Use the five steps of Design Thinking to create a human-centered approach to problem solving in your LMS.

So, you’re onboarding a group of new hires. Of course you’re going to follow up and see how the training is coming along. You’re a Learning & Development professional. You know the value of feedback.

One person brings you a conundrum: they need to quickly find training material on the Learning Management System, but don’t want to bug their manager. How do you make onboarding content easy to find, to set up this new learner for success in your LMS?

Being a professional, you know that the way you get the right solution is by applying the right process. You need to use design thinking.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving. It follows five steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Working blind to resolve the direct problem doesn’t necessarily solve the core issue. For instance, you could move the onboarding material to the main page of the LMS.

But what if the real issue is that the content in your LMS isn’t well organized and easily searchable? Then the main page material displaced by the onboarding courses might disappear deep in the content library.

design thinking steps


The first step calls for you to think of the user. Consider the ways they look for training content, search around for it yourself and be mindful of the steps taken to get there.


Do a little research before you workout a definition. Make sure you can sum it up in a single succinct sentence.


Brainstorm and toss around your wildest ideas. Do a quick technology review: has training changed in your LMS? How do learners use the site? Don’t limit the scope of potential fixes.


Maybe it’ll take a simple explainer video, maybe a wholesale redesign. Whatever you think might work, give it a shot. Build a preliminary solution so you can get a sense of whether it’ll work before you commit to the idea.


The final and perhaps most important step. Run your ideas through the wringer and encourage beta users to give feedback. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to say something isn’t working.

Design thinking is an iterative process — go through it as many times as you need to get the best answer.

Keep the sage words of David Kelley, founder of Stanford University’s design school, in mind: you have to fail fast if you want to succeed sooner.

Learn to follow the five steps of design thinking

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