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Design Thinking 101

Oct 30, 2018

Julie Schell is the Executive Director of Learning Design, Effectiveness and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Design and the College of Education at UT Austin. Julie and I met a while back, and we did some work together at a fantastic convening at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m thrilled to have her on the show, especially given her focus on teaching and learning design thinking and human-centered design.

Design thinking has hit a peak this year based on Google searches, Julie explains, which demonstrates that there’s a lot of interest in the field. Most of the people who are making these searches are unlikely to be formally trained designers, but instead are probably individuals outside the field who are looking for opportunities to innovate.

Julie is enthusiastic about these people being able to learn design thinking, and digs into how to go about that in the right way. For example, she points out that when you’re working with someone who doesn’t have a prior knowledge basis for what they’re trying to learn, you can’t expect long-term, sustained, deep learning to occur after learning in an accelerated model. She also emphasizes the importance of humans (and human contact) in learning human-based design.

Julie also believes that we have a responsibility to democratize education and strip the elitism from design, and sees part of her role at UT Austin as being exactly that. She talks in our conversation about how she does this and her practice with self-regulated learners who don’t have the privilege of enrolling in graduate programs at the university.

Tune in to learn more about all of these topics, as well as what a self-regulated learner is (and why that matters), some ways to facilitate self-regulated design thinking, the importance and four key sources of self-efficacy, and some great resources related to all of these ideas.


Learn More About Today’s Guest

Julie Schell

Julie Schell at the School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin

Julie Schell on LinkedIn

@julieschell on Twitter


In This Episode

[02:09] — What’s happening in Julie’s world in terms of teaching design to non-designers and human-centered design pedagogy?

[04:00] — Julie addresses some of the responses she’s seen and how they’re working (or falling short), as well as some ways that non-designers can learn about design thinking.

[10:36] — We hear about Julie’s thoughts on the forms that deceleration can take in learning design thinking and human-centered design.

[16:25] — What are some things we can do to satisfy the demand for a boot-camp experience but help with the problem of experiences that set people up to implement poorly?

[21:22] — Julie shares her thoughts on how we can set people up to have a deeper learning pathway and talks about self-efficacy, including its four sources.

[30:42] — What would Julie’s advice be for a faculty colleague who will be teaching in this space for the first time?

[32:35] — Dawan talks about one of the things that he stresses with new learners: the emotional moments that he’s seen, and the normalcy of those feelings.

[36:59] — Julie points out how making the struggle visible can be refreshing for students.

[37:38] — Julie shares her recommendations for someone looking to make a career shit and build skills in this area.

[40:26] — We hear about the importance of finding what the self-interested and self-transcendent purposes for learning are.

[43:53] — What are some books, links, or references that Julie recommends to learn more about design thinking pedagogy or self-regulated learning?
[46:45] — Where can people go to find out more about Julie and her work?

[47:36] — In closing, Julie points out that all design has an element of learning to it.


Links and Resources (Dawan Stanford)

Julie Schell

Julie Schell at the School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin


Albert Bandura

David Yeager


Design Thinking Has a Pedagogy Problem at SXSW EDU

Design Thinking Has a Pedagogy Problem… And a Way Forward by Julie Schell, EdD

Julie’s Design Thinking Pedagogy Reading List

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham

Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown and Henry L. Roediger III

Desirable Difficulties to Create Learning by Veronica Yan

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Hidden in Plain Sight by Jan Chipchase

Change by Design by Tim Brown

Prompt by Tamie Glass

The School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin

Extended Education at the School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin