Better by design: Design thinking, experiential learning and the development of a growth mindset in undergraduate classrooms.


How might design thinking — the interactive, human-centered pedagogical approach that has recently been recognized as a valuable strategy in the development of a creative practice (Brown, 2008) — complement existing approaches to experiential learning in higher education classrooms? This paper presents findings from a comparative study of more than 300 undergraduate business school students enrolled in a common first year marketing class, and reveals the ways that design thinking protocols can be mobilized to strengthen experiential learning in the post-secondary learning environment. The survey data collected from students participating in both the design thinking and the non-design thinking samples of this research study shed light on whether this pedagogical approach can indeed effectively foster the development of a growth mindset (Dweck, 2008), and on the relationship between the use of design thinking approaches, the resonance of reflective practices and the alignment of experiential learning goals in our classroom partnerships. In this presentation, I will discuss specific outcomes of the research study related to the phenomenon of design-thinking, and the way that design-thinking oriented learning strategies might contribute to the development of a growth mindset in undergraduate students within an experiential learning environment.