Crafting Impactful Learning Experiences with Design Thinking

Learning design is centered around the needs of the learner, just as product design is centered around the needs of the customer. Learning experience designers face many challenges while creating a learning journey. This is where design thinking, which is all about developing a human-centered solution, can provide the innovative framework to ensure learning success.

Design ThinkingRich, engaging experiences are the result of learning designs that take into account the learner’s problems and build a solution that checks all the boxes to resolve the issue. In the current remote working scenario, crafting impactful digital learning is paramount. Integrating design thinking positions organizations to develop even more effective learning. The following five phases of design thinking are key to human-centered experiences. 


The first stage is to step into the shoes of the learners to understand their perspectives and expectations for a learning journey. The design thinking tools for this phase include empathy mapping and journey mapping, using learner personas.

Empathy maps help gather data on what diverse user personas think, feel, say and do. User personas take into account the physical environment, socio-cultural influences, education levels, goals, personality, mindset, challenges, job roles, and responsibilities of the learners. Learner journey mapping ensures that all actions of the learners at various touchpoints of the journey are identified to highlight pain points and improvement opportunities. These insights help design solutions that engage learners, solve their problems, and align outcomes with organizational goals. 


The next phase is to define the problem statement accurately. The data derived from the empathy map and the learner journey map help articulate the precise definition of a problem, which is the first step in designing a solution. The four W’s approach of “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” helps identify the root causes that need to be addressed. A well-framed, actionable problem statement keeps the design focused and goal-oriented.


With an accurately defined problem statement on the table, it’s time to conceptualize the right solution. This is a collaborative phase that involves brainstorming and gathering creative input from various teams and departments. The goal of this phase is to collect as many innovative suggestions as possible. Ideation can go on for several sessions sifting through multiple concepts, to focus on a solution that addresses the learners’ needs. 

Prototype and Test

Armed with an innovative idea for a solution, now is the time for action. The chosen solution needs to be structured as a sample version of the end product. This prototype is shared with stakeholders for testing, and feedback is gathered on its effectiveness. In the case of learning design, a prototype can take the form of a storyboard or sample screens built using rapid authoring tools like Rise 360 or Evolve.

Even a small set of curated content for a subsection of employees can serve as a prototype for content curation for an organization’s learning experience platform. Prototyping and testing are intertwined and iterative, and many prototypes fail in the first attempt. Improvements based on stakeholder feedback help create the final product. There can be multiple iterations in this phase until the final version is approved.

With rapid digital transformation occurring at a global level, many organizations are adapting and developing new training for the workforce. Crafting personalized learner journeys using the principles of design thinking enables companies to deliver impactful training for needs as varied as onboarding, upskilling, refresher training, leadership training, sales training, systems training, and more.

To find out more about design thinking and how KnowledgeWorks Global Ltd. can develop successful learning solutions to enhance performance and ROI, please contact: