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Design Thinking is defined as “an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding ”. It is a learning or development program development process that tests an understanding or set of assumptions about the needs and preferences of end users of a service or program. It is widely viewed as a method to gain greater empathy for the end user and deeply understand their motivations and desires for using a particular service or program. Leveraged within an L&D context, this translates into both understanding the needs of learners, and how to design programs or learning and development offerings that best suit those preferences and needs.
Rapid prototyping is an iterative design, development, and evaluation process that engages end users to help design a new offering by reviewing and providing feedback on it throughout the development cycle (vs. waiting until it has been developed and piloted). This enables a more efficient and responsive development process tied directly to the end user's preferences and needs.