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In this thought piece, we make a case that intentionally designed, remote learning outclasses online resources.

What makes the Service Design Academy’s Professional Development Award in Service Design different?

Lack of community, low engagement and often no incentive for completion. The world of online learning is becoming stale. We’re in a post-content doldrums. In the past, educational content was valued – it was expensive and relatively scarce. It became a major selling point for universities. Today educational content is everywhere, plentiful, and much of it is cheap. Blogs, social media, newsletters, YouTube have replaced validated and reliable sources of knowledge found in the lecture theatre and library.

And that’s not all, Low cost or free online courses, incubators, accelerators, and alternative education programmes have been created to serve the lifelong learning needs of working professionals. But content profusion has created its own set of unique challenges for educators and students.

Most learners are actually worse off for all this low priced and plentiful content. More access does not equal more engagement or achievement. Take for example, MOOCs, the “Massive Open Online Courses” popularised in the 2010s, with a completion rate of just 3 to 6 percent.

Online meeting

At the Service Design Academy, we believe cohort-based learning holds the key to impactful learning. They are interactive, community-centric, remotely delivered online courses where a group of students advance through the materials together – with hands-on, feedback-based learning at the core.

What makes our courses unique?

They are engaging, real-time, and involve community-driven, active learning as opposed to solo, passive content consumption. Fixed start and end dates ensure a real-time and paced experience. Mentoring making for an authentic, personalised approach even the smartest of online content – with machine learning and algorithms – can’t match.

Scarcity drives value. In today’s content-rich world, what scarce is community . Cohort-based courses provide community and so much more.

A great course is a catalyst for transformation. Before we created our first lesson, we identified what the transformation would be. We thought about what our students can do after taking the course that they couldn’t do before. We explored the structure of the course. We wrote compelling learning objectives and explored different curriculum formats with real world examples to make the most sense of our students.

SDA Toolkit

Online learning has defaulted to on-demand video where viewers watch experts share information. Our cohort-driven courses introduce fundamental learning principles through active learning. Using the tools of service design on live business challenges, we’ve a complete toolkit to cover the subject. We’ll show and share how and when to use these tools so you can immediately use them in your professional context. From break out discussions to case studies you’ll join a community of like-minded people seeking a similar outcome.

We call it “learn by doing” – active learning, not passive watching, every workshop is designed to help you put your learning into practice.

Expert, passionate, and accredited staff will keep you engaged and help get you make sense of the process and the theory.

And we do recognise the value of online resources but only when they are offered in the context to our interactive remote learning. Learners benefit from our signposting to a resource of validated, trusted online learning material including Storytelling videos.

Are we a course creator with a trusted voice in the service design space?

Absolutely. Our course became the first and only, service design qualification accredited the Scottish Qualifications Authority. In 2020, The Service Design Academy became the first organisation in the world to receive the Service Design Network’s Organisational Accreditation following a rigorous and in-depth audit. Through this initiative, the SDN has recognised the authority and quality of SDA in the provision of service design education and qualifications. You’ll receive certification from SDA and SDN. We were shortlisted in the Top 3 of the Digital Leaders 100 Awards 2021 in the Public Service Innovation of the Year category for the approach we took to designing our online learning with our students and not just for them.

Accredited by the Service Design Network

Is the course taught exclusively by us or by a collective?

We are not an Agency who provides training, we are educators pure and simple. The recent influx of independent course creators means these new teachers may have practical experience but less theoretical knowledge. We have achieved mastery in our skills in service design, in facilitation and in teaching. Four members of our team are SDN Accredited Practitioners, and our Lead Consultant is an Accredited Master Trainer who sits on the SDN Accreditation Panel. Our Team Bios show the range of our expertise and achievements. Our Newsroom shares stories of our successes so far both in terms of the individual achievement of our PDA in Service Design graduates and alumni our work in building service design skills and capacities in organisations.

We’re backed by Dundee & Angus College’s well-developed reflection and self-evaluation arrangements which enables review and any necessary action and improvement to take place timeously. Themes and priorities for consideration link into the Quality Themes and Indicators outlined within the Education Scotland How Good is Our College framework, and to the Professional Standards for Lectures in Scotland’s Colleges.

A team of Learning and Teaching mentors within our Academic Development team support academic staff through teaching qualifications. They promote the sharing and enhancement of practice through a flexible model for observation which supports and encourages innovation.

 

We’re very social

Social interaction is right at the heart of what we do. We want to put an end to the loneliness of the long-distance learner. That’s why, throughout our course, you’ll find discussion steps and chances to debate and interact with other learners. That way everyone learns from each other, discovering new perspectives and forming new ideas.

We love service design

For us, service design is not just another discipline – it’s in our DNA. We believe the ability to question, be curious & interrogate are as important as knowing the methods & mapping the journeys.

 

Watch the overview video and apply

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