Best Online Design Thinking Courses

calendar Oct 19, 2022
author Written by Marco Biondi

If you’re looking to advance your career by adding design thinking to your existing skills or are a beginner interested in learning about it, we’ve rounded up some of the best online design thinking courses to help you get there. 

But before that, let’s recap what design thinking is and how it’s applied to businesses today. 

What is design thinking?

Design thinking teaches a customer-centric methodology to help create better products, services and processes. The world’s best-known brands like Apple, Google, IBM and Airbnb, all use design thinking to empathise with their customers. This allows them to create innovative solutions to their customers’ biggest problems and barriers.  

How else can design thinking be applied?

It’s not all about solving consumer-related problems though. Because design thinking teaches us a mindset as well as a method, the training can be applied throughout every layer of a business. Management, HR and operational problems also benefit from a design thinking approach. 

How does design thinking work? 

There are 5 phases of design thinking

  1. Empathise - where we identify the problem customers face  
  2. Define - developing a deeper understanding of the challenges customers face 
  3. Ideate - come up with ideas and solutions to customer problems 
  4. Prototype - create a testable solution  
  5. Test - putting the test into practice and measuring the results 

Much like the growth hacking process, design thinking is also an iterative process. If a test fails or doesn’t meet the required output, you simply go back to the beginning and restart the loop, coming up with alternative solutions and testing again to see what works. 

Show me the courses! 

You're right, enough explaining! You came here for the courses and that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Read on for our list of the best online design thinking courses. 

Growth Tribe: Design Thinking Certificate 

Growth Tribe offers an online course that teaches a comprehensive A-Z of design thinking. Taking you from the fundamental principles of design thinking to learning the five phases and how to implement and present a final, finished solution.    

The course can be completed in 10-12 hours and costs €995 to become fully certified

The course comprises 4 modules

Module 1: Design Thinking Fundamentals and User Research 

  • What is design thinking and why is empathy important to businesses? 
  • Make sense of research and gain insights 
  • Identify and create better solutions using the triple-diamond process 
  • Understanding the value of customer personas 
  • Customer feedback 

Module 2: Creative Ideation 

  • What is it? And how to identify key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Identify areas of opportunity and innovation 

Module 3: Prototyping and Testing Solutions

  • Usability heuristics: a way to measure user experience (UX)
  • Fundamentals of visual hierarchy 
  • Create a user interface (UI)
  • Mapping emotions to actions for user flow 
  • Document insights from feedback 

Module 4: Presenting Your Ideas 

  • Audience segmentation 
  • Identify actionable insights 
  • Present findings and insights 

Check out Growth Tribe’s Design Thinking Certificate here. 

Coursera: Design Thinking for Innovation by University of Virginia 

Coursera offers this online course to help you understand design thinking as an innovative, problem-solving approach no matter what level of an organisation you’re in. It’s suitable for beginners looking to gain an overview of how design thinking can be applied to businesses. 

The course takes approximately 6 hours to complete over 4 weeks with the option to purchase a certificate. Each week is broken down into the following segments: 

Week 1: What is Design Thinking? 

Using case studies, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of design thinking and how it can be used to drive growth and innovation. You’ll also explore which challenges are best-suited to design thinking and how to visualisation tools to present ideas. 

Week 2: Preparing Your Mind for Innovation 

Focusing on the mindset of a design thinker rather than just the tools and processes, this training aims to show users how design thinking can be used to identify and act on opportunities when they are presented. 

Week 3: Idea Generation 

Using real-life examples, you’ll learn how design thinking is used to generate ideas by following the customer journey and uncovering the problems customers are trying to solve in their lives, not just how a product is useful to them. 

Week 4: Experimentation 

Finally, you’ll learn how experimentation is used to test ideas that are designed to produce desirable outcomes for businesses. The course wraps up by reviewing lessons and discussing strategic opportunities. 

Check out Coursera’s Design Thinking for Innovation course here

Edx: MicroMasters Program in Design Thinking by Rochester Institute


This program, made up of 5 graduate courses, teaches the design thinking processes used to drive innovation and solve problems creatively and empathetically. From fundamentals to breaking down the five phases of design thinking, this course from RIT equips students with the knowledge they’ll need to innovate in the workplace. 

Completion takes around 8 months based on 8-12 hours per week and costs €1460. The course comprises 5 courses that teach the following: 

Course 1: Design Thinking Fundamentals 

How a user-centric approach to problem-solving and creating innovative solutions to customer challenges. 

Course 2: Empathising to Understand the Problem 

Learn how empathy, user feedback and research can be used to identify both product and business challenges. 

Course 3: Ideation, Iteration and Communication

Learn the iterative processes used to create and present solutions to stakeholders. 

Course 4:
Prototyping and User Testing 

Learn how prototyping and testing are paramount before sending solutions to market. Also how to assess and evaluate solutions post-launch. 

Course 5: Design Thinking Capstone 

Demonstrate everything you’ve learnt with a final assessment 

Completion of the MicroMasters Certificate counts towards a master's degree. 

Check out the MicroMasters Program in Design Thinking here

IDEO U: Foundations in Design thinking Certificate 

This online course from IDEO U teaches the foundational principles and mindsets of design thinking, including how to understand the physical, emotional and social needs of customers and the methods you’ll need to know to turn them into human-centred solutions. 

Spread over two separate cohort courses, IDEO U recommend 2-3 months for competition at 4 hours per weekEach course costs $799 but buying both courses together will save you $200 off the total price. 

The two separate cohort courses that break down the design thinking process are: 

Course 1: Insights for Innovation 

Here you’ll learn how empathy is used in design thinking to understand the needs of customers, how to identify different types of customers and gather feedback through interviews and finally how to incorporate feedback using storytelling techniques to inspire and drive innovation. 

Course 2: From Ideas to Action 

Here you’ll learn how to come up with innovative ideas, the stages of prototyping and how to use feedback to iterate and test experiments. 

Check out the Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate here

Coursera: Agile Meets Design Thinking by University of Virginia

This course blends two disciplines for effective product development: agile methodologies and design thinking principles. 

Students will learn about the relevance of agile development methods, how to understand what software will bring value to your customers and how to test ideas using agile user stories and prototypes combined with design thinking. 

The course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and lessons are divided over 4 weeks. The course is free to audit or you can pay for certification. 

Week 1: Problems Agile Solves 

You’ll start with learning about what it takes to create excellent products and how agile methods can help. Including a breakdown of the Agile Manifesto and what it means. 

Week 2: Focusing Your Agile with Personas, Problem Scenarios and Alternatives 

Learn how personas define the target audience for your product and design thinking best practices. 

Week 3: Getting to Great Agile User Stories 

Learn how to take your hypothetical personas and test them on users using an interview guide. 

Week 4: Focusing on Customer Value with User Stories 

The agile user story is at the centre of driving value to customers. In this final lesson, you'll learn how to facilitate stories and how to communicate user stories with your team. 

Check out Coursera’s Agile Meets Design Thinking by the University of Virginia here

Coursera: Managing Innovation and Design Thinking Specialization by HEC Paris 

This course is offered as part of a degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship but can be taken as a standalone specialisation. You’ll learn about the techniques used by successful entrepreneurs and CEOs to drive innovation at all stages of business development, from developing ideas to leading a company. 

The course is estimated to take 5 months to complete at 6 hours per week. Throughout the 4 courses, you’ll learn about: 

Course 1: Boosting Creativity for Innovation 

Learn how creative ability can be refined and developed through a variety of experiences and activities and how this links to the importance of creativity from a customer perspective. 

Course 2: Strategic Management of Innovation 

Learn the reasons behind why firms innovate, how they compete and what role innovation plays in shaping strategic decisions for product launches and market entry. 

Course 3: Organizational Design and Management 

Four in-depth analyses will teach you how to evaluate the value-creating potential of your business idea and how to model it, best practices for managing talent and creativity, align business strategies with cultural and organisational structures, and how to manage guiding behaviours and bottlenecks stifling growth. 

Course 4: Design Thinking 

Learn how to uncover creative insights and experiment with innovative solutions. This course covers the foundations, principles and main phases of design thinking. 

Check out Coursera’s Managing Innovation and Design Thinking Specialization by HEC Paris here


Udemy offers an extensive (like more than 10,000 results kind of extensive!) library of short courses on design thinking, prices vary so check regularly for discounts and offers.


See Udemy courses here

Wrapping up 

There you have it! These are our picks for the ‘best online design thinking courses’. 

Design thinking is an innovative and creative mindset that is being used at every level of business. As consumers gain more control over how they want to experience products and services, our ability to empathise with those needs and desires helps to build better and more successful products. 

Still unsure whether you’re the right fit for design thinking? Speak to one of our learning consultants today who will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

Chat with us here! 

Interested in more than one thing? Good for you! 

Take our Course Advisor Tool to help match you with the right course. 

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