IA40460 Design your Purposeful Life

Academic Year 2024/2025


The aim of this module is to enable students to plan and reflect upon their learning, career and life goals using a Design Thinking approach.

Design Thinking is a human-centric creative problem-solving process. It offers a proven methodology and repeatable approach that can be used to identify new opportunities, solve problems, and develop innovative solutions. While it has usually been applied to the development of products and services, in this module, participants will apply the approach to design their own career and life goals.

Over the course of the module, participants will reflect on their life so far, their values and their sense of purpose. Using a combination of creative and analytical tools they will work to develop insights into themselves and to map out their way ahead, acquiring a toolkit that can be used at any point in life to identify, evaluate and make informed career and life choices. Along with this, participants will be introduced to a wide range of stories and testimonies that can inspire their own life-shaping choices. Participants will also develop a community of peers in which to share ideas and hear how others are thinking about their own life and career questions.

The module will introduce the participants to the processes and tools that will enable them to make creative and informed life and career choices for themselves.


** Enrolment in an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement in all class activities. **

At the UCD Innovation Academy, we are Educator Practitioners with extensive real-world experience as academics, business and social entrepreneurs, tech thinkers, creative professionals and design thinking practitioners.

Our teaching is grounded in academic rigour. Our focus is on ‘learning by doing’ in a real-world context. Classes include a combination of individual and team tasks and activities, along with discussions, presentations and reflection.

Note on class size: To ensure a quality experience for all, we limit our class size to 36 students or less. We require a minimum of 16 participants to ensure enough people for teamwork and a dynamic classroom environment. On very rare occasions, if fewer than 16 registered students register, we will offer students the opportunity to join another class.


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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

1) Understand the five stages of Design Thinking and apply them introspectively as a tool to design a purposeful life.
2) Gain insight into their core values in relation to concrete attitudes, behaviours, and life choices.
3) Define personal meaning and success by recognising their strengths and constructing a coherent narrative.
4) Generate creative ideas for exploring alternative future scenarios and career paths.
5) Demonstrate job-searching skills by prototyping multiple career options.
6) Communicate with peers to effectively share ideas, network, and build collaborations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group


Conversation Class






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
All Innovation Academy modules take a learning by doing approach, combining, individual, group and team activities, tasks and projects including presentations, discussion and reflection:

• Active/task-based learning
• Peer and Group work
• Reflective Learning
• Enquiry & Problem-based learning
• Student Presentations
• Case Study Learning
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
IA20090 - Design Your Life

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Participation in Learning Activities: This module requires active participation and engagement in all class activities. Note: ‘Schedule Details’ will adjust based on the length of the module. Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 14, Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Assignment(Including Essay): Participation including but not limited to: in-class presentations, online assignments, etc. Note: ‘Schedule Details’ will adjust based on the length of the module. Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 14, Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Reflective Assignment: Reflection Report at the end of the Module. Note: ‘Schedule Details’ will adjust based on the length of the module. E.g., for a 5-day intensive module, the final assessment is due 3 weeks afterward. Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes



Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback is available upon request.

Name Role
Anh Nguyen Quoc Tutor