That “Problem Space”

“A well designed artefact is embraced by its audience where as bad design leaves the user confused on uninterested” Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). Feedback from users of the “problem space” are that they are confused, uninterested and enjoy their learning more in another space.

The “problem space” is 200 metres of (not quite) open learning space. Really, it is 4 x 50 metre square classrooms combining to become an open learning space. Specifically, this area has been targeted to assist the accelerated delivery of a HSC Subject from two years to one year, using a team of four teachers to deliver the course to approximately 80 students. Teaching strategies include whole group lectures, optional small group tutorials and access to ‘quite spaces’ within the larger space to engage students in independently learning. All content is accessible via an online learning management system.

Too Much LightLine of Sight 2

Essentially, through the redesign of a new course we have enabled students to sit the HSC one year earlier in one subject. The use of Moodle and Google Docs ensures an interactive, reliable and collaborative virtual space. However, only fleeting consideration was given to physical space. In Year 1, we delivered the new course in the Resource Centre. This year, we did a ‘bit-part’ conversion of the “problem space”.

The space would benefit from some thinking because, for 18 months now, there has been little thought given to how the space can best support this new and exciting learning initiative. However, teachers have expressed concerns with the “problem space”; some being, shape of the space, inflexible furniture and line of site to screens. This has resulted in teachers utilising another space in the school for two thirds of face to face delivery time. This clarifies for me that we need a design process to develop a space which will support the effective delivery of this subject.

20140911_110216Line of Sight

Therefore, the changes to this “problem space” are unknown. In order to create a better space, I am not thinking small and immediate, but I am thinking longer term. What I would like to do is engage the teachers and a sample of students in a design thinking process using some of the principles and readings encountered in this course. In a sense, I would be inviting people to work in a team because design is inherently human and done best with teams of people (Razzouk and Shute 2012). I would be encouraging the team to ‘design for education’, and have a shared ownership of the solutions so the teachers and students have both the incentive and desire to use the space (Pilloton 2010).

Tim Brown states, “Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as functionality, to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols” (2009). These are the capacities I would be seeking in team members engaging in the design thinking process. Along with these capacities I would introduce the team to the elements of deign thinking (Kuratko, Goldsworthy et al. 2012) including flexibility, focus, inspiration, proactivity, humility and the understanding that constraints are a part of the process. In the end, it may just be that by immersing the team in principles and elements of deign thinking that they end up doing amazing things and surprise themselves about just how innovative they really are (Kelley 2012).



Kelley, D. (2012). How to build your creative confidence, Youtube. 2014.

Kuratko, D., M. Goldsworthy, et al. (2012). “The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.” pp.103-123.

Pilloton, E. (2010). Teaching design for change., Youtube.

Razzouk, R. and V. Shute (2012). “What is design thinking and why is it important?” Review of Educational Research 82(3): 330-348.


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