Skip to main content

Learn design thinking

A solution cannot come before a problem. A product has no purpose without a need. Design thinking enables individuals to take a human-centered approach to problem-solving. Learn design thinking with online courses delivered through edX.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is both an ideology and a process centered around understanding the needs of the person experiencing the problem in order to create viable solutions. By leading with empathy, designers can redefine problems, challenge assumptions, and understand the far-reaching implications of any product or service that may be developed.

Design thinking is based on four principles:

  • Design is human-centric

  • Ambiguity is crucial and informs experimentation

  • All design is a redesign

  • Ideas must be tangible for testing

Those principles help facilitate progress through each stage of the design thinking process. The stages of design thinking include:

1. Empathize with the user.

2. Define the problem.

3. Ideate potential solutions.

4. Create a prototype.

5. Test the solution.

Insights from the testing phase can require returning to a previous step, redefining the problem, or creating a different solution. The iterative process prompts design thinkers to anticipate more problems that need to be solved, which helps users with problems that they may not even realize exist.

Design Thinking | Introduction Image Description

Maximize your potential

Sign up for special offers, career resources, and recommendations that will help you grow, prepare, and advance in your career.

Browse online Design Thinking courses

Stand out in your field

Use the knowledge and skills you have gained to drive impact at work and grow your career.

Learn at your own pace

On your computer, tablet or phone, online courses make learning flexible to fit your busy life.

Earn a valuable credential

Showcase your key skills and valuable knowledge.

How to learn design thinking online

Whether they are simply interested in the topic for professional development purposes or they plan to pursue careers on new product development teams, learners can study design thinking with online courses offered through edX. Foundational courses cover how design thinkers formulate ideas and use the appropriate tools for solving problems. Learners can also choose to take courses that examine how design thinking can specifically be applied in different industries, such as health care, fashion, and manufacturing.

How can design thinking help your career?

The user experience is key to creating everything from a successful product portfolio to an efficient layout for hospitals. Design thinkers fuel innovation by taking the user's point of view and building products and services that address people's needs without wasting valuable time and resources. Professionals with the ability to execute on design thinking principles can gain a competitive advantage in a variety of occupations, from product designers and customer service agents to warehouse managers and hospital administrators. Explore how an understanding of design thinking can advance your career with edX.