Critical Reflection INF536

INF536 has provided me with learning opportunities associated with the design of learning spaces. In the first module this resonated with me, “design provides the vehicle to invent that story, and understanding of its rules of thumb will help us design ever-better spaces for learning (Wall, 2018).” This quote exemplifies my understanding and growth throughout the course.

I utilised reading time to immerse myself in the work of Brown (Brown, 2009; Brown & Katz, 2011; Brown & Wyatt, 2010) who discussed the design process associated with Design Thinking. Through this reading I came to an understanding of the sometimes messy process associated with Design Thinking but also the ability for Design Thinking to provide innovate spaces. As I looked at various learning spaces in my local area, I found the work of Seidel and Fixson (2013). They discussed the following framework for design changes:

  • need finding;
  • brainstorming; and
  • prototyping.

This research which was anchored in my pedagogical knowledge, at times, challenged my prior ways of thinking. I wondered how including students in the brainstorming and prototyping components of the process would work; especially when I work in the early years.

Through my challenges I came across the video in the course material on “How to Build Creative Confidence (Kelley, 2012).” In my notes during the video I jotted down an alarming fact. That 80% of children who were going for an MRI at this particular hospital needed to be sedated. Following the design thinking approach, the doctors and nurses used virtual reality technology to enhance the MRI experience for young patients and now only 10% of children need to be sedated. I began to question everything I knew about teaching and design through this one video.

I wondered about the students who dislike coming to school everyday…

I wondered about the students who dislike one particular subject so much they ask to use the restroom regularly…

In all my wonderings I began to question how design thinking could assist in these areas. If a team of multidisciplinary professionals, as Brown and Wyatt (2010) suggest, came together to assist these children, what difference could we make?

Within module 3, studio teaching and space design, design as a way of thinking was discussed. The module highlighted human cantered design again and showcased the idea that humans should always be our start and end point (Wall, 2018). Ann-Marie Parkes (2018), a fellow student, posted this thread in the discussion forum.

While I appreciate the function and innovation as part of a considered design process, I challenge the aspect of beauty. In recent times within new schools, I have definitely seen a focus on beauty rather than learning impact or learning need. My key learning from the subject is when designing learning environments our intention should always start with impacting positively on learner needs followed by allowing learning functionality.

This unit has allowed me to question my prior misconceptions while learning so many elements of design I had not considered prior.


Brown, T. (2009). How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Tim Brown. HarperBusiness.

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by design. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383.

Brown, T., & Wyatt, J. (2010). Design thinking for social innovation. Development Outreach, 12(1), 29-43.

Kelley, D. (2012). How to build your creative confidence. TED. Acedido a, 20.

Parkes, A.-M. (2018). My ideal concept of studio teaching and design spaces for universities.  Retrieved from

Seidel, V. P., & Fixson, S. K. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: The application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33.

Wall, J. (2018). Studio Teaching and Space Design. Retrieved from


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