Tools and Methods Unit

Course Content:

Service design is a multi-disciplinary, innovative field that helps organisations see their services from a customer perspective. Organisations across the world are increasingly recognising the value of service design in putting people at the heart of thoughtfully designed activities, processes and experiences. Purposefully designed services put the needs of the people who use them first.

This unit is part of the Professional Development Award (PDA) in Service Design at SCQF level 7 and is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental tools and methods used in service design.

This Unit places an emphasis on practical engagement with the tools and methods introduced, exploring their use in current practice, and gaining an understanding that connects with your workplace context through reflective practice. You will also be supported and encouraged to share your insights and reflections with fellow learners in a collaborative way.

The unit will also support you in connecting with professional networks in service design by using collaborative online learning tools. This will enable you to have online and face to face contact with your peers, and to make connections and learn from each other.

It includes:

  • An introduction to service design and an overview of how tools and methods can be used. Recognised service design models are introduced. Mapping tools and the application of tools and methods for service design will be discussed and highlighted with case studies to outline their application to a variety of workplace contexts.
  • The use of personas and mapping tools to research and analyse users of a service. A variety of methods and their application will be outlined, including personas, empathy maps, mapping of the user’s journey, service blueprinting and any other approach that may be useful.
  • The use of ideation methods in user research. Such methods include brainstorming and affinity mapping. The principles and methods of ideation will be reviewed and learners will also be introduced to the process of recording and presenting initial outcomes.

Study Options

There are two study options:

Blended Learning:

Study online and attend one, two-day, on-campus boot camps.

 Sept Cohort - 2019/20Jan Cohort - 2019/20
Tools and Methods17 & 18 Sept 201921 & 22 Jan 2020
  • The boot camps are delivered on site at Dundee & Angus College
  • The boot camps run from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, refreshments and lunch are provided
  • Attendance at the boot camp (14 hours) is included in the 40 hours’ nominal study to complete each Unit
  • You will receive a course workbook and access to an online resource including videos (with optional English subtitles)
  • You can join the Service Design Academy online community offering support from tutors and peers


Our online learning courses allow you to experience the Service Design Academy wherever you are in the world and include:

  • Options to meet with your tutor online at times to suit you both
  • Options to meet with your peers online
  • Access to an online workbook and resources including videos (with optional English subtitles)
  • Working to a live brief set and supported by your tutor
  • Practical assignments
  • Personal feedback
  • You can join the Service Design Academy online community offering support from tutors and peers.

Target Audience

The unit is relevant for those who wish to develop service design skills and explore how these can be applied across public and private sector services. It is particularly relevant to those already in a professional role with some responsibility for service delivery.

This course will suit non-designers working in service industries as well as professionals interested in creative problem-solving approaches. It is also relevant for those who wish to engage service users and communities in decision making through creative processes.

Future Prospects

The Service Design Academy offers a range of Introductory Level Courses in Service Design including a PDA (Professional Development Award) in Service Design.

Learners can complete four mandatory units (Tools & Methods, User Research, Co-Design and Project) to achieve the PDA in Service Design.


The evidence for this unit will be created under open-book conditions over an extended timescale. The learner will collate a portfolio of evidence as they work through the unit. This can take a variety of formats such as written reports, evidence of participation in topical and organised discussion, creation of wikis, blogs, chat forums and screen captures.


You will receive a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Certificate – Service Design : Tools & Methods

Nice to Know

  • This Unit comprises 8 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7
  • The Unit equate to 40 hours of study
  • Courses are in English
  • All times are UK time

Course Fees

You can access fees and funding information here.

How to Sign Up

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