Teaching Design Thinking in times of COVID-19: an online learning experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the Innovation Management & Design Thinking course at NOVA IMS suddenly transitioned to a 100% online setting after only two presential classes, requiring adaptations to the learning experience, course materials and class dynamics. There were concerns that the learning experience would suffer and if it would be possible to promote empathy in an online environment. This study evaluates the impact of this disruption on the learning experience, student performance and engagement by comparing the final grades, applying two surveys and conducting in-depth interviews. Our results show that instead of a contingency situation, it turned out to be a transformative experience. Learning performance and engagement were not meaningfully affected, as students were just as able to commit to their innovation projects and produce quality outcomes. We propose that blended learning experiences will leverage the best of both online and presential worlds in the future after COVID-19 and offer specific suggestions drawn from the collected data. The results are valuable for lecturers – from any course – who want to improve their learning experience in the new reality after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’21)
EditorsJosep Domenech, Paloma Merello, Elena de la Poza
PublisherEditorial Universitat Politècnica de València
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-84-9048-975-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event7th International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd 2021 - Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: 22 Jun 202123 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Higher Education Advances
ISSN (Electronic)2603-5871


Conference7th International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Design thinking
  • learning experience
  • online learning
  • pedagogical innovation
  • problem based learning


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