Archive for May, 2010

A taxonomy for Learning Design

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

We are running a Course Business Models workshop tomorrow at the OU to share with staff from across the university the work we have done to date in terms of representing courses. The Course Business Models (CBM) and the Learning Design work complement each other in the sense that the LD work provides the broader perspective and theoretical basis for the work and the CBM work a specific local implementation.

One of the things I will argue tomorrow will be about the benefits of adopting a Learning Design approach. In particular I will argue that it offers a design-based approach to the creation and delivery of courses, along with a set of resources, tools and activities to support this. It enables practitioners (and potentially learners) to shift from learning and teaching practices that are essentially ‘belief’ based (i.e. this is what I have always done, this is my experience of learning and teaching) and implicit to ones based on design principles derived from good pedagogy and mechanisms that enable the design to be made more explicit. Adopting a design-based approach promotes a reflective and scholarly approach and facilitates the sharing and discussion of learning and teaching ideas and designs.

LD wheer

In our Design-Practice project (with Cyprus and Greece) we are identifying what innovations from our Learning Design work we can transfer to be applied in their local contexts. This has enabled us to take stock of the range of tools, resources and activities we have produced and put them into a more logical and meaningful framework. Rebecca Galley, Paul Mundin and I had a great brainstorm about this earlier this week and I think we have come up with a nice way of capturing and representing what we have developed. The LD-wheel shown provides a higher level picture; i.e. that our Learning Design methodology is composed of three parts: theoretical perspectives, collaboration and visualisation. For each of these we have developed a set of tools, resources and activities. So for example the CBM Excel templates we have produced for the views are examples of visualisation resources. CompendiumLD is an example of a visualisation tool and Cloudworks an example of a collaboration tool.

At the end of this blog post the full Learning Design Taxonomy underneath this that we have developed is presented.

 guided pathway

It is possible to take a number of guided pathways through the LD-wheel:

  • CBM awareness events (such as the workshop we are running tomorrow) – where the focus is on looking at and discussing the five CBM views.
  • An LD-lite workshop (for example ‘Using technology to support learning and teaching’) – where a selection of tools, resources and activities are used but there is no explicit mention of Learning Design. We are planning to run something like this with our Design-Practice colleagues.
  • Design challenges – using a range of the tools, resources and activities to support teams as they work through creating a course in a day. We have run a number of these both within the OU and externally with our partners on the JISC OULDI project.
  • A masters level unit – such as the one I authored for the H800 course.
  • A free format – where the user choose what they want to use and in what order.

I’m looking forward to the workshop tomorrow and getting feedback on aspects of this work and to seeing in the coming months how this work might be rolled out across the university.


Update on conceptual learning design tools

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

A number of things appear to becoming together - at least in my mind! - in terms of working towards a coherent set of conceptual learning design tools. I’ve blogged about lots of this before, but thought this post would be useful in terms of bringing some of this up to date. Interesting these ideas are currently spanning a number of projects/research work I am involved with. Clearly this work fits in terms of the overall ideas about adopting a learning design-based methodology and the associated tools/resources/activities to support this. Institutionally this work is currently being driven through our Course Business Models work. Externally aspects of this are feeding into the Design-Practice project we have with Cyprus and Greece and the X-Delia project on financial decision making. Below is a powerpoint presentation showing five conceptual design views of a ‘learning intervention’ - this could be something like an informal learning iphone app (as in this example) or a formal educational course or programme.

The five views are:

  • Learning intervention overview (or Course map view)
  • Pedagogy profile
  • Course dimensions
  • Task swimlane
  • Learning outcomes map

I talked about some of this in detail in a recent networked learning paper and associated powerpoint presentation (Cloud on Cloudworks on the seminar this was part of is here). I think what is exciting about this is that the five ‘views’ give you a means of thinking about a learning intevention at different levels of granalarity and different aspects.

We have particularly made significant progress in the last few weeks I feel on the course dimensions view. I had an excellent brainstorming session on this last week with Mick Jones (who is leading the next phase of our Course Business Models work), Barbara Poniatowska and Kevin Mayles (who are involved in a related project on e-learning data. We have an internal workshop with staff from across the faculty on Friday to get their views on the work to date, how it might be used/improved and how it can be taken forward.

I used the views this week in a brainstorming session with Gill Clough (who is the lead reseacher on our part of the X-Delia project)  in terms of trying to map a learning intervention for an i-phone games app about financial decision making. The views worked surprisingly well. The powerpoint presentation with the five views is below, thoughts welcome!

Health check game

View more presentations from grainne.