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Lean Software Design, Lean Education? Lessons from a Collaborative University-Industry Seminar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI’16 - 44th Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education SEFI
ISBN (Electronic)9782873520144
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
Period1/01/00 → …


In a rapidly developing field like software engineering, what is taught at the
universities can fall behind from what is the status quo in the industry. Particularly in the professional activities related to user experience (UX) design, the students should gain experience in wide diversity of practical skills, ranging from fluent interaction with the customer and empathizing with the end users to creatively solving ill-defined problems and rapid prototyping. Even though the problem-based learning approach, hackathons, and other types of hands-on activities have become increasingly common in universities, educating user experience professionals demands specific practices.
This paper presents a case study of collaborative teaching (Design Weekend)
between a university and industry, focusing on learning from the practices in the
industry in an authentic project context. Design Weekend was an intensive 2-day hands-on seminar in which groups of students closely followed a Lean methodology that the collaborating digital agency has iteratively developed. The goals of the seminar were to provide a possibility for more hands-on learning of Lean and Design Thinking, including a customer organization with an authentic case, and to explore how well this kind of industry-oriented approach would fit in the curriculum of master and doctoral programs on UX.
The learning students’ post-hoc learning diaries bring up rich insights about what was learned (ranging from personal development needs to various collaboration aspects and methodological insights) and how they perceive the applicability of the used methodology. The assessments of the seminar demonstrate interesting benefits compared to traditional project- and problem-based learning, such as realism and active customer involvement. Overall, based on this case study and subjective evaluations of the seminar, our teaching exploration can be concluded to show much promise. We report the students’ and teachers’ perceived benefits as well as important aspects to consider in future implementations of similar seminars.


  • Learning outside the classroom, Problem-based learning, Informal learning, University-Industry collaboration, , Problem-based learning

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