To support the introduction of Queensland’s new senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems in 2019, QCAA has redeveloped and revised senior syllabuses.

A Queensland first, a new design syllabus was drafted after extensive consultation with Learning Area Reference Groups (LARGs) comprising of practising teachers and academics, as well as stakeholder group representatives.

With the changes to the curriculum, senior design students will have the opportunity to use design thinking to envision creative products, services and environments in response to human needs, wants and opportunities.

The new syllabus envisions design as a complex and sophisticated form of problem-solving that uses divergent and convergent thinking strategies that can be practised and improved upon. We’re excited to announce the Asia Pacific Design Library’s (APDL) Design Minds process is the only Australian design thinking model to be included in the new design syllabus!

Over a two year course, students will have opportunities to use design processes grounded in problem-based learning frameworks. This approach enables students to learn about and experience design through exploring needs, wants and opportunities; developing ideas and design concepts; using drawing and low-fidelity prototyping skills; and evaluating ideas and design concepts.

The end goal is to equip students, undertaking design subjects, with highly transferrable, future-focused thinking skills relevant to a global context.

Design Minds was first developed in 2013; the research paper Developing “design minds” for the 21st century through a public sector initiated online design education platform by Christian Duell, Natalie Wright and Jo Roxburgh, on which the Design Minds model is based, is referenced in the syllabus.

In establishing the simple Design Minds design process of Inquire, Ideate and Implement, we evaluated some of the most recognised global design thinking methodologies including the Cooper Hewitt’s‘Ready, Set, Design’ (Smithsonian, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum 2011), Stanford D School’s ‘Stanford Design Program’ (Plattner 2010) and IDEO’s‘Design Thinking for Educators’ (IDEO 2011).

We sought to synthesise from these global examples a design process, that as Einstein would say, is “as simple as possible but no simpler”. What emerged were the three design phases Inquire, Ideate and Implement, punctuated at each stage by moments of structured Reflection:

Inquire: exercises related to research, identifying/defining a problem/opportunity, developing background understanding, setting objectives and developing a brief.

Ideate: exercises related to brainstorming, generating ideas and solutions to a problem/opportunity, experimentation, risk-taking and play.

Implement: exercises related to testing developed ideas, prototyping and communicating an end result.

During each of these phases there are also moments of structured Reflection to gather insights and allow changes and improvements to be made before proceeding to the next phase. This structured reflection is the most integral component to classroom learning as John Dewey has argued:

“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.”

For more on getting Started with Design Thinking, see our toolkit here.

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