Transforming Constructivist Learning into Action: Design Thinking in education

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Andrea Scheer Christine Noweski Christoph Meinel


In an ever changing society of the 21st century, there is a
demand to equip students with meta competences going
beyond cognitive knowledge. Education, therefore, needs
a transition from transferring knowledge to developing
individual potentials with the help of constructivist learning.
Advantages of constructivist learning, and criteria for its
realisation have been well-determined through theoretical
findings in pedagogy (Reich 2008, de Corte, OECD
2010). However, the practical implementation leaves a lot
to be desired (Gardner 2010, Wagner 2011). Knowledge
acquisition is still fragmented into isolated subjects. Lesson
layouts are not efficiently designed to help teachers
execute a holistic and interdisciplinary learning. As is
shown in this paper, teachers are having negative
classroom experience with project work or interdisciplinary
teaching, due to a constant feeling of uncertainty and
chaos, as well as lack of a process to follow. We therefore
conclude: there is a missing link between theoretical
findings and demands by pedagogy science and its
practical implementation. We claim that, Design Thinking
as a team-based learning process offers teachers support
towards practice-oriented and holistic modes of
constructivist learning in projects. Our case study confirms
an improvement of classroom experience for teacher and
student alike when using Design Thinking. This leads to a
positive attitude towards constructivist learning and an
increase of its implementation in education. The ultimate
goal of this paper is to prove that Design Thinking gets
teachers empowered to facilitate constructivist learning in
order to foster 21st century skills.

Article Details

How to Cite
SCHEER, Andrea; NOWESKI, Christine; MEINEL, Christoph. Transforming Constructivist Learning into Action: Design Thinking in education. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, [S.l.], v. 17, n. 3, oct. 2012. ISSN 1360-1431. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 may 2019.
Design Thinking; education; learning process; Constructivism, 21st century skills