Design Thinking for Learning Design Certificate

About this certificate

Want to challenge yourself to think more creatively and to discover innovative solutions? This certificate program will introduce Design Thinking, a human-centered approach to solving complex problems. This certificate will introduce you to the key terms and concepts, stages of design thinking, and explore strategies for implementing this concept into your current design practices. You will explore the key skills of empathy, problem definition, solution ideation, as well as building and testing prototypes. The certificate will include a hands-on approach as you work your way through the design thinking process with opportunities to discuss and receive feedback from your peers.

Who should attend?

  • Instructional Designers in academic, non-profit, or business settings
  • Those who may be familiar with design thinking methods and want to hone their skills in using and managing the design thinking process


  • Describe the five phases of Design Thinking.
  • Incorporate Design Thinking tools and strategies into your existing design and development processes.
  • Utilize the phases of Design Thinking to solve problems within your organization or institution.
  • Approach problem-solving with a human-centered mindset.

At a Glance

Estimated total time: 50 hours (approx. 30 hours of online coursework + 20 hours attending the DT&L Conference, including the face-to-face certificate session)

Online coursework: July 16-September 3

Face-to-face certificate session: Tuesday, August 6, 8:30-11:30 am

Fee: $1095

Completed certificate includes:

  • 5 CEUs (Continuing education units, 30 hours of online coursework and 20 hours attending the DT&L conference, including the face-to-face certificate session
  • Digital badge
  • Digital certificate and completion packet


Melissa Hicks headshot

Melissa Hicks
Director of the Office of Digital Learning
Eberly College of Science at Penn State, University Park

Officially, Melissa Hicks is the Director of the Office of Digital Learning for the Eberly College of Science at Penn State, University Park. Unofficially, Melissa is an instigator, motivator, and seeker of knowledge of all things nerdy and cool. She is a recurrent Penn State alum, having received a B.S. in Biology, M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology, and her latest pursuit…a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (expected in about 8 years). (Crazy, I know.)

She has worked in higher ed for over 15 years collaborating on educational initiatives such as curriculum development and online learning and exploring and facilitating the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning. In her current role, she works with a community of creative and curious educators and designers who really want to change the way they teach and infuse students with the wonder of science. Her scholarly interests are in self-regulation/metacognition, online science labs, and everything design thinking. She has facilitated several design thinking sessions over the past several years with a range of groups, from those wishing to transform an entire school district to educators across Penn State. When she is not performing her official duties, you can find her cooking, going on adventures with her basset, annoying her adult son, gallivanting across social media (@JustStormy), and singing off-key at her local piano lounge.