opportunities, learners must be prepared to take personal responsibility for their learning process and outcomes. In order to support this focus on career readiness, learning designs must move beyond a focus on knowledge acquisition to transferrable skill development no matter the content focus. This session will focus on leveraging the design thinking process to inform learner-centered experiences that encourage and support effective learning strategy development and use to inform ongoing professional skill development.

In this session we will:
1. Define design thinking
2. Discover how learner empathy informs learning design
3. Demonstrate a shift in learning design concepting from a focus on content to a focus on learner needs, wants and professional outcomes including scaffolding professional skill development.
4. Practice with a brief hands-on approach aligning learner needs and wants to evidence-based design concepts using empathy practices.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be prepared to continue to learn about and apply design thinking practices to learning experience design. Attendees will also be invited to use their new skills to become increasingly more confident in more efficiently and effectively understanding learner needs and using that information to inform impactful curricular designs.

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