Learning and Teaching Complex Problem Solving: the Development of Design Thinking Education

Project Details


The Ministry of Education in Taiwan released a new national curriculum (also known as the 108 Curriculum) to promote 21st century competencies/literacies. This educational paradigm shift, however, face challenges from the past educational practices. As content mastery experts, most teachers and students have difficulties understanding what competencies are, and how they should be learned and taught. This three-year project aims at resolving the above challenge – by developing a Design Thinking Education that fosters the learning and teaching of complex problem solving. Design thinking is a complex problem-solving methodology that received accolades from business and education innovators. Educators promote design thinking because it bears the possibility to transform learners from passive knowledge consumers to critical knowledge producers. In the first year of this project, we aim at developing in-depth understanding of how design thinking experts/novices tackle complex problems. The findings will help us better understand the development of complex problem-solving skills. The findings will also help us develop an assessment rubric for designing thinking education. In the second year, we plan to iteratively design a student workshop that fosters complex problem solving with design thinking, and theorize the design principles of the workshop with a design-based research approach. In the third year, we plan to iteratively design a pre-service teacher workshop for design thinking teacher education. It develops pre-service teachers’ competence in teaching complex problem-solving with design thinking. The design principles of the workshop will be iteratively modified and theorized. We expect four major contributions from this project. First, it contributes to a much deeper understanding of how complex problem-solving skills develop. Second, it develops an assessment rubric for design thinking education. Third, it develops principles/theories for designing student and teacher education workshops. Last, it produces workshops for students and pre-service teachers. The scopes of this multi-year project match the following critical research area: Learning Sciences-Foundations and Applications.
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/05/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Complex problem solving
  • design thinking
  • design thinking education
  • the learning sciences
  • design-based research
  • teacher education
  • teachers’ professional development
  • teachers as designers
  • 21st century skills
  • curriculum and instruction


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