Guide to design thinking for UX designers - Chapter 2

Design thinking courses for top UX design

April 29, 2019
list of design thinking courses online and in classroom

We took a closer look at the design thinking process in our previous post - now, it’s time to talk about actual design thinking training.

Designers from all sectors can search Google for large amounts of information on how design thinking became a thing, why it helps innovation, and how they can apply it to their own projects.

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We love that designers want to keep building on their knowledge and skills! But we also realize that learning a new design concept is hardly easy, and even though you can read a lot of articles on the design thinking process and theory, people can still end up confused or unclear on the details.

The problem is that out there in the virtual wild, all this information is scrambled and given to the designer at once, making it very difficult to grasp and interpret.

The alternative is to let someone else teach you the subject. The biggest advantage to taking any class nowadays is that you’ll be given information that has been selected and carefully organized for you, with your knowledge expanding with each class in a planned way.

Design thinking courses for innovative UX design

From getting to know your users to getting around your prototyping tool of choice – design thinking can be powerful. For all of you out there who would like to become an innovation master via the design thinking methodology, we’ve selected these awesome design thinking courses!

1. Design thinking for Innovation - University of Virginia

This one of the design thinking courses that is self-paced, and therefore can be completed quite quickly. Offered by the University of Virginia through Coursera, classes include the use of videos, readings and quizzes on design thinking and its application.

design thinking course at the university of virginia

All students must present and pass the final assignment in order to receive the certificate. This design thinking course is rated at 4.6 starts – by over 700 people.

Where: online
Tuition: $51
Duration: 10 hours – approximately 5 weeks
See the official page

2. MicroMasters program in design thinking - Rochester Institute of Technology

This design thinking class is more extensive, lasting for nearly 30 weeks! It’s long, but it’s certainly worth it. The program is made up of 5 difference design thinking courses, which are credit-worthy classes students can cash in at RIT for graduate-level education. Completion of all 5 design thinking courses equals 33 credits!

design thinking course at rochester institute of technology

Courses include design thinking fundamentals, empathizing to understand the problem, ideation and communication, prototyping and user testing along with a capstone. Students can take each course separately, at the cost of $200.

Where: online
Tuition: $900 for program
Duration: 30 weeks total
See the official page

3. Mastering innovation and design thinking - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Back to the shorter design thinking courses. This one, offered by MIT, lasts for 3 days only. As this is an in-classroom course, students can’t opt for a self-paced course. Instead, class is given in July – please check availability at the official website. This design thinking course can be taken alone or as part of a larger professional certificate program in innovation and technology.

design thinkng course in innovation and technology at MIT

Where: Cambridge, MA
Tuition: $3,600
Duration: 3 days
See official page

4. Foundations of design thinking certificate - IDEO

Made up of 2 separate design thinking courses, this certificate offers a great hands-on experience even though the courses are delivered online. With a focus on innovation, both courses aim to do more than just passing on the different stages in design thinking.

IDEO design thinking course website header

Tutors aim to pass on the right mindset for innovation, and to foment a lot of debate within their community surrounding creativity and design. Students can take each of the design thinking courses separately as well, at the cost of $399.

Where: online
Tuition: $798 for full certificate
Duration: approximately 2 months
See the official page

5. Design thinking course: the beginner’s guide - Interaction Design Foundation

Another one for the list of self-paced design thinking courses. This one, offered by well-established Interaction Design Foundation, is particularly oriented towards UX designers. The ultimate goal with the course is that UX designers are well-prepared to design better products, processes and experiences.

IDF´s design thinking course details

The syllabus is filled with great topics such as ensuring user-centric design, the power of empathy, getting the most out of user testing and many other useful areas for UX designers. IDF members can take the course free of charge and enjoy indefinite access to it! Students are also given optional face-to-face meetups with other members of their community and fellow students.

Where: online
Tuition: IDF membership
Duration: 7 weeks
See the official page

6. Design thinking in 3 steps - Cooper

This design thinking course, like some others on this list, is brief but substantial in the knowledge it transmits. This is one of the few design thinking courses that enjoys a 4.5 star rating on Udemy from such a large pool of alumni – 3,679 ratings out of over 17,000 students!

cooper design thinking crash course online

One reason why this design thinking course enjoys a lot of popularity is that the organization that brings it to students is somewhat legendary in the UX design sector. Cooper, the UX agency, was founded by Alan Cooper – a pioneer in UX design responsible for industry terms such as user personas.

Some of his books are considered top of the UX game for designers everywhere. Learning UX design from Alan Cooper directly is borderline priceless!

Where: online
Tuition: $194,99
Duration: self-paced
See the official page

7. Design thinking training - Brainstation

Brainstation’s design thinking course focuses on problem-solving skills, and aims to get students ready to understand customer needs – as well as creating prototypes that push the quality of the design upwards. This design thinking course tries to offer attendees both the theoretical methodology as well as practical knowledge of how to apply said methodology to any design project students may have.

design thinking course at brainstation

This design thinking course can be taken both in-classroom across Brainstation’s several North American campuses or online. Available campuses include Boston, New York, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver.

Where: Online or in-classroom
Tuition: available upon request
Duration: 5 days regular pace / 2 days accelerated
See the official page

8. Certified design thinking master - XDi

This is one of the design thinking courses that takes place in several cities at different times of the year – with all courses being taught in the European continent. With the very institution focusing on UX design, this course gives students all the basics while offering perspective on design thinking within the UX industry.

certified design thinking master by Xdi

Students are also taught some basic business skills that should come in handy for those aspiring product managers! XDi also offers corporate training and company seminars, making this a nice training option for businesses.

Where: Dublin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh
Tuition: €2.900
Duration: 5 days
See the official page

9. The complete app design course - App Brewery Co.

This class doesn’t have any entry requirements and starts from the basics – which makes this a perfect course for newbies. As you can probably guess, this class focuses on the design thinking methodology not just within UX design – but specifically for mobile UX design.

details of design thinking course by app brewery

Where: online
Tuition: $200
Duration: self-paced
See the official page

10. Introduction to Design thinking - Microsoft

Another one for the list of introductory design thinking courses. This one, offered by Microsoft, focuses on passing on the design thinking methodology and how students can apply the concept to their professional lives. Topics covered include how to carry out interviews and surveys in order to empathize with the user, synthesize ideas into a practical product and fast prototyping.

At the end of the course, students are expected to apply all this new knowledge into a final project.

microsoft's design thinking course

The cool thing about this course, aside from the fact that it’s self-paced, is that it is entirely free of charge. Only students who desire to receive an official certificate are required to pay a fee of $99. The estimated length of the course is 5 weeks, if students dedicate 3 to 4 hours per week. The course is distributed by edX.

Where: online
Tuition: free/$99
Duration: estimated 5 weeks
See official page

The wrap up

This list includes all sorts of design thinking courses – be it for the absolute beginner or an experienced UX designer looking to brush up on their design thinking skills. We here at Justinmind support designers in their constant development of both skill and curriculum!

We have no illusions as to the fact that people can learn for free on the internet. It’s not like you wouldn’t find information on the subject. In fact, we also have some design thinking books you might want to consider if you don’t feel like committing to a class on the subject.

But the crucial upside of attending a class on design thinking is that you’ll be fed information in digestible bits.

For UXers, try to consider the importance of information architecture in your designs. Just like new users can get overwhelmed and confused, so can you. When it comes to learning new skills, information architecture is crucial too!

Each new bit works as a building block on which your career can stand – you need to take care to place each block in order or risk an unstable structure. While the design thinking process can be fairly easy to grasp, learning how to correctly apply that to any project you may encounter is another story altogether.

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Rebeca Costa
In-house writer, usability enthusiast and patron of all sleep-deprived designers