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Integrating Design Thinking into peer-learning community: Impacts on professional development and learning

Kongkiti Phusavat (Department of Industrial Engineering, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Achmad Nizar Hidayanto (Faculty of Computer Science, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia)
Pekka Kess (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Jussi Kantola (Department of Production, School of Technology and Innovations, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 22 November 2018

Issue publication date: 4 April 2019




This study aims to develop a pedagogy which would help a school become a workplace for learning and professional development. Essentially, this objective addresses the following critical question. How can a school become an attractive workplace where learning and professional development of teachers positively contribute to better teaching and learning for the students?


The research is considered as a case study. The pilot project or experiment has taken place at Mattayom Suwitserianusorn School which is part of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Design Thinking and Finnish practices have been explicitly integrated into peer-learning community (PLC). Design Thinking, through the use of empathy, helps highlight the interrelationships among motivation, emotion and cognition of students. Follow-up meetings provide insights into teacher’s professional development and impacts on student’s learning. The verification is based on award and recognition gathered over the past years for students and the school.


PLC helps improve a school as a place for learning and professional development. The significance of integrating Design Thinking is extensively discussed. The project shows how co-teaching can be applied, given a proper selection of a problem. Higher motivation and better behavior among students are noticeable. The pilot project reinforces the importance of PLC in the current pedagogical development as it helps transform a school into workplace learning for both teachers and students. Blending Design Thinking helps strengthen the sustainability of PLC, as a lesson plan should be revised according to the students’ background and needs.

Research limitations/implications

The study responds to the call by several international studies for better pedagogical development and in-service training for teachers’ continuous learning and professional development. More vigorous comparisons with other schools will be needed to help verify the study’s findings. This is due to the need to have a longitudinal study of PLC’s impacts.

Practical implications

For teachers, an understanding of their common interests and the recognition on the need to learn from one another is important. For students, an understanding of their psychology and emotional intelligence through the use of Design Thinking is highlighted. Motivation, emotion and cognition of students are interrelated and can help transform a school into learning space.


The study contributes to the transformation of a school as a workplace for learning and professional development which is based on the aforementioned pedagogical development. Also, Design Thinking helps strengthen PLC as an alternative pedagogical practices.



Phusavat, K., Hidayanto, A.N., Kess, P. and Kantola, J. (2019), "Integrating Design Thinking into peer-learning community: Impacts on professional development and learning", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 59-74.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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