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Design thinking supports learning in many ways

The LEAD project created prototypes of digital tools encouraging independence and participation, among other things.

Researchers and designers of Aalto University's Learning Environments (LeGroup) research group have explored how design thinking and ICT could benefit planning of learning practices and development of learning technology solutions.  Another goal of the two-year research project LEAD (Learning Design – Designing for Learning), was to draw attention to phenomena involving learning in groups and to make it easier to participate in mass events.

Design thinking means utilising methods in problem-solving that are familiar from the world of design.

– In Finland we have a strong tradition of data-driven decision making in education. However, many decisions linked with learning are so complex that data alone is not enough. Our goal in this research project was to bring forward human-centred, collaborative and experimental approaches to the process of thinking and planning the future of learning, says Professor Teemu Leinonen, who leads the project.

Five prototypes

Also emerging from the research project were five prototypes for digital tools. With the help of Opeka and Speld, teachers and schools can measure and analyse the use of ICT in teaching. Opeka seeks to provide a realistic picture of how ICT is currently being utilised in teaching. Speld, for its part, helps in understanding how a situation can be changed with the help of social practices that support teacher development. The results of the research indicate that a strong community in a school is an important factor in motivating teachers to use ICT tools and services in teaching.

Presemo is a tool designed to facilitate participation in mass events. It connects the audience and the presenters with a real-time communication channel, with votes, and their visualisations. Square1 and Feeler are prototypes of tools aimed at increasing the learners’ autonomy and awareness of their practices in learning situations. Square1 makes it possible to join mobile devices with each other to form a shared learning environment and Feeler analyses and visualises physical factors affecting learning, such as the amount of sleep and exercise that a person gets.

More information:

Professor Teemu Leinonen
Aalto University
School of Arts, Design, and Architecture
[email protected]

The LEAD project consortium comprises a research group on learning environments of Aalto University's School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, researchers from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), and the University of Tampere's Tampere Research Center for Information and Media. The project has received funding from Tekes.

Learning Environments (LeGroup) research group is part of the Media Lab, which is an international multidisciplinary academic and artist community comprising more than 120 people. Currently working at the Media Lab are four professors, five lecturers, and numerous visiting part-time teachers.

LEAD project blog
http://lead.aalto.fi

Learning Environments research group (LeGroup)
http://legroup.aalto.fi/

Tampere Research Center for Information and Media
http://www.uta.fi/sis/trim/index.html

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT)
http://www.hiit.fi/

Opeka
http://opeka.fi/fi

Presemo
http://ok.helsinki.fi/en/presemo/

Square1
http://lead.aalto.fi/2012/12/square1/

Feeler
http://goo.gl/MKjX7r

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