Design Thinking, Student Skills, and Educational Interventions

TalkTalk Plc Design Thinking Session, December 13, 2012 | © Courtesy of Ewan McIntosh/Flickr.
TalkTalk Plc Design Thinking Session, December 13, 2012 | © Courtesy of Ewan McIntosh/Flickr.

On September 10, 2019, Alessandra Molinari and Andrea Alessandro Gasparini have published an article entitled “When Students Design University: a Case Study of Creative Interdisciplinarity between Design Thinking and Humanities” in Open Education Studies.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


In their article, Alessandra Molinari and Andrea Alessandro Gasparini have argued that “design thinking and the humanities share a common epistemological core that enables them, if applied in educational settings, to play a major role in fostering students’ trust in their governance skills and in their ability to influence educational policies through a creative mindset and a deeper comprehension of the stakes in present-day higher education” (24).  As the results of their educational intervention indicate, interdisciplinary workshops on design thinking and student-centered learning are likely to lead to “enhanced self-confidence and decisional skills” (24) among students.

The workshop implemented in this study has been based on the theoretical framework of “Szostak (2003, 2017), as it offers a non-inductive definition of the nature of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, and it acknowledges the intrinsic bond between the interdisciplinary research process and creativity” (28). The workshop conducted by Molinari and Gasparini “took place in two morning sessions, in Spring 2018 [in a philology seminar program]. In Session one, fourteen students came from the philology bachelor course; eight from a philology master course and one from a humanities PhD-program” (36). Among the qualitative findings of this study is the identification in student-generated texts of statements that “might relate to the essential properties of the intentional meaning of philological hermeneutics (esp. empathy and creativity) and of utilitarianism (esp. the understanding of creativity in it)” (41).

Thus, this study has applied a qualitative research paradigm based on the methodological approach of Dilthey, as the authors of this study have sought “not so much to try to explain, but rather to try to comprehend students’ behaviors and decisions” (39).  According to Molinari and Gasparini, design thinking needs to be conceived of “as a ‘dialogical space’ (s. Culén & Gasparini, 2019), and, as […] [they] argue […], as a ‘dialogical learning space’, [which] is enriched by humanities’ millenary tradition of dialogue in that non-utilitarian perspective which acknowledges a human being as an end in itself” (48).

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: TalkTalk Plc Design Thinking Session, December 13, 2012 | © Courtesy of Ewan McIntosh/Flickr.


Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Design Thinking, Student Skills, and Educational Interventions," in Open Economics Blog, 19/10/2019, https://oeb.hypotheses.org/1086.

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