About Doris


Doris Wells-Papanek is continuously engaged in learning how to learn, forever curious as to why things are as they are, endlessly asking questions to figure out how to figure out, and grapples with making sense of the world today and where we are headed. 

Doris studied product and environmental design with Victor Papanek at the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Upon graduation, she returned to the Silicon Valley where she practiced traditional industrial design, followed by a new territory for designers, visual interface design - now referred to as interaction design. For more than 20 years, Doris was wired to technology, innovation, and design beginning with Xerox in the early days of the desktop metaphor, which led to over 40 design and utility patents. From there, she worked for/collaborated with companies such Apple, Lotus, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, Philips, Intuit, where she designed the interfaces to products, managed creative groups, and lead technical teams. 

Doris collaborates with educators, practitioners, and learners to design and research tailored teaching and learning experiences. As principal of Tailored Learning Tools, Doris facilitates sustainable change strategies using a learn think do process to conduct personalized program and systems studies with a human-centered action research approach. The goal is to activate and nurture effective design based on human needs and desired outcomes. As partner of Greenleaf Papanek Publications, Doris has co-authored five research-based and learning-centered books anchored in neuroscience and psychology best practices. 

Doris coaches educators, practitioners, and diverse learners. She has authored multiple papers and articles, as well as presented at national and international conferences. Doris collaborates with learning organizations such as Waukegan Public Schools, Da Vinci Design School, Charter High School for Architecture and Design, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Skokie School District, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Holding a masters in education in curriculum and instruction design from National Louis University and a bachelor’s in product and environmental design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design affords Doris unique opportunities to engage in diverse learning design and research projects. 



Projects & Collaborations
Curriculum and Evaluation Design Consultant to Waukegan Public Schools

Facilitator of Design Learning Integration Initiatives in collaboration with the Industrial Design Society of America, Da Vinci Design School, Charter High School for Architecture and Design, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts