Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks, including 7.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth.


Today’s workplace is more uncertain, ambiguous and complex than ever before, and this calls for a different approach to solving problems. Design thinking is an innovative problem-solving approach that uses empathy, experimentation, and iteration to create solutions to complex problems. It is a human-centered and holistic approach to innovation that can be applied to a wide range of problems, from product design to business strategy.

During this course, participants will explore and learn about the design thinking process and how this systematic approach to analyzing problems and generating solutions can be applied to various domains.  

Course Outline

  • Modules 1 & 2 - Design Thinking Overview: Understand design thinking, as well as the principles and mindsets that enable this different approach to problem-solving.
  • Modules 3 to 5 - Design Thinking Process: An overview of the methodology and processes, and its connection to innovation and other like-minded design practices.
  • Module 6 - Empathy: Understanding the needs and motivations of users through various research methods, such as interviews, observations, and empathy mapping.
  • Module 7 - Defining the Problem: Framing the challenge in a human-centered way, identifying key stakeholders, journey mapping and defining the problem space.
  • Module 8 - Ideation: Generating a large number of ideas through techniques such as brainstorming, mind-mapping, and sketching.
  • Module 9 - Prototyping: Creating physical or digital models of the solution to test and refine ideas.
  • Module 10 - Testing and Implementation: Turning the final design into a functional product or service, and testing it in the real world.
  • Module 11 - Design Thinking in Organizations: How to apply design thinking mindsets and methodologies to different types of organizations and industries.
  • Module 12 - Innovation Sprint/Presentations

What You Will Learn

Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the design thinking process, its stages, and the activities involved in each stage
  • Learn to empathize with end-users, focusing on their needs, aspirations, and challenges
  • Learn how to frame and define problems effectively, enabling them to approach problem-solving in a structured and meaningful way
  • Learn various techniques to generate innovative ideas, think creatively, build prototypes and iterate on their designs based on user feedback and testing
  • Develop a mindset that embraces experimentation, learning from failure, and embracing ambiguity. They will become more comfortable with taking risks and exploring new possibilities
  • Gain practical experience by applying design thinking principles to real-world challenges and projects. They will have the opportunity to present their solutions and receive feedback


The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Recommended For

  • Business leaders and managers who drive organizational change, improve customer experience, or develop strategies in a complex and ambiguous environments
  • People involved in designing or improving services offered to internal or external clients
  • People who would consider themselves early adopters, system changers, creatives, and those who adopt a ‘disruptive’ mindset and challenge status-quo

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Design Thinking
Online - Self-Paced
Apr 05, 2024 to Jun 28, 2024
Total Learning Hours
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Fee non-credit $1,045.00
Required Software
A webcam and microphone will be required for live sessions.
Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. There will also be 5 facilitated online sessions - days and times to be announced at a future date. Attendance at live sessions is required to obtain the full participation grade for the course.

The course site will be open at 4:00 PM Atlantic Time on the course start date.

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