New MOOC Unpacks the Transformative Experience of Design Thinking

04 November 2021

By Dave Hendrick

A new massive online open course from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business takes the powerful fundamentals of Design Thinking to a new level.

In “Experiencing Design: Deepening Your Design Thinking Practice,” Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka, working with her colleagues Karen Hold and Jessica Eldridge, helps learners unlock the power of design thinking by considering the transformational journey of the innovator him or herself — how Design Thinking can encourage those who practice it to become more innovative, empathetic and authentic persons.

Launching with an initial cohort on 8 November, the course is based in part on Liedtka’s 2021 book, Experiencing Design: The Innovator’s Journey, co-authored with Hold and Eldridge. In the new MOOC, the teaching team guides learners through the six key phases of the innovator’s  experience: Immersion, Sensemaking, Alignment, Emergence, Imagining, and Learning in Action.

For each of these phases, learners will explore the mindset shifts required to do design well. Participants will examine key behaviors that bridge the gap from beginner to competency, and deepen the skills to allow them to achieve design thinking’s transformational promise. Learners will also gain the chance to create a personal development plan they can use to help accelerate their progress through the six key phases of the design journey.

“Experiencing Design represents the culmination of decades of research and instruction, and offers learners across the world the opportunity to deepen their practice in ways that allows them to more fully realize Design Thinking’s transformational promise,” said Liedtka. “Whether a student’s primary interests involve problem-solving, venture creation or simply personal growth and development, this new course provides new tools and mindsets applicable to a range of design activities.”

In addition to Liedtka, Hold and Eldridge, learners will visit with thought leaders from around the world who will share valuable lessons and personal stories about how experiencing design has shaped their own careers. Other design experts sharing insights include MindTheSystem CEO Agnes Kwek, Fluid Hive President Dawan Stanford, David Kester and Associates Managing Director David Kester, Design Singapore Executive Director Mark Wee, and design strategist Sergio Venegas.

Since the launch of the first course in 2013, more than 2.3 million learners have enrolled in MOOCs taught by Darden faculty members, and the School’s nine courses have been translated in six different languages. Liedtka’s new MOOC provides additional depth that builds on her popular existing MOOCs, “Design Thinking for Innovation,” and “Design Thinking for the Greater Good,” which have seen more than 350,000 enrollments.

A separate Certificate in Design Thinking, offered by Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning, features three modules taught by Liedkta and launches 10 January.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia