Design Thinking Classroom Experience

Design For Change for History teaching

Complutense University, Faculty of Education - Teacher Training Center. Show map
The Design For Change methodology is applied throughout the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic courses to the subject "Fundamentals and Didactics of History", resulting in 27 projects with real impact on History teaching. The proposed framework is Teaching History in Primary Education.


The proposed working frame is teaching history in primary school.


Mandatory course of the Degree in Primary Education at Complutense University.
The methodology is used with three morning shift groups from 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
Each group has between 63-80 students.
To develop the projects the groups are divided into two, so it's always possible to work with half of the class (30-35 students aprox).

Detail shot of a working moment at the University.


Improve the formation of History Teachers.

The goal of DFC is to update and improve the teaching-learning methods in the training of teachers; specifically to show that it’s possible to transmit knowledge about the past and have a positive bearing on the environment.

Contribute to civic consciousness about the value of the past.

Considering both university students and target groups of the projects, we aim to transmit the huge value of historical knowledge in key issues such as citizenship formation, ethical values or critical thinking, as well as the key competences developed in the framework of the projects.

Improve the training of future teachers.

As many scientific papers or reports argue, the theoretical transmission of contents is still widely used at teacher training courses. By using DFC in the training of teachers, we aim to promote active methodologies related to the students’ social environment.

Didactic sequence



The Feel step is developed in the classroom together with "post-its" dynamics, allowing the divergence and convergence of group thinking. The groups carry out inquiry and reading activities to document the framework of their work.


The groups of students design and prototype solutions to improve the teaching of History. They present the prototypes to their classmates, who will contribute ways to improve them.


The working groups put into practice their projects of History teaching with DFC. Three types of project profiles have been identified: 1. Technological projects (apps, gamified websites, virtual reality); 2. Projects implying some kind of dramatization; 3. Social projects (Service-Learning, collectives that require support, etc.) The projects have been carried out at schools, associations, cultural centers, nursing homes, or in streets and parks.


The working groups create social media accounts and many of them publish on Youtube the videos they developed during the projects. Different groups participate on the media.


The working groups conduct a self-assessment of the experience and propose improvement actions.

Assessment and conclusions


The adaptation of History teaching to "learning by doing" methodologies that are adapted to competence frameworks.
Students develop important soft skills such as creativity, resilience, teamwork, communication, leadership, etc.
Students learn on a par new disciplinary contents and innovation methodologies.

Things to improve

The DFC adaptation to the course teacher’s guides.
The possibility of projects among various courses.
A greater adaptation of assessment to scientific criteria typical of educational research; though a study on the experiences of the two courses has been conducted and is on its way to be published in an academic journal.
The assessment of the course is very positive (89,07/100), according to the University official surveys (Docentia). In the same way, the questionnaires given by the Professor show a very high assessment on the students’ part.

Take this experience to your classroom!

Tips to adapt the experience to your classroom



Your students; they can do big things.


To innovate and to get out of your comfort zone.

As a facilitator

Always support your students.


Together with the students; they will notice it.


Very defined sprints, i.e. submission deadlines by phases.


The blog made by the working groups both to monitor the projects and to ask them to create group memory.

About the author

David Alonso García

Contracted Professor Doctor in the Department of Modern History of the UCM and of the area of ​​Didactics of the Social Sciences. He has designed and directed different entrepreneurship programs in the Humanities, in collaboration with entities such as Impact Hub Madrid or the Madrid Business Forum. He currently holds the position of Director of Compluempren-Complutense Entrepreneurship Office
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