Archive for the ‘book’ Category

Disruptive innovation and the emergence of the PLE+

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

I am currently in Kuala Lumpur doing a keynote at the 5th International Personal Learning Environment (PLE) conference. The focus of my talk is on the notion of ‘PLE+’, i.e. I want to argue that we are entering a third phase of learning environments; the first are Virtual Learning Environments (where tools are provided by the institutional system, and where the teacher chooses which are used for their courses), the second are Personal Learning Environments (where learners create their own learning space, mixing and matching institutional tools with cloud-based tools). The third generation, PLE+, builds on this and relates to the impact of ‘The Internet of Things’, and  seamless learning across different contexts, surfaces and devices; in other words, learning across digital and physical spaces.

I want to begin my talk by considering the notion of disruptive innovation, originally coined by Christensten:

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

For me there are four key facets of disruptive innovation: change, something new, unexpected, and changing mindsets. We have seen many examples of technologies that have been disruptive in the last thirty years or so; from the Internet, through mobile devices and more recently Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

But first I want to step back. I like using an ecological metaphor in terms of technology adoption, drawing in particular on the work of Gibson, on affordances. So technologies may have potential affordances or characteristics but these will only be realised in relation to a particular individual, we need time to appropriate the technology into our practice. And sometimes a technology is subverted and used in unexpected ways. Below is a picture of an iPad that I took at a hotel I was at last week in Uppsala, Sweden. The iPad is being used to control the juice machine, you click on the pick of the juice you want, and then again to stop when the glass is full. I am sure this is not a use that Apple had anticipated the iPad would be used for!

ipad_juice.png

Of course there are numerous reports, describing key emergent technologies and their potential impact on learning. The NMC Horizon reports, the OU UK’s Innovating Pedagogy reports, and the TED talks. I want to focus in on four examples: two videos on intelligent surfaces (‘A day made of glass’ and ‘Technology in education – a future classroom’), the concept of the ‘Internet of Things’ and a recent article on ‘The most connected man’. I want to allow space for the audience to discuss these and to consider to what extent they are innovative and/or disruptive, as well as thinking about their potential use in a learning context.

I am then going to show Gartner’s most recent Hype cycle and point out that the Internet of Things is currently at the hype of the curve, whilst virtual reality is well down, and speech recognition software has reached the plateau stage.

Focusing in on disruption in a learning context I will look at three examples: the flipped classroom, mobile learning and open learning.

I will then introduce the concept of PLE+, beginning by listing the four things that are needed to facilitate learning:

  • Guidance and Support
  • Content and Activities
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Reflection and Demonstration

These can be achieved in a variety of ways of course and through different pedagogical approaches. The HoTEL project provides a nice visualisation of pedagogical approaches and their key features; so associative pedagogies are about stimulus and responses such as drill and practice, whereas constructivist pedagogies are about building on prior knowledge and are more task orientated.

The below lists the key characteristics of VLEs, PLES, and PLE+s

  •  VLEs: Institutionally owned, teacher controlled, digitally based
  • PLEs: Mix of institutional and cloud-based, learner controlled, nebulous set of components, digitally based
  • PLE+: Mix of institutional and cloud based, learner controlled, nebulous set of components, digitally and physically based.

Finally, drawing on the work of Gibson, Pea, Perkins, Solomon, Wertsch and others, I list the following as what I think are the characteristics of a PLE+:

  • Relates to concepts of distributed cognition and PersonPlus
  • We leave learning trails
  • Our learning  environment is culturally constructed
  • We co-evolve with our environment
  • Technologies have affordances
  • Blurring of physical and digital

I will finish by suggesting that we need new approaches to design to create effective PLE+ and will put forward the 7Cs of Learning Design as a means of achieving this.  Of particular note here is the fact that I argue that learners can use the tools associated with the 7Cs of Learning Design to create their own PLE+.

   

Chapter six - design languages

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Design languages

This chapter summarises the research on design languages and considers how this relates to the notion of a learning design language. It provides a useful contextual background to the discussions in later chapters on the visual representations we have developed as part of our work and a tool for visualising designs that we have developed, CompendiumLD. It draws in particular on Botturi and Stubbs (2008) who provide an authoritative account of design language research. Botturi & Stubbs demonstrate that there is a plethora of languages available to choose from; ranging from sketch-oriented languages that facilitate the creation and representation of the grand view of a design to more formal languages that enable detailed representations of specification and/or implementation details of a design. Botturi et al. (2006) define a design language as ‘a set of concepts that support structuring a design ask and conceiving solutions’. They go on to define a design language as a mental tool that can be expressed and hence communicated through a notation system (i.e. a set of signs and icons that allow representing a design problem or solution so that it is perceivable by our senses).

Gibbons et al. (2008) argue that design languages are an important aspect of instructional design. They define a design language as a ‘set of abstractions used to give structure, properties, and texture to solutions of design problems. Hohanson, Miller and Hooper (2008, p. 19) suggest that a design language is what designers use to communicate designs, plans and intentions to each other and to the produces of their artifacts, citing Gibbons and Brewer (2005, p. 113). Rose (2001) argues that understanding visual representations is a learned skill. Hence visual languages serve several purposes: i) to communicate a message through a visual or functional language, ii) to provide a synthetic idea, image or metaphor of complex ideas and iii) to create a grammar or produce meaning for its use.  Gibbons et al. (2008) argue that design languages: i) encourage disciplined design practice, ii) give organisation to the growth of design fields, iii) helps give historical context to evolving design fields and v) connect practices of a design field to theoretical concepts.

Botturi e al. (2006) argue that educational modelling languages have emerged as conceptual tools to help designers deal with the increasing complexity of designing for learning making effective use of new technologies and pedagogies.  They argue that they allow the development of reflective practice and potentially enhance a more thorough understanding and reuse of elearning. Derntl et al. (2010) suggest that a shared design language is one mechanism for dealing with design complexity and the requirements of communication in interdisciplinary design teams. They argue that designing for learning needs both beauty and precision; and show how different design languages can be used to present these. They state that ‘We are in no way suggesting that beauty and precision are in opposition to one another, nor even that they are mutually exclusive concerns. We make the distinction merely to further stress the competing demands on instructional designers for maintaining a grand view of the learning experience while also addressing the myriad details of an effective end product.’

Stubbs and Gibbons (2008, p. 35) suggests that visual representations serve two purposes in design: 1) they can be used during design as part of the design process to represent some aspect of instruction before it had to be produced or represented, this may be in the form of storyboards or flow charts and 2) they can be part of the content that is being produced. They also argue that design drawing can aid the designer by reducing cognitive load during the design process and because design sketched are an external representation, they augment memory and support informational processing.  They also suggest that another view of drawing is similar to Vygotsky’s description of the relationship of language to thought. Substituting drawing for words, Vygotky says: ‘Thought is not merely expressed in (drawings), it comes into existence through them.’ Languages in general provide advantages that are particularly useful in design. Firstly, they allow thought to be communicated so that good ideas don’t get lost. Secondly, they provide a focus of attention that permits higher-power processing and anchoring of thought. Thirdly, they provide the ability to question and judge the value of the thought – to construct thoughts about thought. Jackendoff (1996) suggests that there are two stages to the design process: i) sketches to try ideas out and ii) as design progresses the drawings become more formal, more governed by rules and conventions.

Massironi  (2002) has produced a taxonomy of graphic productions, which categorises design drawings by their form and purpose. He distinguishes between representational (physical reality) and non-representational (abstract concepts) drawings. Botturi (2008, p. 112) identifies two types of languages: i) finalist communicative languages, which serve the purpose of representing a complete instructional design for communicating it to others for implementation, reuse or simply archival and ii) representative, which help designers think about the instruction they are designing and support its creation. The ability to express an idea, allows people to better analyse and understand it and to make better design decisions. In contrast, McKim categorises abstract graphic languages into seven types: Venn diagrams, organisation charts, flow charts, link-node diagrams, bar charts and graphs, schematic diagrams and pattern languages, (McKim, 1980)whereas Laseau (1986) categorises them into four main types: bubble diagrams, area diagrams, matrices and networks.

Design languages exist along a range of continua. Gibbons and Brewer (cited in Gibbons et al., 2008) describe several dimensions of design language variation: i) complexity-simplicity, ii) precision-nonprecision, iii) formality-informality, iv) personalisation-sharedness, v) implicitness-explicitness, vi) standardisation-non-strandardisation, and vii) computability-non-computability.

Botturi et al. (2006) described a number of commonly used design languages. A design language of particular importance is IMS Learning Design (IMS/LD), which is based on the Educational Modelling Language developed by OUNL. It describes the roles and activity sequences within an environment of learning objects and services. Properties, conditions and notifications can also be defined to further fine tune and specify the design.  UML has also been adapted for use in elearning contexts. Botturi et al. describe E2ML, which is based on UML, as a simple design language coupled with a visual notation system consisting of multiple interrelated diagrams. At the other end of the spectrum, the AUTC project has developed a design language that is much more practitioner orientated. It is based on work by Oliver and Herrington (2001) who identified three elements associated with a learning design:

1.      The tasks or activities learners are required to undertake

2.      The content resources provided to help learners complete the tasks

3.      The support mechanisms provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources.

These three elements are used to describe a learning design, as a temporal sequence, with the tasks or activities being undertaken in the centre and the associated resources and support mechanism for each tasks or activity represented either side. Agostinho et al. (2008) argue that the AUTC visual learning design representation can be used to facilitate dissemination and reuse of innovative pedagogical strategies in university teaching. Boling and Smith (2008) describe the range of mediating artefacts that are used to support design both as process and product. They highlight the importance of sketching and consider the interplay between the two modes of metal representation required for sketching – propositional (largely symbolic) and analogue (quasi-pictorial, spatially depictive). They reference Goldschimidt (1991) who argues that there is an oscillation between propositional thinking and descriptive thinking during the process of design.

References

Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2008). Artifacts as tools in the design process. In D. Merrill & M. Spector (Eds.), Handbook of research in educational communications and technologies (3rd Ed ed.). New York: NY: Tailor and Francis.

Botturi, L. (2008). E2ML: a tool for sketching instructional design. In L. Botturi & S. T. Stubbs (Eds.), Handbook of visual languages for instructional design: theories and practices (pp. 112-132). hershey, New York: Information Science Reference.

Botturi, L., Derntl, M., Boot, E., & Figl, K. (2006, 5-7th July 2006). A classification framework for educational modelling languages in instructional design. Paper presented at the ICALT 2006, Kerkrade, The Netherlands.

Botturi, L., & Stubbs, T. (2008). Handbook of Visual Languages for Instructional Design: Theories and Practices: Information Science Reference %@ 1599047292.

Derntl, M., Parish, P., & Botturi, L. (2010). Beauty and precision in instructional design. Journal on e-learning, 9(2), 185-202.

Gibbons, A. S., Botturi, L., Boot, E., & Nelson, J. (2008). Design languages. In M.Discoll, M.D.Merill, J. v. Merrienboer & J. M. Spector (Eds.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technologies. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erbaum Associates.

Gibbons, A. S., & Brewer, E. K. (2005). Elementary principles of design languages and design notation systems for instructional design. In J. M. Spector, C. Ohrazda, A. V. Schaack & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), Innovations in instructional technology. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hohanson, B., Miller, C., & Hooper, S. (2008). Commodity, firmness, and delight: four modes of instructional design practice. In L. Botturi & T. Stubbs (Eds.), Handbook of visual languages for instructional design: Theories and practices (pp. 1-17). Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference.

Jackendoff, R. (1996). The architecture of the language facility. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Laseau, P. (1986). Graphic problem solving for architects and designers (2nd ed.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Massironi, M. (2002). The pyschology of graphic image: seeing, drawing, communicating. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erbaum Associate.

McKim, R. H. (1980). Thinking visually: a strategy manual for problem solving. Belmont, CA: Lifetime learning publications.

Oliver, R., & Herrington, J. (2001). Teaching and learning online: a beginners guide to e-learning and e-teaching in Higher Education. Perth: Edith Cowan University.

Rose, G. (2001). Visual methodologies: an introduction to the intrepretion of visual materials. Thousand Oaks: CA: SAGE publication.

Stubbs, T., & Gibbons, A. S. (2008). The power of design drawing in other design fields In L. Botturi & T. Stubbs (Eds.), Handbook of visual languages for instruction design: theories and practices (pp. 33-51). Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference.

 

 

Chapter three - The emergence of learning design as a research field

Monday, December 13th, 2010

This chapter will discuss the emergence of learning design as a research field. It will summarise some of the key work in the field and draws in particular on two recent edited collections on this topic (Beetham & Sharpe, 2007; Lockyer, Bennett, Agostinho, & Harper, 2008). One of the main drivers for the emergence of learning design as a research field is arguably that teachers are now are presented with many choices in how they can design and deliver their courses (Agostinho, 2008). They are confused by the plethora of technologies and different pedagogical approaches they can adopt. Furthermore, teachers often struggle to implement theory into practice (Fang, 1996).

 

Littlejohn and Falconer (2008: 20) argue that there are three challenges facing teachers: increasing size and diversity of student body, increasing requirement for quality assurance and rapid pace of technological change. They also argue that there is a gap between the promise and reality of the use of technology in education and that there is little evidence that education has changed fundamentally. Similarly Masterman (2008: 210) argues that the lack of uptake of technologies due to a number of factors: lack of awareness of the possibilities, technophobia, lack of time to explore the technology, aversion to the risks inherent in experimentation and fear of being supplanted by the computer.

 

Learning design has developed as a means of helping them make informed choices. Learning design representations enable teachers to document, model and share teaching practice. It is also as a process of designing learning experiences and as a product i.e. outcome or artefact of the design process. A learning design can represent different levels of granularity – from a whole course down to an individual learning activity. In addition it can be a formal representation, which is computer runnable or simply a formal way of describing the learning intervention. Goodyear and Yang (2008: 167) use the related term educational design, which they define as the set of practices involved in constructing representations of how to support learning in particular cases. They argue that educational design takes time it rarely starts with a clear complete conception of what is desired. The process of iterative clarification of the nature of the problem and its solution involves complex thought. Beetham and Sharpe (2007: 7) prefer the term ‘designing for learning’, which they define as ‘the process by which teachers – and others involved in the support of learning – arrive at a plan or structure or design for a learning situation’. Like Goodyear and Yang, they believe that learning can never be wholly designed, only designed for (i.e, planned in advance) with an awareness of the contingent nature of learning as it actually takes place.

 

The JISC-funded MoD4L[1] project conducted a series of focus groups with practitioners to elicit the types of representations that they used in their design practice. The representations that teachers use include: module plans, case studies, briefing documents, pattern overviews, contents tables, concept maps, learning design sequences, story boards, and lesson plans. The project concluded that no one single representation is adequate. Similarly Conole et al. (2007: 13) argued that practitioners use a range of tools to support and guide their practice.

 

Agostinho (2008: 14) review six commonly used learning design languages categorising them as follows:

1.     Pedagogical models – academic literature

2.     Generic learning designs – patterns and generic LDVS

3.     Contextulaised learning design instantiations – LDVS, LDLite and E2ML

4.     Executable runnable versions – IMS LD, LAMS

 

Harper and Oliver (2008: 228) developed a taxonomy for learning designs arising out of the AUTC Learning Design project[2] which gathered over 50 exemplar learning designs. The AUTC designs were categorised into five types of design: Collaborative designs, concept/procedure designs, problem-based learning designs, project/case study designs and role-play designs. The AUTC Learning Design project drew heavily on the work of Oliver and Herrington (2001), who described the three key aspects of a design as: the content or resources the learners interact with, the tasks or activities that the learners are required to perform and the support mechanisms to provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources. Harper and Oliver argue that there has been little work to provide a means to classify and categorise learning designs. The designs were evaluated using an adapted version of the framework developed by Boud and Prosser (2002):

·      Learner engagement

·      Acknowledgement of the learning context

·      Learner challenge

·      The provision of practice

And they identified the following four types of learning design

1.     Rule focus – based on the application of rules

2.     Incident focus – based on incidents and events

3.     Strategy focus – that require strategic thinking, planning and activity

4.     Role focus – where the learning outcomes are based on learners’ performance and personal experiences.

Falconer and Littlejohn (2008: 23) argue that there are a number of challenges with representing models of practice. These include:

·      Ownership of representations:  different representations are effective for different communities, and there are a number of different purposes a representation needs to fulfil.

·      There are issues around the community and purpose of representations – in terms of being generic or a detailed sequence and use for orchestration and offering inspiration to teachers in terms of implementing them and hence changing practice.

·      Designs as both product and processes

·      The degree of granularity of the design, Littlejohn and Falconer found the the most common level of granularity is around a lesson plan for 1 – 3 hours of learning.

 

Learning design as a research field has emerged in the last ten years or so, primarily driven to date by researchers in Europe and Australia. Before describing the methodology we have developed at the Open University, I will provide a brief overview of the development of the field and some of the key features/milestones. The learning design research work has developed in response to a perceived gap between the potential of technologies in terms of their use to support learning and their actual use in practice (Conole, 2004; Herrington et al., 2005; Bennett et al., 2007). Much of the learning design research is concerned with mechanisms for articulating and sharing practice, and in particular the ways in which designs can be represented. Lockyer et al. (2008) and Beetham and Sharpe (2007) have produced edited collections on work in this area. A closely related body of work to learning design is research into the development and use of pedagogical patterns. Derived from Alexander’s work in Architecture, pedagogical patterns is an approach to developing structured case studies of good practice (See for example Goodyear, 2005 for an outline of the field).

 

Learning Design as a term originated in the technical community and began to gain prominence around 2004, following the development of the educational mark-up language at the Open University of the Netherlands. Since then others have appropriated it in a much broader sense, shifting to the notion of ‘Designing for Learning’. Cross and Conole (2008) provide a simple overview of the field. The focus of the research is to both better understand and represent design processes, along with developing tools and methods to hep practitioners create better designs. A number of benefits of adopting a more formal and rigorous approach to design have been identified (Conole, 2009). In terms of the OULDI research work, we define learning design as:

A methodology for enabling teachers/designers to make more informed decisions in how they go about designing, which is pedagogically informed and makes effective use of appropriate resources and technologies. This includes the design of resources and individual learning activities right up to whole curriculum level design. A key principle is to help make the design process more explicit and shareable. Learning design as an area of research and development includes both gathering empirical evidence to better understand the design process as well as the development of a range of resource, tools and activities.

 

Arguably the origins of the term can be traced back to work at the OUNL in the Netherlands in terms of the development of a Learning Design specification, which subsequently translated into the IMS LD specification (see http://www.imsglobal.org/learningdesign/). From a review of learning theories an Educational Modelling Language was developed (Koper and Manderveld, 2004) and from this a Learning Design specification (see for example Koper and Oliver, 2004). Focusing very much at the technical level, it was claimed that the LD specification was pedagogically neutral and could be used to describe any learning interventions. The specification was based on a theatrical metaphor, describing the roles of those involved in the intervention, the environment in which it occurred and the tools and resources involved. Inherent in the approach was the assumption that educational practice can be represented in a design description, i.e. that underlying design ideas and principles can be captured in an explicit representation. In addition the design of a course is driven by ‘pedagogical models’ that capture the teacher’s beliefs and is a set of rules that prescribe how leaning can be achieved in a particular context. Koper and Oliver (2004: 98) define ‘learning design’ as ‘an application of a pedagogical model for a specific learning objective, target group and a specific context or knowledge domain’. It specifies the teaching-learning process. A number of tools have since been created to run IMS LD specifications, but the work has not had a fundamental impact on changing teacher practice, focusing more on the technical description and running of the designs.

 

In parallel, work in Australia embraced a broader notion of the term ‘learning design’, which was located more at the level of practice than technical specification. The AUTC Learning Design project aimed to capture a range of pedagogical models as learning design case studies with the intention that these could then be used by teachers to guide their practice and enable greater sharing and reuse of designs (Oliver, et al., 2002, AUTC, nd, Agostinho, 2008). The work was based on a framework for describing learning designs developed by Oliver and Harrington (Oliver, 1999, Oliver and Harrington, 2001). This was based on three critical elements: learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports. The intention was that thinking about and making explicit each of these elements helped to both guide the design process and make it explicit. The approach as used to represent a range of learning designs across different pedagogical models, such as role play, problem-based learning, concept-based learning and collaboration. The AUTC LD project produced detailed guidelines on each of the design case studies they captured, representing these visually using an updated version of the design representation developed by Oliver and Harrington, along with detailed descriptions on how the design was produced and how it can be used. A number of studies have been conducted exploring how the AUTC designs are actually used by teachers. Buzza et al. (2004) focussed on the ‘Predict, Observe, Explain’ design with four teachers and two instructional designers. Overall the participants recognised the value of the designs and how they might be used, although the researchers concluded that widespread adoption of the IMS Learning Design specification would not be possible until a controlled vocabulary can be agreed upon for use in cataloguing and searching for learning designs. Agostinho et al., (2009) explored to what extent the AUTC designs were effective learning design descriptions, i.e. that they provide adequate information that can be easily understood in terms of content and thus potentially reused by a teacher in their particular educational context. Their findings were that there are three important features of an effective learning design description: i) a clear description of the pedagogical design, ii) some form of ‘quality’ rating, and iii) guidance/advice on how the design could be reused.

 

In the UK the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) funded a series of projects under the ‘Design for Learning programme’ (See Beetham, 2008 for a review of the programme and the lessons learnt). The term ‘Design for Learning’ was used rather than learning design to indicate a broader scope and a more holistic approach. Design for learning was defined as ‘a set of practices carried out by learning professionals… defined as designing, planning and orchestrating learning activities which involve the use of technology, as part of a learning session or programme’ (Beetham, 2008: 3). The programme included a review of e-learning pedagogical models, which classified learning theories into three main types: associative, constructive and situative (Mayes and DeFreitas, 2005). The Mod4L project explored what different types of design presentations were being used by practitioners and concluded that de-contextualised designs or patterns could not in practice form the basis of a generic design typology, in which a finite number of educationally meaningful intentions could be discerned (Falconer, et al. 2007). The programme also supported the development of two pedagogical planner tools, Phoebe (Masterman, 2008) and the London Pedagogical Planner. The programme divided the design lifecycle into four parts: design, instantiation, realisation and review. The granularity of the designs ranged from the design of learning objects or short learning activities up to broader sessions or whole courses/curricula. Some of the key lessons from the programme included the following. Design practices are varied, depending on individuals, subject differences and local cultures. Design tools are rarely perceived as pedagogically neutral and most are not considered flexible enough to match real practice. There were mixed views on what were the most appropriate ways of representing and sharing designs – some wanted rich, narrative representations, others wanted bite-sized representations that could be easily reused.

 

Design patterns

Closely related to the area of learning design and arguably a sub-set of learning design is the work on pedagogical patterns. Garzotto and Retails, S. (2008: 113) provide a critical perspective on design patterns for e-learning. Patterns originates in the area of Architecture and are defined as follows:

‘A design pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment and then describes the core of the solution to that problem in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice’. (Alexander, Ishikawa, & Silverstein, 1977)

 

E-learning design experience is often shared informally in the everyday language of teaching practice and arguably patterns provide a means of abstracting and representing good practice.  (2008: 120) cite a number of key projects in the area of pedagogical patterns, include the design patterns in e-learning Pointer project,[3]  the ELEN project,[4] and the TELL project.[5] Goodyear and Yang (2008: 173) also note the Pedagogical Patterns Project (PPP),[6] which developed four pattern languages around: active learning, feedback, experiential learning and gaining different perspectives. Garzotto and Retalis outline a similar taxonomy for elearning design patterns, in terms of patterns about: human actors, pedagogical strategies, learning resources, and technological tools and services.

 

Frizell and Hubscher (2008: 147) suggest that there are three benefits of design patterns: firstly that they can serve as a design tool, secondly that they provide a concise and accurate communication among designers and thirdly that they can be used to disseminate expert knowledge to novices. They also present a design framework for e-learning patterns (2008: 156) which consists of the following: designing for interactivity, providing problem-solving activities, encouraging student participation, encouraging student expression, providing multiple perspectives on content, providing multiple representations of data, include authentic content and activities, providing structure to the learning process, giving feedback and guidance, and providing support aides. In essence covering the full range of good pedagogical practice.

Origins of the OU Learning Design Initiative

The OU Learning Design Initiative emerged from previous work on the development of a learning design toolkit, DialogPlus (Fill and Conole, 2008). Like the Phoebe and the LPP tools, DialogPlus was intended to act as a step-by-step guide to enable teachers to create learning designs. The tool was based on an underlying taxonomy, which defined the components of a learning activity (Conole, 2008), which was derived through a series of interviews with teachers about their design practices. However, evaluation of the actual use of such design planner tools indicated that they did not match actual design practice closely enough. Their relatively linear and prescriptive structure did not match the creative, iterative and messy nature of actual teacher design practice.

 

The OU Learning Design Initiative was initiated in 2007, supported through strategic funding from the OU. The intention was to derive a more practice-focussed approach to learning design, identified from empirical evidence of actual practice. This included gathering 43 case studies of the ways in which the then new Learning Management System (LMS) (Moodle) was being used (Wilson, 2007) and a series of interviews with teachers to articulate their actual teaching practice (Clark and Cross, 2010). The key focus of the teacher interviews was to better understand existing practice. The authors note in their introduction that ‘Even experienced academics who have participated in a range of course production tasks find it difficult to articulate how they go about developing a “learning design” that will be transformed into effective learning materials’ (Clark and Cross, 2010). The interviews focussed on five main questions: i) process: how do teachers go about designing a course?, ii) support: how do they generate ideas?, iii) representation: how do they represent their designs?, iv) barriers: what barriers do they encounter?, v) evaluation: how do they evaluate the effectiveness of the design?

 

A range of approaches to design were evident, including gathering of resources, brainstorming, listing concepts and skills, creating week-by-week plans, etc. On the whole these were paper-based and primarily text-based. There was little evidence of use of alternative, more visual representations or visual software tools. Interviewees wanted help with understanding how to integrate ICT-based activities into courses. Face-to-face workshops and meetings were favoured over online support as they were felt to be the most effective way of thinking about, and absorbing, new ideas and ways of working. Case studies interestingly were considered to be too demanding in time and effort, interviewees wanted just-in-time support to specific queries. The most effective form of support was considered to be sharing of experience with peers. A variety of representations were mentioned from simple textual representations or lists through to more complex and connected mindmaps. The interviewees listed a variety of purposes for the representations, including communicating personal vision, capturing or sharing ideas, comparing with others, viewing the course at different levels and mapping content to learning outcomes. Barriers included concerns about a lack of experience of creating online activities and a lack of successful examples and an OU-specific issue in terms of the difficulty of melding together the innovative (and often idiosyncratic) ideas of course creators with the needs of a production system delivering the OU’s size and range of learning materials and services. A range of mechanisms were cited in terms of evaluation approaches. These included feedback from students and tutors, comments from critical readers, peer course team critiques and comments from external examiners.

This empirical work provided a sound basis for the development of our approach. Our initial focus centered on the following questions:

 

·      How can we gather and represent practice (and in particular innovative practice) (capture and represent practice)?

·      How can we provide ‘scaffolds’ or support for staff in creating learning activities that draws on good practice, making effective use of tools and pedagogies (support learning design)? (Conole, 2009).

 

We have identified six reasons why adopting a learning design approach might be beneficial:

1.     It can act as a means of eliciting designs from academics in a format that can be tested and reviewed with developers, i.e. a common vocabulary and understanding of learning activities.

2.     It provides a means by which designs can be reused, as opposed to just sharing content.

3.     It can guide individuals through the process of creating learning interventions.

4.     It creates an audit trail of academic design decisions.

5.     It can highlight policy implications for staff development, resource allocation, quality, etc.

6.     It aids learners in complex activities by guiding them through the activity sequence.

 

These map closely with the benefits of adopting a design-based approach outlined by Gibbons and Brewer (2005). They argue that the benefits include: improving the rate of progress (in the creation of designs), influencing the designer conceptions through making the design process explicit, helping to improve design processes, improvements in design and development tools, and bringing design and production closed together. Fundamentally, I would agree with their assertion that it opens up new ways of thinking about designs and designing.

 

We see ‘learning design’ as an all encompassing term to cover the process, representation, sharing and evaluation of designs from lower level activities right up to whole curriculum level designs. In previous work (Conole and Jones, 2009) we identify three levels of design: micro, meso and macro, drawing on Bielaczyc (2006) and Jones (2007). In our terms, the micro-level refers to learning activities (typically a few hours worth of activity), the meso-level to aggregations of activities or blocks of activities (weeks or months worth of activity) and the macro-level to whole curriculum designs. As part of their Curriculum Design programme the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) provide the following definition in terms of curriculum (JISC, nd):

‘Curriculum design’ is generally understood as a high-level process defining the learning to take place within a specific programme of study, leading to specific unit(s) of credit or qualification. The curriculum design process leads to the production of core programme/module documents such as a course/module description, validation documents, prospectus entry, and course handbook. This process involves consideration of resource allocation, marketing of the course, and learners’ final outcomes and destinations, as well as general learning and teaching approaches and requirements. It could be said to answer the questions ‘What needs to be learned?’, ‘What resources will this require?’, and ‘How will this be assessed?’

 

We were interested in a number of research questions in particular. Can we develop a range of tools and support mechanisms to help teachers design learning activities more effectively? Can we agree a shared language/vocabulary for learning design, which is consistent and rigorous, but not too time consuming to use? How can we provide support and guidance on the creation of learning interventions? What is the right balance of providing detailed, real, case studies, which specify the detail of the design, compared with more abstract design representations that simply highlight the main features of the design? How can we develop a sustainable, community of reflective practitioners who share and discuss their learning and teaching ideas and designs?

References

Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). Pattern languages: towns, buildings and construction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2007). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital age: Designing and Delivering E-Learning: Routledge %@ 0415408741 %7 New edition.

Lockyer, L., Bennett, S., Agostinho, S., & Harper, B. (2008). Handbook of Research on Learning Design and Learning Objects: Issues, Applications and Technologies: IGI Global %@ 1599048612 %7 illustrated edition.

 

Boud, D. and Prosser, K. (2002) Appraising new technologies for learning: a framework for development, Educational Media Internationals, 39 (3/4).

 

Fang, (1996), A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices, Educational Research, 38(1), 47-65

 

 

 

 




 

[1] http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/mod4l

 

[2] http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/

 

[3] http://www.comp.lancs.as.uk/computing/research/cseg/projects/pointer/pointer,html

 

 

[4]  http://www2.tisip.no/E-LEN

 

 

[5] http://cosy.ted.unipi/gr/tell

 

[6] http://www.pedagogicalpatterns.org/

Review: Lockyer et al., 2008

Monday, December 13th, 2010


Agostinho, S. (2008), Learning design representations to document, model and share teaching practice

Pg. 1 Academics are presented with many choices in how they can design and deliver their courses.

Pg. 3 six learning design representations; E2ML, IMS LD, Learning Activity Management System (LAMS), Learning Design Visual Sequence (LDVS), LDLite and Patterns

Pg.4  Learning design as a process of designing learning experiences and as a product ie outcome or artefact of the design process

A learning design can represent different levels of granularity – from a whole course down to an individual learning activity

E2ML three aspects: 1. Goal definition, 2. Action diagram, 3. Overview diagram

IMS LD documents the learning design in computer readable format

LAMS software which allows teachers to design and implement online learning activities – sequence of activities as a flowchart

LDVS A learning design consists of 3 parts: tasks students do, content resources and support

LDLite 5 elements: tutor roles, student roles, content resources, service resources and assessment/feedback

Patterns a way of capturing knowledge from designers and sharing them with practitioners. Consists of pattern name, context for the pattern, description of the problem, solution, examples and links to related patterns

Pg. 13 Conole et al. 2007 explain that practitioners use f arrange of tools to support and guide their practice Conole, Oliver, M., Falconer, I., Littlejohn , A. and Harvey, J. (2007) designing for learning in Conole and Oliver ps 101-120 Oxon: Routledge

MoD4L http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/mod4l conducted focus groups concluded that no one single representation is adequate

Pg 14

1.     Pedagogical models – academic literature

2.     Generic learning designs – patterns and generic LDVS

3.     Contextulaised learning design instantiations – LDVS, LDLite and E2ML

4.     Executable runnable versions – IMS LD, LAMS

Falconer and Littlejohn 2008 Representing models of practice

Pg 20 Three challenges facing teachers: increasing size and diversity of student body, increasing requirement for quality assurance and rapid pace of technological change

Pg 21 little evidence that education has changed fundamentally

Pg 22 representations teachers use: module plan, case study, briefing document, pattern overview, contents table, concept map, learning design sequence, story board, lesson plan

Pg 23 Challenges of developing and using representations

Ownership of representations, different representations effective for different communities, number of different purposes a representation needs to fulfil

Issues from the focus groups: community and purpose, product vs. process, granularity and characterising representations

Pg 26 Purpose: be generic, detail sequence and orchestration and inspire teachers to implement them and hence change practice

Pg 29 Product vs. Purpose

Pg 30 most common level of granularity a lesson plan of 1-3 hrs

Pg 49 IMS LD Method – specifies the teaching-learning process, roles of learners and teachers, activities, environments – resources and services, conditions,

Garzotto, F. and retails, S. (2008), A critical perspective on design patterns for e-learning, pg 113

‘A design pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment and then describes the core of the solution to that problem in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice, Alexander et al., 1977Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S. and Silverstein, M. (1977) Pattern languages: towns, buildings and construction, New York: Oxford University Press

pg 114 Eleaning design experience is often shared informally in the everyday language of teaching practice

pg 119 concept of design patterns also applied to software engineering

pg 120 Design patterns in e-learning Pointer project http://www.comp.lancs.as.uk/computing/research/cseg/projects/pointer/pointer,html

ELEN http://www2.tisip.no/E-LEN

TELL http://cosy.ted.unipi/gr/tell

Pg 121 A taxonomy for elearning design patterns: patterns about human actors, patterns about pedagogical strategies, patterns about learning resources and patterns about technological tools and services

Pg 144 Frizell, S.S. and Hubscher, R. Using design patterns to support e-learning design

Pg 147 three main benefits of design patterns 1. They serve as a design tool, 2. Provide concise and accurate communication among designers, 3. Disseminate expert knowledge to novices

Pg 156 design framework for elearning patterns: design for interactivity, provide problem-solving activities, encourage student participation, encourage student expression, provide multiple perspectives on content, provide multiple representations of data, include authentic content and activities, provide structure to the learning process, give feedback and guidance, provide support aides

Goodyear, P. and Yang, D.F. Patterns and pattern languages in educational design, pg 167

Pg 168 Educational design is the set of practices involved in constructing representations of how to support learning in particular cases

Pg 170 educational design takes time it rarely starts with a clear complete conception of what is desired. The process of iterative clarification of the nature of the problem and its solution involves complex thought.

Pg 173 Pedagogical Patterns Project (PPP) worked on 4 pattern languages: active learning, feedback, experiential learning and gaining different perspectives. http://www.pedagogicalpatterns.org/

Issue with patterns is that if they are too abstract they lack insight whereas if they are too specific they are not transferable

Pg 209 Masterman, E. Activity theory and the design of pedagogical planning tools

Pg 210 lack of uptake of technologies due to a number of factors: lack of awareness of the possibilities, technophobia, lack of time to explore the technology, aversion to the risks inherent in experimentation and fear of being supplanted by the computer.

Pg 211 Designing for learning – the process by which teachers – and others involved in the support of learning – arrive at a plan or structure or design for a learning situation (Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: 7).

Beetham and sharpe – learning can never be wholly designed, only designed for (ie planned in advance) with an awareness of the contingent nature of learning as it actually takes place (2007: 8)

Activity theory 212 an activity to work on some sort of object and transform it into an outcome. In a learning session the object is the learning session being designed for and the outcome is the pedagogical plan

Activity system consists of the object and the outcome, the human subjects, mediated by two types of tools – technical tools which mediate physical actions and psychological tools which mediate cognitive actions. The learning designs are psychological tools for helping teachers to think about their practice in new ways. Social dimension of an activity means it is carried out in a community which has a set of rules and division of labour. Rules include curriculum, timetabling and procedures for booking IT facilities. Division of labour determines how the task is segmented among the subjects and the other members of the community. An activity is constantly changing and developing in expansive cycles.

Pg 223 Phoebe pedagogic planner was designed as a tool that could propagate the principles of effective practice to as wide an audience as possible by allowing them to develop new pedagogical approaches while still using the planning tools that they were familiar with.

Pg 228 Harper, B and Oliver, R. Developing a taxonomy for learning designs

Pg 230 there has been little work to provide a means to classify and categorise learning designs

Over 50 exemplar learning designs were gathered in the AUTC Learning Design project. These were evaluated using an adapted version of the framework developed by Boud and Prosser (2002) Appraising new technologies for learning: a framework for development, Educational Media Internationals, 39 (3/4).

1.     Learner engagement

2.     Acknowledgement of the learning context

3.     Learner challenge

4.     The provision of practice

Types of learning design

1.     Rule focus – based on the application of rules

2.     Incident focus – based on incidents and events

3.     Strategy focus – that require strategic thinking, planning and activity

4.     Role focus – where the learning outcomes are based on learners’ performance and personal experiences

 

Oliver and herrington (2001) describe three aspects of a design: content or resources the learners interact with, the tasks or activities that the learners are required to perform and the support mechanisms to provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources.

 

Types of exemplars:

1.     Collaborative focus

2.     Concept/procedure development focus

3.     Problem based learning focus

4.     Project/case study focus

5.     Role play focus

Kearney, M., Prescott, A. and Young, K. pg 263 Investigating prospective teachers as learning design authors

Pg 264 teachers often struggle to implement theory into practice Fang, 1996 A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices, Educational Research, 38(1), 47-65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Botturi and Stubbs, 2008

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Hohanson, B., Miller, C. and Hooper, S., pg. 1 -17 Commodity, firmness, and delight: four modes of instructional design practice

Pg. 6 Instructional design is guided by a range of theories and ideas, beliefs and assumptions, not the least of which is a perception of our own practice

Pg. 7 Vitruvius advocated that architecture design must satisfy three discrete requirements: firmitas (strength – construction and physical soundness of the building. How media is used and how technology is applied to a solution), utilitas (utility – functional use and appropriateness, application of instructional methods, use of sound instructional theories and the structuring of the interface design) and vernustas (beauty – aesthetic or beauty of the architecture, affective aspects and the complete learning experience).

Pg. 19 A design language is what designers use to communicate designs, plans and intentions to each other and to the produces of their artifacts Gibbons and Brewer, 2005: 113)

Understanding visual representations is a learned skill Rose, G. 2001 Visual methodologies: An introduction to the interpretation of visual materials, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE publications

Stubbs, S.T. and Gibbons, A.S. The power of design drawing in other design fields

Pg 35

In ID, visual representations serve two purposes. 1) used during design as part of the design process to represent some aspect of instruction before it had to be produced or represented. May be in the form of storyboards or flow charts 2) part of the content that is being produced.

Pg 37 Design drawing aids the designer by reducing cognitive load during the design process. Because design sketched are an external representation, they augment memory and support informational processing. Tversky, B (2002), What do sketches say about thinking? (AAAI technical report, SS-02-08), Stanford University

Pg 37 Another view of drawing is similar to Vygotsky’s description of the relationship of language to thought. Substituting drawing for words, Vygotky says: ‘Thought is not merely expressed in (drawings), it comes into existence through them.’

Pg 38 Languages in general provide advantages particularly useful in design. 1. They allow thought to be communicated so that good ideas don’t get lost, 2. They provide a focus of attention that permits higher-power processing and anchoring of thought and 3. They provide the ability to question and judge the value of the thought – to construct thoughts about thought. Jackendoff, R. (1996) The architecture of the language faculty, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Stages of design

1.     Sketches to try ideas out

2.     As design progresses the drawings become more formal, more governed by rules and conventions

Pg 41 Design drawings can be categorised by their form and purpose. Massironi, 2002 taxonomy of graphic productions. Distinction between representional (physical reality) and non-representional (abstract concepts) drawings.

McKim types of abstract graphic languages: venn diagrams, organisation charts, flow charts, link-node diagrams, bar charts and graphs, schematic diagrams and pattern languages.

Laseau 1986: bubble diagrams, area diagrams, matrices and networks

Pg 56 Visual languages serve several purposes 1. Communicate a message through a visual or functional language, 2. Provide a synthetic idea, image or metaphor of complex ideas, 3. Create a grammar or produce meaning for its use.

Pg 112 Botturi, L. E2ML A tool for sketching instructional design

Two types of languages 1. Finalist communicative languages – serve the purpose of representing a complete instructional design for communicating it to others for implementation, reuse or simply archival 2. Representative – help designers think about the instruction they are designing and support its creation. Ability to express an idea, allows people to better analyse and understand it and to make better design decisions.

Pg 381 Agostinho, S., Harper, B., Oliver, R., Hedberg, J. and Wills, S. A visual learning deisgn representation to facilitate dissemination and reuse of innovative pedagogical strategies in university teaching

P381 Uptake of the use of high quality ICT-based learning designs in HE has been slow. Factors include low levels of dissemination of ICT-based learning projects, lack of ICT-based learning examples to model, barriers: lack of time, support and training.

Pg 382 Oliver and Herrington three elements that comprise an learning design

1.     The tasks or activities learners are required to undertake

2.     The content resources provided to help learners complete the tasks

3.     The support mechanisms provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources

Quality criteria

1.     Engage learners by considering their prior knowledge and building on their experience

2.     Acknowledge the learning context by considering how the learning experience is positioned in the broader program of study

3.     Challenge learners through active participation

4.     Encourage learners to practice or apply their learning through articulating and disseminating their understanding to themselves and their peers

 

Spector et al. review

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010


Handbook of research on educational communications and technology - 3rd Edition

Below are my notes on the handbook. Comments welcome!

Historical foundations, M. Molenda Pg 4 Educational technology as a field has developed through a series of phases as new technologies have emerged. Its origins are in the use of visual and audio-visual systems, then radio, television, teaching machines, the design of instructional systems, computers and ultimately the use of the internet for both storage/processing of information and communication.

Pg 9 Barriers cited for the lack of use for audio-visual tools in the 1940/50s were identical to those cited for lack of use of computers in the 1990s. accessibility, lack of training, unreliability of equipment, limited budgets and difficulty in integrating into the curriculum.

Paradigm shifts in the field due to new thinking around learning theories from behaviourism, through cognitivism and finally constructivism. These theories led to the development of particular uses of technology designed to support the underpinning principles of the theories.

Theoretical foundations, J.M. Spector

Pg 21 Foundations of educational technology: the psychology of learning, communications theory, human-computer interactions and instructional design and development

Pg 23 Dewey How we think argues that we need to understand the nature of thought to be able to devise appropriate means and methods to train thought.

Pg 24 All learning involves language Vygotsky

Philosophical perspectives, K.L. Schuh and S.A. Barab

Pg 74 Merrills principles of ID

·      Task orientated approach

·      Activation principle

·      Demonstration principle

·      Application principle

·      Integration principle

Computer-mediated technologies, A.C. Graeser, P. Chipman and B.G. King

Pg 212 Most students do not know how to use advanced learning environments effectively, so modelling, scaffolding and feedback on their optimal use are necessary.

Technology-based knowledge systems, I. Douglas Pg 245 knowledge communities – ref for cloudworks

The learning objects literature D.A. Wiley

Pg 347 - 348 Wiley

Many different definitions of learning objects and a number of metaphors

Lego metaphor: small chunks of content which can be combined

Molecule metaphor: small chunks of content that according to their semantic and structural makeup have stronger affinities for binding with some learning objects, emphasises the role and importance of context

Bricks and mortar metaphor: small chunks of content which need some contextual glue to bind them together

Pf 351 the reusability paradox – the more reusable LOs are, the less instructionally effective they are and vice versa

Outcome-referenced, conditions-based theories and models, T.J. Ragan, P.L. Smith and L.K. Curda Pg 383 Outcome-reference, conditions-based theories and models Ragan Smith and Curda

Competencies for the new-age instructional designer, R.C. Sims and T.A. Koszalka Pg 574 term instructional design should be replaced with learner/learning design (Sims, 2006)

Cognitive task analysis R.E. Clark, D.F. Felden, J.J.G. van Merrienboer, K.A. Yates and S. Early Pg 579 Cognitive Task Analysis uses a variety of techniques and observations strategies to capture a description of knowledge that experts use to perform complex tasks.

Change agentry, B Beabout and A.A. Carr-Chellman Pg 620 despite the promise of technology, we are not seeing it revolutionise education, see also Cuban 1986 Cuban, L. (1986), Teachers and machines: the classroom use of technologies since 1920, New York: Teacher College Press.

Design languages, A.S. Gibbens, L. Botturi, E. Boot and J. Nelson, Pg 633 Design languages

Pg 634 Design languages and notation systems hold great practical and theoretical significance for instructional design. Instructional designeres use multiple design languages in the creation of designs. Notation systems make design languages visible and document those solutions. Design languages provide the building blocks of  an evolving design.

Advantages:

1.     Improved design team communications

2.     Improved designer-producer communications

3.     Improved designer-client communications

4.     Promotion of design innovation

5.     More direction from theory and more applicable theory

6.     More nuanced theory integration with designs

7.     Improved design sharing and comparisons of designs

8.     Improved designer education

9.     Design and production automation

 

A design language is a set of abstractions used to give structure, properties and texture to solutions of design problems.

Pg 640 Barton and Tusting noted that ‘ reification entails not only the negotiation of shared understanding but also enables particular forms of social relations to be shaped in the process of participation’.  Barton, D and Tusting, R.M. (2005), Beyond communities of practice: language, power and social context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Systems design for change in education and training, S.L. Watson, C.M. Reigeluth, W.R. Watson Pg 693 Nelson and Stolterman noted that fundamentally, design is a creative act, resulting in the creation of something that has not previously existed. It focuses on making choices to create the best design for a very specific system.  Nelson, H.G. and Stolterman, E. (2003), The design way, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

 

 

Introduction to designing for learning in an open world book

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Chapter 1: Contextualising learning design

Overview

In this book I will argue that in todays technologically rich context, where content and services are increasingly free, we need to rethink approaches to the design of learning activities and content. I introduce the concept of open design and argue that making the design process more explicit and shareable will enable teachers to develop more effective learning contexts for learners and help make the intended design more explicit and shareable with other teachers and learners. It will help learners to make more sense of their educational provision and associated learning pathways. I will provide a number of illustrations of adopting an open design approach, from a set of design representations through to the use of open, social and participatory media for sharing and discussing designs. I draw on the areas of learning design, pedagogical patterns and OER (Open Educational Resources) research to explore the creation, sharing and discussion of learning and teaching ideas and designs.

The Internet and associated technologies have been around for around twenty years now. Networked access and computer ownership are now the norm. As such the context within which todays students learn is radically different from the context for learning in the past. There is a plethora of technologies that can be used to support learning, offering different ways in which learners can communicate with each other and their tutors, and providing them with access to interactive, multimedia content. The so-called net generation has grown up in this technologically rich environment. There has been a lot of hype about how this generation is used to and comfortable with using a range of technologies to support all aspects of their lives (Sharpe & Beetham, 2010). However, these generic skills dont necessarily translate seamlessly to an academic learning context. Appropriation of these technologies for academic purposes requires specific skills (Jenkins, 2009), which means that the way in which we design and support learning opportunities needs to provide appropriate support to harness the potential of technologies. The diversity of offerings available to learners also means there is more potential for them to get lost and confused; more than ever before learners need supportive learning pathways to enable them to blend formal educational offerings, with free resources and services.  This requires a rethinking of the design process, to enable teachers (used in the broadest sense here, from those in K-12 through to tertiary education, as well as designers/trainers in more commercial settings) to take account of a blended learning context.

This new learning context also raises some thought-provoking issues. In a world where content and services are increasingly free, what is the role of formal education? What new teaching approaches and assessment methods are needed? How can we provide effective learning pathways to guide learners through the multitude of offerings now available? How can teachers develop new approaches to the design of learning activities and whole curricula that takes account of this new complex, technologically enhanced context?

The emergence of so-called web 2.0 tools has shifted practice on the Internet away from passive, information provision to active, user engagement. Many of the affordances of new technologies (user participation, peer critique, sharing, collective construction) appear to align well with what are considered to be the hallmarks of good pedagogy (socially situated learning, constructivism, dialogic and inquiry-based learning). However in reality there is a gap between the potential of these technologies and actual use in practice. Teachers lack the necessary skills to make informed decisions about how to use these technologies effectively in their teaching.  The term affordances was coined by Gibbons, originally in an ecological context. He defines them as:

All “action possibilities” latent in an environment… but always in relation to the actor and therefore dependent on their capabilities.

For instance, a tall tree offers the affordances of food for a Giraffe because it has a long neck and can reach the leaves, but not a sheep. This term is useful in a technological context because it infers that although technologies have an inherent set of characteristics or affordances (such as promoting reflection or collaboration) these are only relevant in relation to individual users own characteristics (such as individual skills and personal preferences and the context of use). Technologies and users therefore co-evolve.

The gap between the potential and actual use of technology is a paradox and this paradox is at the heart of the growth of a new area of research that has emerged in recent years. Learning design research aims to better understand this mismatch. It focuses on the development of tools, design methods and approaches to help teachers design pedagogically effective learning activities and whole curriculum, which makes effective use of technologies.

The book introduces learning design as a methodology for designing for learning in an open context. I argue that it is no longer possible for any one teacher to be an expert in knowing about all the ways in which technology can be used to support learning or be aware of all the latest innovative learning activities or resources that are freely available. Drawing on the research we have been doing in this area, along with related research in the learning design field and closely aligned research areas (in particular work on pedagogical patterns, OER research, learning sciences and instructional design), I will argue that there is a need for a more formal approach to designing for learning. Specifically, that we need to shift from the traditional craft-based teacher-design (where design draws on based practice and is essentially implicit) to a more systematic, explicit design approach, drawing on empirically derived and validated tools and methods for design (Figure 1).

OUDLI

Figure 1: The essence of learning design

I will describe the tools and resources that can act as Mediating Artefacts (MAs) to support teachers in making informative design decisions. For a fuller description of how the term mediating artefacts is being used in this context, see (Conole, 2008). I will show how the research we have been doing demonstrates the value of adopting a more open approach to the design process, to enable teachers to represent, share and discuss learning designs with each other and with students.

The book will draw in particular on the research work I have been doing as part of the Open University Learning Design Initiative (OULDI).[1] However it will also locate this work within the broader context of design research from across the learning sciences and instructional design fields. I will articulate my position in terms of designing for learning, through a definition for the concept of learning design by introducing the notion of adopting a more open approach to the design process. I will situate the research work alongside related areas such as instructional design, learning sciences, research into the development and use of pedagogical patterns and Open Educational Resources (OER). The book will also describe the theoretical underpinnings to my work, which are essentially socio-cultural in nature(Daniels, Cole, & Wertsch, 2007; Engeström, Punamäki-Gitai, & Miettinen, 1999), through articulation of the range of Mediating Artefacts (MAs) that can be used to support and guide the design process.

Learning design as a term has being used in a number of different ways, the book will clarify these different perspectives, positioning the approach I take as being about designing for learning. I define learning design as follows:

A methodology for enabling teachers/designers to make more informed decisions in how they go about designing, which is pedagogically informed and makes effective use of appropriate resources and technologies. This includes the design of resources and individual learning activities right up to curriculum-level design. A key principle is to help make the design process more explicit and shareable. Learning design as an area of research and development includes both gathering empirical evidence to understand the design process, as well as the development of a range of resource, tools and activities.

The book will provide a rich basis for critiquing design considerations in learning and instruction. It will make clear both the distinctiveness of learning design as a research inquiry, but also demonstrate how it is related to and builds on other design work from the fields of learning sciences and instructional design. Highlights of work from researchers such as Diana Laurillard, Yannis Dimitriadis, David Merrill, Sasha Barab, Elizabeth Boling, Paul Cobb, Andy Gibbons, Peter Goodyear, Rita Richey, Donald Schon, and Kurt Squire will help provide specific concrete examples.

Audience

I see this book as marking an important turning point for research in this area. It will be of broad interest to a number of audiences given the increased use and impact of ICT in education. Thus its primary intended audience will be existing researchers in the field. In addition, a major second market will consist of new researchers, reached through the use of the book as a core text for postgraduate programmes (including PhD study) in this area. Finally, I believe that there will be interest in this book from a substantial third group, consisting of teachers and trainers, staff developers, learning technology practitioners and managers who would use the book to orient themselves to these new forms of learning and teaching in post-compulsory education.

The book sits at the intersection of a number of research fields and attempts to tackle one of the key challenges facing education – how can teachers design innovative learning experiences for learners in an increasingly technology-enhanced context? The primary audience is researchers in the field of technology-enhanced learning/e-learning. This includes those with a broad interest in researching the use of technology in learning and teaching, as well as individuals with more specialist interests, in particular the research areas of instructional design, learning design, pedagogical patterns, learning sciences and OER research. More broadly, the book will have appeal to researchers in a number of related fields such as computer science, education, information sciences and psychology. The book should be of interest in a number of fields, including: educational technology, learning technology, education, open and distance education. It is envisaged that it would be of relevance to a wide range of masters-level courses in this area and associated areas across Higher and Further Education (including programmes in e-learning, learning technology research, networked learning, educational masters programmes, etc.). There are now a significant number of masters courses concerned with the use of technology in education (ranging from specialized instructional design courses through to e-learning and open and distance education courses). In addition, I anticipate that it will be used as a reference text for induction programmes for new lecturers. It will also be of relevance to related masters in computer science, education, business studies and psychology for example. This will also be of value to consumers of research such as managers, policy makers, learning technologists and staff developers. In addition because the book covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject, it will also be of interest to those with a support role in institutions, such as: learning technologists, instructional designers, educational developers and librarians.

A central argument that will be developed in the book is that effective and systematic approaches to design are essential in todays complex, technologically rich learning context. Teachers need tools and methods to help guide them to make informed decisions about their designs. As such teachers will also find this book valuable; in particular the description and case studies of a range of specific tools and design methods. The book is likely to be of particular benefit to new teachers, as part of induction programmes for new faculty.

Finally, the book will look at design from the perspective of different levels of levels of granularity (from the design of small-scale learning activities through to whole curricula design), as well as across the whole design lifecycle (from initial concepts through to evaluation). I will argue that in most institutions, current structures and processes are woefully inadequate to take account of the affordances of new technologies and that effective design using new technologies will require a radical rethink of the whole curriculum process. This has significant implications for institutional strategy and policy. As such the book is likely to be of interest to those in managerial roles within institutions as well as policy makers.

Structure

The book will be divided into four sections:

Section 1 – Content and theory

·    Context: providing a summary of the changing context of education

·      Society,

·      Technology,

·      Learning and teaching

·      Further trends

·    Issues: current barriers to using technologies in learning and teaching

·      Gap between promise and reality,

·      Teachers’ design strategies: summary of findings from a series of interviews

·      Learning design as a methodology to address these issues

·    Learning design: a definition and theoretical basis

·      Definition and historical origins

·      Contextualisation in the field – Critique of the concept of design, locating Learning Design in relation to design research work in the learning sciences and instructional design fields

·      An outline of a learning activity taxonomy

·      Theoretical underpinnings

·      Findings from the evolving empirical evidence base

·      An outline of the different facets of learning design

·    Related research areas and synergies

·      Instructional design

·      Pedagogical patterns

·      Open Educational Resource movement

·      Towards a process of ‘open design’ bringing together these different strands of research

 

Section 2 - Tools and methods

·    Representation: different ways in which learning activities and curricula can be represented

·      An overview of different forms of representation and how they can be used

·      Visualisation: the power of visualisation

·      Design Methods: An outline of different design methods and schema

·      Guidance: different forms of guidance and support for teachers

·    Types of guidance and support (in-situ help, templates, pedagogical patterns, pedagogical planners, events and activities)

·      Challenges in providing guidance and support

·    Sharing and discussion:

·      Barriers to sharing learning and teaching ideas and designs

·      Different forms of sharing and fostering dialogue

·    Metaphors for design

·      The limitations of current representations and discourse

·      Rethinking the design process and the role of metaphors

 

Section 3 – Application and empirical case studies

·    Application: A series of case studies outlining how the tools and methods described in section two are being used

·      Case study - representation: Making designs explicit through visualisation

o   Description of CompendiumLD

o   Evaluation of the use of CompendiumLD

o   Comparison with related visualisation tools

·      Case study - guidance: mechanism for guiding design

o   Review of different tools that have been developed to support the design process and description of the different strategies they have used

o   Mixing real and virtual – description of the design challenge event as a mechanism for structuring design workshops

·      Case study – sharing and discussing:

o   Review of web 2.0 practices and how they are being used in learning and teaching

o   Description of Cloudworks social networking site for learning and teaching

o   A taxonomy of new practices for sharing and discussion

·      Case study: OLnet: Bringing together OER, learning design and pedagogical patterns

·      Case study: Design across the whole curriculum, taking a holistic approach

 

Section 4 - Conclusion

·    Current research questions defining the field – in particular comparing this work with related efforts

·    Institutional change – strategy and policy directives

·    Challenges and the future

·    Implications for future research and development in the field of learning design and related areas

·    Looking to the future – reflecting on changes in how people might be learning and designing learning in 10or 20 years and considering the impact learning design and related research areas might have on this

·    Changing relationships; students as designers, make design open and explicit

·    A final relocation in the broader context of learning sciences and instructional design, what niche space does learning design occupy?

·    Future challenges for learning design research and the implications for learning and instruction

 

Postscript

·    Reflections on the process of producing the book in an ‘open’ style

·      The production of the book will be accompanied by a continual ongoing reflective blog and invited questions and discussions in cloudworks.

This is building on an established area of research, which I have being involved with over the past ten years or so. In particular it follows on from the development of a Learning Design toolkit, called DialogPlus (http://www.dialogplus.soton.ac.uk/), as part of a NSF/JISC funded project and more recently the OULDI work at the Open University (http://ouldi.open.ac.uk). Aspects of the work have been published in chapters and journal articles but this book provides a synthesis the work to date and provide a clear position/take on the field. In addition it aligns this work alongside related learning design research and more broadly research in closely aligned areas (such as instructional design, learning sciences, pedagogical patterns and OER research). The aim of the book is to provide a synthesis and coherent overview of learning design as a research area, within the context of an educational context that is technologically rich and increasingly open.

The process of writing the book

The writing of the book is intended to be adventurous, in terms of adopting an ‘open approach’ to the process of writing the book. This consists of an ongoing series of blog posts about the book on my blog (http://www.e4innovation.com). These posts include initial ideas around the nature and scope of the book, articulation of particular issues I encounter as I am writing, fleshing out some of the ideas for the chapters and associated references. Coupled to this, periodically a series of clouds on the Cloudworks site (http://cloudworks.ac.uk), invite the broader research community to participate in a discussion around some of research issues and questions that arise from the content of the book as it develops. Cloudworks will also be used as a means of adopting an open approach to the literature review associated with the book and the aggregation of relevant links and references. The blog posts and the clouds provide a rich set of associated resources alongside the book, as well as a continued space for ongoing discussion once the book is published.

The emergence of learning design as a research area

This is an important and vibrant research field and there have been a number of edited collections in the last few years (Beetham & Sharpe, 2007; Lockyer, Bennett, Agostinho, & Harper, 2008). The book also aligns with related research work in the area of Pedagogical Patterns (Goodyear & Retalis, 2010) and Open Educational Resources (Iiyoshi & Kumar, 2008). The Iiyoshi and Kumar book provides an over of the open content and knowledge movement, of which Open Education Resources research is one aspect. As part of the proposed book I intend to make a more explicit connection between the area of learning design, pedagogical patterns and Open Educational Resources. With colleagues I have recently submitted a chapter to a new edited collection on CSCL pedagogical patterns (Conole, McAndrew, & Dimitriadis, 2010), which describes initial work in this area. This has been submitted to a book edited by F. Pozzi and D. Persico Techniques for Fostering Collaboration in Online Learning Communities: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives” (see http://www.itd.cnr.it/page.php?ID=IGG_CSCL). The Goodyear and Retalis book provides a useful edited collection of current research in the field of pedagogical patterns. In this book, I have a chapter, which begins to align the learning design and pedagogical patterns research, through the description of a learning activity as both a visual learning design representation and as a pedagogical pattern. The work also aligns with related research in instructional design and learning sciences (Reigeluth & Carr-chellman, 2009; Sawyer, 2006; Spector, 2008) for example:

To my knowledge the book would provide the first single-authored coherent overview of learning design. The work we are doing as part of the OULDI is at the forefront of research in this field. We have developed a range of innovative tools and design methods, which are generating a lot of interest in the field. We have an evolving Learning Design Toolbox (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/index.php/cloudscape/view/1882), which gives some indication of the scale of our work. The book aims to provide a coherent overview for this work, along with a theoretical underpinning and contextualization with related research in the field. The book also aims to provide a good balance of theoretical underpinning for the field, innovative tools and methods, and practical examples and case studies.

Design is arguably the most important aspect of learning and teaching; effective design enables teachers to make informed use of technologies and incorporation of innovative pedagogies approaches, which can meet the challenges of a complex modern educational context. However, design is complex and teachers need support and guidance to effectively incorporate new technologies, to think differently, to change their practice. This book outlines a means of achieving this, along with practical tools and methods. All of the tools and methods described are freely available. The book will also help clarify the relationship between learning design and related fields. It will provide an opportunity to align learning design research with pedagogical patterns and OER research.

References

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2007). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital age: Designing and Delivering E-Learning: Routledge %@ 0415408741 %7 New edition.

Conole, G. (2008). Capturing practice, the role of mediating artefacts in learning design In L. Lockyer, S. Bennett, S. Agostinhi and B. Harper Handbook of learning designs and learning objects: IGI Global.

Conole, G., McAndrew, P., & Dimitriadis, Y. (2010). The role of CSCL pedagogical patterns as mediating artefacts for repurposing Open Educational Resources’ in F. Pozzi and D. Persico (Eds), Techniques for Fostering Collaboration in Online Learning Communities: Theoretical and Practical.

Daniels, H., Cole, M., & Wertsch, J. V. (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky: Cambridge University Press %@ 0521831040 %7 1.

Engeström, Y., Punamäki-Gitai, R. L., & Miettinen, R. (1999). Perspectives on activity theory: Cambridge University Press.

Goodyear, P., & Retalis, S. (2010). Technology-enhanced learning: design patterns and pattern languages. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Iiyoshi, T., & Kumar, M. S. V. (2008). Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge: The MIT Press %@ 0262033712.

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century: Mit Pr.

Lockyer, L., Bennett, S., Agostinho, S., & Harper, B. (2008). Handbook of Research on Learning Design and Learning Objects: Issues, Applications and Technologies: IGI Global %@ 1599048612 %7 illustrated edition.

Reigeluth, C. M., & Carr-chellman, A. A. (2009). Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Volume III: Routledge %@ 0805864563 %7 1.

Sawyer, R. K. (2006). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences: Cambridge University Press %@ 0521845548, 9780521845540.

Sharpe, R., & Beetham, H. (2010). Rethinking learning for the digital age: how learnes shape their own experiences. London: Routledge.

Spector, M. J., Merrill, M.D., van Merrienboer, J., and Driscoll, M.P. . (2008). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (Third ed.). New York: Routledge.

 

 




 

[1] Http://ouldi.open.ac.uk

An open approach to book writing

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I have got a contract to write a book, current title ‘Designing for learning in an open world’. It’s really a chance for me to consolidate the learning design work that I have been involved in over the last eight years or so, to try and articulate my take on this, locate it to other learning design research and also related fields (such as pedagogical patterns work, instructional design and learning sciences). So far I have been working on it in the background, refining the focus, deciding on the structure and content, doing the necessary broader literature reading to locate the content alongside other work. However I think it’s now time to go a bit more ‘open’ – seems appropriate given the focus of the book! So I am planning to post thoughts, rough drafts, ideas etc. here as I go along. I’ve not done this so explicitly before with a piece of research, certainly not for a relatively large enterprise that is likely to go over a fairly extended amount of time. Sure I have put up ‘ideas in the making’ as blog posts and even drafts of papers, but it will be interesting to see how the articulation of a more substantive set of ideas pans out over time. Goodness only knows what I will make of early postings and drafts and/or even worse what if I end up abandoning the whole enterprise?

I’m not sure yet what format this will take, but my thinking at the moment is to post here reflective thoughts, ideas about structure and order, drafts of writing, emergent questions the work raises, pointers to interesting readings and how I am using them, plus maybe some more general reflections on the process. The reflective blog posts are being aggregated in a Cloudscape on Cloudworks, which will also be a space for discussion and aggregation of related relevant references.  

Have others come across similar open approaches in our field and if so how effective are they? I know that some books have been produced and then ‘opened’ as wikis to invite broader contributions and of course that some commercial writings do keep reflective blogs, although I wonder to what extent these are marketing ploys rather than genuine invites to open up the process and invited broader comment? Of course, dare I say it, there is also the old chestnut about whether we should be publishing in traditional channels at all or simply going straight for completely open publishing routes, I know this is something my colleague Martin Weller feels passionate about.

So I post this first entry on this topic with some trepidation, feels like going into the unknown and a little out of my comfort zone… but hey if we don’t push the boat out occasionally life would be a lot less interesting ;-)