Design Manifesto: Five Guiding Design Principles

Design Manifesto
Five Guiding Design Principles

The following five design principles are a product of teamwork built on problem-solving during the Design Thinking Challenge: A Solution to Teacher Burnout and Well-Being during the COVID-19 pandemic. As York and Ertmer note, designers “engage in problem-solving throughout the ID process, using principles derived from a multitude of sources” (2020, p.171).

As my teammate and I can attest, this process began with one empathy interview (Doorley et al, 2018), and extended into a repertoire of tools to not only provide a solution to the design process but to authentically address and provide tangible support for the actors involved. I offer the following as a final iteration of the design thinking process.  

Principle 1 – Listen and Acknowledge
Ask: Who are we designing for? What are their needs?
Develop: Create opportunities for dialogue. Offer varying discourses for different entry points. Compassionately and empathetically seek out the lived experiences of actors to acquire shared knowledge.
Goal: Share knowledge to inform design.

Principle 2 – Address and Adapt
Ask: What do we think? What can we come up with? What can be accomplished?
Develop: Create various settings for collaboration. Discuss knowledge gained in the questions, and consider goals.
Goal: Collaborate to co-create.

Principle 3 – Strive for Better
Ask: What do we know? How can we use it?
Develop: Look to the past for precedent (Boling, 2010), and speak to the present by asking authentic questions. Look back to inform the present. Share lived experiences to acquire shared knowledge and to develop a Community of Practice (CoP) (Cousin & Deepwell, 2005).
Goal: Learn from the past, don’t repeat it.

Principle 4Make it Inclusive
Ask: Are we designing with a culturally safe and inclusive mindset?
Develop: Provide opportunities for feedback, through both open dialogue and anonymous feedback. Accept and acknowledge feedback to support all members.
Goal: Support members for fair and equitable contribution; build community.

Principle 5 – Intention
Ask: Are we designing with intent?
Develop: Make intentional choices, be clear and concise. Use effective tools and resources to support members. Provide opportunities for reflection, assessments, and meaningful engagement.
Goal: Transparency.




Boling, E. (2010). The need for design cases: Disseminating design knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1).
Doorley et al. (2018). Design Thinking Bootcamp Bootleg. Adapted from Hasso Plattner
Institute for Design, Stanford University.

York, C. S., & Ertmer, P. A. (2016). Examining instructional design principles applied by
experienced designers in practice. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 29(2), 169–192.

Design Thinking Challenge: A Solution to Teacher E-Learning Burnout and Well-Being

For this Team Design Challenge, London and I partnered up to address teacher burnout and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of our solution we created a slide deck for professional development, Design Solutions for Teaching E-Learning Burnout and Maintaining Well-Being, as well as a Digital Toolbox for strategies and tools that teachers and students can access when teaching and learning online.

Teaching in the twenty-first century has presented ubiquitous challenges for teachers and students. With unprecedented times, teachers are being asked to take on additional roles and responsibilities, such as; counselors, mediators, social workers, and technologists. Teacher shortages are not uncommon. Teachers are under more stress than ever before as front-line support for students (Crichton & Kinsel, 2021). Osher et al. (2019) claimed that “teacher-reported stress is among the highest (46% of teachers reported great daily stress) of all occupation groups including nurses and physicians” (p. 211). Osher et al. stated that 59% of teachers claim to be under significant stress. With the looming return to online learning, it is now more important than ever to address teacher and student well-being to reduce burnout. Through an educational lens, design thinking principles were applied to derive a solution to teaching students engaging lessons while maintaining teacher and student well-being without reaching burnout. 

Schwab et al. (1986) defined teacher burnout as “a condition caused by depersonalization, exhaustion, and a diminished sense of accomplishment (as cited in Haberman, 2005, p. 153). Kokkinos (2007) suggested the burnout occurs as a result of “complex interactions between individuals characteristics and issues in the work environment” (p. 230). Teachers often have empathetic qualities that leave them susceptible to the stressors that lead to burnout. The prominent factors that influence teacher burnout include “interpersonal demands, lack of professional recognition, discipline problems in the classroom, the diversity of tasks required, bureaucracy, lack of support, workload, time pressure, the amount of paperwork required and lack of resources provided (Kokkinos, 2007, p. 230). Understanding what creates teacher burnout was the foundation in the design thinking process for building a solution to prevent teacher burnout. 

Additionally, a solution to teacher burnout promotes student well-being. If teachers are unwell, they can not teach their students to the best of their ability. Haberman (2005) claimed “when teachers feel good about their work, and student achievement rises” (p. 154), therefore teachers’ perception of their work directly reflects how students participate in their learning. Focusing on teacher well-being is a beneficial place to start to increase student achievement. Osher (2007) suggests that supporting teachers to develop social and emotional competencies (SEC) effectively helps teachers manage learning environments to “create a more productive and engaging environment” (p. 211) for students. Haberman (2005) argued that teachers “with low coping skills were most at risk of burnout or leaving” Our solution works towards providing teachers with a toolbox of strategies to help them overcome the stressors of teaching in a digital learning environment to prevent teacher burnout. 

The proposed solution is to equip teachers with the tools and strategies to acquire social and emotional competencies to support their well-being and engage students in learning. It can be thought of as a toolbox. Each tool can help teachers “fix” a problem. Tools in the teacher burnout toolbox include information and communication technologies (ICTs), self-care strategies, signs of burnout, and mental health resources.

Our approach was to consider design thinking as an ecosystem that emphasized the importance of identifying the impacts of shifting to remote online teaching and learning. Our primary focus was on how these impacts directly affected teachers and students. In response to the stress and anxiety, and multiple roles educators are required to take on during COVID-19 (Crichton & Kinsel, 2021), we wondered how we could best help teachers adapt to this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment (Pultoo & Oojorah, 2020), while maintaining well-being. Specifically, we wanted to address the consequences of a complete destabilization of the learning environment:

Teachers were placed in complex situations, both personally and professionally. They are the front-line support for many students, and as teaching moved online and into homes, educators were required to provide emotional support, tech support, and education not only to the students but the families as well. (Crichton & Kinsel, 2021, p.12-13)

We began by acknowledging the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges (SWOC) in online learning during crises (Dhawan, 2020). Our respective teaching experiences provided a base from which we were able to derive a foundation supported by literature supporting the benefits of teacher training and the role of working conditions in creating a sustainable sense of success (Kraft et al., 2021). For example, in their 2020 study on the United States teacher working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kraft et al. surveyed 7,841 teachers across 206 schools and nine states, and found that teachers, 

were less likely to experience declines in their sense of success when they worked in schools that communicated effectively, provided targeted professional development, recognized teachers’ efforts, facilitated meaningful collaboration, and held fair expectations during the pandemic. (2021, p.729)

Our research further uncovered the benefits of including teacher training (Pozo-Rico et al., 2020), quick and small decision-making (Pultoo & Oojorah, 2020), collaboration (Kraft et al., 2021), and teacher preparedness (Dhawan, 2020). We decided on a proactive approach: to collate a set of tools and strategies that could be placed into a metaphorical digital toolbox, to be used to create a sustainable working and teaching environment for all.

We have considered these impacts as causes of burnout on educators to inform our design case. As educators, it was essential that we considered how teachers could facilitate lessons for learner engagement without depleting energy reserves. Our recommendations include incorporating information and communication technologies (ICTs), opportunities for teacher preparedness such as professional development and teacher collaboration. We collated these tools and strategies into a digital toolbox to reduce stress and anxiety caused by VUCA environments while simplifying the process of sourcing and generating new content. Our design case is underpinned by transformational teaching practices centered on well-being so that teachers can identify the signs of burnout, make time for self-care, seek out resources, and provide the best digital learning environments they can for their students.


Boling, E. (2010). The need for design cases: Disseminating design knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1). 

Crichton, S., & Kinsel, E. (2021). Design Principles for Online Learning: British Columbia Study: A special report of the Canadian eLearning Network

Dhawan, S. (2020). Online learning: A panacea in the time of covid-19 crisis. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 49(1), 5–22.

​​Doorley et al. (2018). Design Thinking Bootcamp Bootleg. Adapted from Hasso Plattner Institute for Design, Stanford University.

Kokkinos, C.M. (2007). Job stressors, personality and burnout in primary school teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77: 229-243.

Kraft, M. A., Simon, N. S., & Lyon, M. A. (2021). Sustaining a sense of success: the protective role of teacher working conditions during the covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 14(4), 727–769.

Lachheb, A., & Boling, E. (2018). Design tools in practice: instructional designers report which tools they use and why. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 30(1), 34-54.

Osher, D., Jennings, P. A., Minnici, A., Yoder, N., Mayer, M. J., Jagers, R. J., Kendriora, K., & Wood, L. (2019). Creating the Working Conditions to Enhance Teacher Social and Emotional Well-Being. In Keeping students safe and helping them thrive: A Collaborative Handbook on School Safety, Mental Health, and Wellness (Vol. 2, pp. 210–239). essay, ABC-CLIO, LLC. 

Pozo-Rico, T., Gilar-Corbí, R., Izquierdo, A., & Castejón, JL. (2020). Teacher training can make a difference: tools to overcome the impact of covid-19 on primary schools. An experimental study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22).

Pultoo, A., & Oojorah, A. (2020). Designing remote education in a vuca world. International Journal of Computers & Technology,
20, 45–52.

Reich, J., Buttimer, C. J., Coleman, D., Colwell, R. D., Faruqi, F., & Larke, L. R. (2020). What’s lost, what’s left, what’s next: Lessons learned from the lived experiences of teachers during the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic. MIT Teaching Systems Lab.

Slavich, G. M., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2012). Transformational teaching: Theoretical underpinnings, basic principles, and core methods. Educational Psychology Review, 24(4), 569–608.

Sugar, W. (2014). Studies of ID practices: A review and synthesis of research on current ID practices. New York, NY: Springer.

​​Svihla, V. (2021). Design Thinking. In J. K. McDonald & R. E. West (Eds.), Design for Learning: Principles, Processes, and Praxis. EdTech Books. 

Design Superpowers

Yeah, that’s right, Ms. Frawley’s Got Design Superpowers…

Middle school teachers often receive comments about how it takes a certain type of special to teach the 12 to 14-year-old age group. I like to think of this “special” as more of a list of attributes, or superpowers, consisting of traits like leadership, empathy, compassion, intuition, decisiveness, and flexibility. In Week 4, Activity 1 of Unit 2 of LRNT524, I found out that I could add a few more superpowers to my list, a revelation worth investigating!

In their summary on ID tools, Lachheb & Boling (2018) explain that choosing tools is like solving a puzzle and that the strategies used will differ based on the designer. In my design tools list, I am grounded by the theoretical and methodological based on Table 2 in Lachheb & Boling (2018, p.39). From these theoretical underpinnings, I have concluded on the following key terms, used to create the visual representation above.

Conceptual: negotiating ideas and making decisions
There are no small tasks or activities, every task is calculated for intersections. Specifically, these intersections include cross-curricular considerations that branch into contemporary social issues.

Social and Cognitive skills:
Building a community of inquiry through ongoing teacher reflections, student journaling and reflecting; goal setting, and social-emotional learning (SEL) check-ins.

Modeling and the use of Artefacts:
Teacher risk-taking with new tech and digital tools in the classroom; modeling failure and accepting growth from mistakes. Setting expectations and scaffolding through the use of examples throughout the assessment for, assessment as, and assessment of learning phases (which are recursive within their respective timelines).

The use of superpowers for design is an interesting take. It fits with a “what if” speculative narrative that acknowledges the variations in instructional design methods. In my visual representation, I recognize the multiple judgments that I must make in order to accomplish my design goals (Boling et al., 2017). In my day-to-day work, I exercise many traits in order to maintain an environment where my students want to come to school, are curious about learning, ask deep and difficult questions, and come back for more. This is what matters to me and maybe that’s a superpower in and of itself.


Boling, E., Alangari, H., Hajdu, I. M., Guo, M., Gyabak, K., Khlaif, Z., Kizilboga, R., Tomita, K., Alsaif, M., Lachheb, A., Bae, H., Ergulec, F., Zhu, M., Basdogan, M., Buggs, C., Sari, A., & Techawitthayachinda, R. “I”. (2017). Core judgments of instructional designers in practice. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 30(3), 199–219.

Lachheb, A., & Boling, E. (2018). Design tools in practice: instructional designers report which tools they use and why. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 30(1), 34-54.

Thoughts on Selecting a Design Model

LRNT524 Activity 2

This activity begins by considering three questions:
What are some things to consider when selecting a design model?
2. How do you make design decisions? What role do design models and innovation play in this process?
3. Are there any design models have you found especially useful when making design decisions?

To answer these questions, I will use a scenario based on the needs of students in the K-12 system. In reality, the choice of design in this system is limited, as there are parameters set out for educators outlining expectations and outcomes that must be adhered to, for example, the curriculum.

In this hypothetical scenario, I consider what I am responsible for and to whom. I analyze the hand I am dealt: the grade(s) and subjects to be taught, and review the curriculum to reassess long range plans. These plans become an anchor for design, but they are not fixed. Long range plans set out the curriculum expectations to be met, but how they are met is fluid and dependent on the accruement of specific skills for a digital age (Bates, 2015) which are embedded in routines and activities from the start of the year. Based on culturally relevant and reflective pedagogy, students engage in learning that melds with their environments: the classroom at the start of the year is a literal blank slate. How the walls are filled and with what, is up to the group. Every decision from a history timeline to what is included on it, are made as a unit. One challenge to this scenario is that this co-created space must also exist virtually. Once, planning and preparing for this learning environment would have been solely for face-to-face, or in-person learning. Post-pandemic, this space requires the addition of online considerations such as a virtual classroom and digital tools. Designing for a digital classroom with this type of transformational learner experience (Veletsianos, 2011) would require an AGILE instructional design model to work within the pre-existing ADDIE model developed by the school board. According to Gawlik-Kobylinska (2018) AGILE stands for Align, Get set, Iterate and implement, Leverage and Evaluate. Incorporating these two design models will allow students to demonstrate their innovativeness in this space. Students would share their prior knowledge of digital platforms and tools to contribute in meaningful ways.

Of course, all of this depends on my flexibility, confidence in subject matter, and openness, which to be honest sounds exhausting!


Bates, A. W. (2015). 4.7 ‘agile’ design: Flexible designs for learning. Teaching in a Digital Age. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from

Gawlik-Kobylinska, M. (2018). Reconciling ADDIE and Agile instructional design models – Case study. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(3), 14–21.

Veletsianos, G. (2011). Designing opportunities for transformation with emerging technologies. Educational Technology, 51(2), 41-46.