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Design Principles: The Paramedic Educator

Design principles sound like something reserved for artists, graphic designers and hipsters.  In fact, design principles are a tool to help ensure better, more consistent experiences for a user.  The user can be an organizations team members, customers,  clients, or in our case – the student.

Design principles are crafted by an organization or individual through many ways.  Through reflective retreats, extensive product and/or stakeholder research or another testing regime the design principles are refined.  Design principles are not static, rather they are adapted over time as the team or individual evolves, so too does the design principles.

Design principles can be universal or specific.  Universal principles are heuristic as they are human-centred, whereas specific design principles are those applied to projects to keep large groups focused on the project objectives.

Check out the DPFTW website for more information on design principles and to see some of the defining visions from some great companies.

After a design thinking exercise, I have adopted the following design principles.  As an educator with the Paramedic Program at Fanshawe College the hope is that these design principles will aid in the innovative delivery of content, improve student engagement and continue to foster strong teamwork with my colleagues.

Information on the design thinking exercise will be posted in a separate blog entry.

Design Principles: The Paramedic Educator

  1. Student Focused
  2. Inclusive
  3. Balanced
  4. Innovative
  5. Engaging
  6. Intellectual Risk-take

1. Student Focused

  • Curriculum should be designed based on empathy for the student first, rather than placing objectives as primary focus
  • Regular and consistent feedback should be given to students
  • Success should be measured based on the student perspective rather than metrics
  • Support should be provided at each stage of education

2. Inclusive

  • The classroom should be a safe space to make mistakes
  • All learning styles should be considered
  • The educator should be transparent with regard to process
  • Technology should be adapted with consideration that all students are not tech savvy
  • All students and team members will be treated fairly, without prejudice
  • The educators will work collaboratively with team members and students
  • The educator will be approachable

3. Balanced

  • The educator and students will maintain work-life balance
  • Humour will balance intellect
  • The educator will adapt to lead trends rather than follow trends

4. Innovative

  • The educator will lead trends rather than follow trends
  • Technology will be adopted for function, not convention
  • Technology adopted will require the smallest amount of attention
  • Technology will aid to inform, rather than distract
  • Technology will be adapted to remain relevant to the material being delivered

5. Engaging

  • The educator will motivate and engage team members and students
  • Humour will balance intellect
  • The educator will be organized and encourage organization of team members and students
  • The educator will remain a relevant subject matter expert for courses taught

6. Intellectual Risk-taker

  • The educator will continue to challenge themselves, team members, and students
  • The educator will lead research and encourage research literacy of team members and students
  • The educator will make mistakes and encourage team members and students to make mistakes while learning from them

Thank you for taking some time out of your day.  What are your thoughts on these principles, or the process?  Please comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Image by Michel Jarmoluk is licensed under CC BY 4.0 (CC0 license).

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