New Report Release: The Centre Prototypes Microlearning Using Design Thinking

  • Laura Monti
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Over the last two months, the ITCILO had been experimenting with design thinking for rapid prototyping. The end goal is to bring new ideas to impact – all in the name of innovation to find new sustainable learning solutions.

“Design a microlearning unit,” Tom Wambeke, the Programme Manager of ITCILO’s DELTA Programme initiated. With these four words, we were on a mission to identify the problems and find solutions – the whats, whys, and hows – to quickly prototype a microlearning pilot.

The challenge was on.

Why Microlearning?: A Glimpse Into the Future of Learning

So what is microlearning?

“Microlearning offers highly-focused, self-contained, and bite-sized learning delivered in less than ten minutes. Microlearning platforms like Duolingo and Google’s Primer respond to millennials’ desire for high-quality learning options, where the content is self-explanatory, with minimalist design, and allows on-demand access anywhere, on any device.”

  – Prototyping Using Design Thinking, 2017

As we work toward supporting countries in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG 8 on decent work for all and inclusive economic growth, we need new approaches and tools. The end goal piloting microlearning is to empower you, our ILO’s social partners and learners, by offering 21st-century sustainable learning solutions.

To get to decent work for all by 2030, we must look at the future of work. Today, we are already seeing that jobs and job tasks becoming more fragmented, in other words, unbundled. One key driver of the unbundling of work is the digitalization of labour augmented by automation and new technological innovations.


In fact, similar trends are seen in the future of learning as it is also being unpacked and unbundled – and microlearning is a perfect example of this.  

The Hows and Whys of Design Thinking: The Report


By following the spirit of the Principles for Digital Development, the Centre is opening and sharing what we learned from prototyping our first microlearning unit with you.


Our new report stands out because it does not only clearly documents our design thinking process, which is a common challenge, but it also captures invaluable insights and inquiries gained. As we innovate, these new creative insights and inquiries provided us new directions for future investigation, reflection, and learning.  

Here is what we learned. The Prototyping Using Design Thinking (2017) report offers a powerful look at our design thinking process and the logic taken to bring our pilot microlearning idea to life. The report follows the five phases of design thinking, starting with Discovery and ending with recommendations for next steps in Evolution. Divergent and convergent thinking and methods were used to help explore the problem and to make strategic choices. The report lays out the method behind how to merge the design requirements with its content into a lean minimal viable product (MVP). Further, the inclusion of three game mechanics and game loops were embedded into the design of the prototype.  


The Report



Pilot Content Script