Design Thinking for Transforming a Foreign Language Curriculum: From Traditional Curriculum to Personalized Flipped Curriculum
Abstract: Design thinking is a human-centered mindset and approach to solving problems. In this paper, the process of curriculum reform for a first-year Japanese language course is exemplified in each phase of the process of design thinking: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution. The project started from field observations, surveys, student interviews, and instructor interviews to gather insights from different viewpoints. After exhaustive discussions, a personalized flipped learning curriculum was developed as a prototype with other online supplemental materials to accommodate a wide variety of students’ needs. The survey results show that even though the overall quality of teaching and learning remained the same, understanding and utilization of grammar points improved while some improvements were necessary for other aspects. Design thinking served as an excellent guideline for curriculum development and made optimizing curriculum and technology use possible; however, when struggling, problematic students who missed classes and didn’t do pre-class homework weren’t heard from, guessing the problems from their learning paths is the only thing that could be done.