Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Students learn 21st century skills (such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, teamwork and empathy) as well as design thinking methods and process as a tool for learning. During the course students also get an opportunity to reflect on their own learning journey and future learning desires, thus becoming more aware of their own ways of learning.

Credits: 3

Schedule: 04.11.2021 - 16.12.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tim Smith, Saga-Sofia Santala, Verna Kuusniemi, Mari Savio

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    During the course students experiment and experience different design learning methods by testing them, analysing the process and working together with a "customer". Each contact teaching session has its own agenda, following the design thinking process, and consists of group work, discussions, info shots, sketchbook work and design learning method testing activities. The final course projects are presented in the last session.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    In order to pass the course, students are expected:

    - 80% participation in class (incl. workshops, discussions, sharing in groups and final presentations of the course projects)
    - Weekly reflective individual tasks in sketchbook format
    - Design Learning project in groups of 3-5 students

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    21h contact teaching and workshops

    59h individual and group work

    80% attendance required


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    4-5 academic articles, teacher's presentation material and facilitated workshops about design thinking and design learning, learning by doing and prototyping materials such as papers, pen, scissors, tape, images etc.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    UWAS course selection criteria: Registration order is not the primary selection criteria for this course. In order to ensure that students from different programs and schools of Aalto University may take UWAS courses, the selection is also based on the variety of students' disciplines. Master's students are also welcome.

    Minimum amount of students: 7

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn II

    2021-2022 Autumn II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture: