In the education community  there is a growing emphasis on the importance of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication; all skills that are inherent to design. Design-based learning fosters these competencies while supporting the learning of curricular subjects, skills and knowledge. This approach has similarities to problem-based and inquiry-based learning, but with an emphasis on creativity and future-thinking. It aligns well with the new  curriculum established by the BC Ministry of Education and supports the development of core competencies. Teaching With Design offers workshops and personalized consulting to support teachers with the integration of design-based learning into K12 classrooms. 

The kids who generally would not give an idea, who you never hear speak in class, were coming up with their own ideas for the first time all year.
— Grade 3 teacher

Fosters the 4C's

Creativity, critical thinking,
communication, collaboration

These are critical and inherent skills in design that can be fostered through design-based learning activities. Students are encouraged to think divergently, to evaluate new possibilities, to communicate visually and verbally, and to work collaboratively to generate and improve their design ideas.




Design has offered to the kids a way to apply the skills that they have been learning in social studies or science to real world problems, and come up with new ways of thinking as well.
— Grade 4 teacher

Supports Curriculum

Application of knowledge,
cross-curricular, inquiry based,
differentiated learning

Through the integration of design projects into curriculum students can apply and demonstrate their knowledge of curricular content through creative and personal expression. The open-ended nature of design projects allows for student-centered and personalized learning, while the multidisciplinary nature allows for cross-curricular connections in a single project.


It gave the students tools and encouragement to think outside of the box. I saw a lot of confidence grow.
— Grade 6 teacher

Social & Emotional Development 

Confidence, risk-taking, empathy,

Design-based learning emphasizes the value of  iteration and learning through mistakes. This approach fosters students' creative confidence and develops self-reflective skills. By encouraging a human-centered approach to design, students develop and practice empathy skills in the process of designing for others.