Learning by Design Course

Makers Empire’s 20-hour Learning by Design course encourages learning across STEM disciplines by supporting teachers to engage students in exciting, challenging learning connected to solving real-world challenges using Design Thinking.

By the end of 2024, Makers Empire will have delivered its Learning by Design course to around 850 public, private and Catholic schools and tens of thousands of happy teachers in every state and territory of Australia. The course is designed to be delivered to groups of schools (minimum 10 schools per group) to maximise learning and provide teachers with a peer network for support and inspiration.

When your school decides to take part in a Learning By Design course, you can be confident that your educators will have an exceptional professional development experience.

Learning by Design Partners

Learning by Design Course Outcomes

Teachers participating in Learning by Design will:

  • Complete two full days of professional development 
  • Address American, Australian and international Design & Technology curriculum and standards
  • Develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to develop deep technological knowledge as well as critical, creative Design Thinking skills.
  • Be supported to design innovative learning programs that provide authentic, meaningful contexts for students to engage in STEM and maker-based learning using 3D design and printing.
  • Activate the potential of 3D technologies to develop and enhance students’ 21st-century learning skills.

Students participating in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project will:

  • Address the new NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus with a particular focus on Design and Production.
  • Develop their creativity and important critical thinking, Design Thinking and digital skills.
  • Learn how to solve real-world problems with Design Thinking.

Learning by Design Course Inclusions


  • 20+ hours of accredited professional learning
  • 2 face-to-face PD days (or online alternative)
  • 1 showcase day (or online alternative)
  • 2-hour online, on-demand PD course
  • Project management and reports
  • For 2+ teachers per school


  • Easy to use 3D software
  • Class management tools
  • 150 curriculum-aligned lesson plans
  • Built-in student assessment
  • Training
  • Ongoing support
  • 12-month subscription
  • For all teachers and students in a school


• 1-2 FlashForge Adventurer 4 (ME) 3D printers
• 6 rolls of PLA filament
• Online hardware training
• Online hardware support
• Shipping included

Backed by Australian University Research

Macquarie University research study

Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course was the subject of a recent Macquarie University research study on makerspaces in primary school settings.

The research study examined how maker activities using 3D design and 3D printing technology could enhance learning and teaching outcomes.

The research study report reveals the compelling benefits of this type of learning for primary educators and showed that makerspaces can be highly effective at developing children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills.

Students were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges – it helped boost their confidence and resilience when dealing with setbacks, particularly for those less capable students.

Teachers became more comfortable with technology, and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching.

All of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.


Videos from previous Learning by Design showcase days

Testimonials from Teachers

“This was the best PD that I have been involved in for ages… This whole project has been inspiring for teachers and students in empowering students to become changemakers. Our students were so engaged and excited about solving a real-world problem… The fact that they could see they could help someone through their own design, meant their learning was authentic and valued.”

“I think the lesson plans are fantastic for teachers – especially those who may find the hardest part being the inspiration/ideas on where to start…The Makers Empire app is a MASSIVE value add to the learning. We could have taught children how to design an iPad stand, learn what makes a structure strong, what are strong ‘shapes’, how to keep an item balanced etc etc etc – but the ability to create their design in 3D AND then print it makes the learning so much more obtainable and relevant/real.”
“One of the good things was, we were all learning with the children and along the way we communicated that with them… I was actually in a classroom last week and I couldn’t get the shape to sit flat… And I tried and tried and tried, and the child was getting frustrated. She could see that I was finding it challenging as well, which is really good for them to see that. And I said, why don’t you go into [the other teacher’s] room because I know that she is really good at attaching the shapes together. And to see that I had asked for help from another teacher, I think was really powerful for the child to see that.”

“Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in the project. It has built my own knowledge as well as my capacity to share with my staff. I am running 6 3D printing projects this term!”

“I love learning about new things particularly in the area of Technology and design… I have learnt more in the last 4 months than I have for a long time. Thank you!”
“I would like to say thank you to the team. It has been a wonderful opportunity to be involved in this project and something my students have learnt a lot from. The support along the way has been very helpful and prompt, and that has made working with technology (which can be frustrating) more pleasurable.”

“Congratulations to you all on a fabulous 3D Printing Showcase. It was a privilege to be able to celebrate and share in such fantastic models of teaching and learning. We were blown away by the diverse displays, presentations and stories that have made the project such a success. Every story showed how you’ve been able to integrate 3D technology into teaching and learning across the curriculum. More importantly, every story showed how the technology is a tool, helping to develop critical & creative thinking, design thinking and powerful learner dispositions.”

Videos from previous Learning by Design showcase days

Register Your School's Interest in Learning by Design

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