Archive for December, 2010

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

 

Chapter two - locating the field

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

This chapter will provide an overview of a number of related research areas that connect with learning design. In particular it will provide a description of a number of related research fields: pedagogical patterns, Open Educational Resources (OER), instructional design and learning sciences. It will attempt to show how these areas are related to but also distinct from learning design.

The context of modern education

Many are arguing that there is a need for a fundamental change in the way in which we design and support learning interventions. That traditional outcomes-based, assessment driven and standardised educational systems and processes do not meet the needs of today’s learners (Beetham & Sharpe, 2007; Borgeman, et al., 2008; Sharpe & Beetham, 2010). A number of triggers are evident. Firstly, there is the broader societal context within which educational sits. Giddens (Giddens, 1999), Castells (Castells, 2000) and others describe the networked and globalised nature of modern society, and the impact of the changing nature of society values (including the defragmentation of the family unit, polarised perspectives on secular vs. religion-based beliefs, changing roles for individuals and organisations).

Reigeluth (Reigeluth & Carr-chellman, 2009, p. 390) argues that we have seen a shift from the industrial to information age, where knowledge work has replaced manual labour as the predominant form of work. Within this context he argues that we need to place a greater emphasis on lifelong and self-directed learning. The greater complexity of modern society (both in terms of societal systems and technological tools) requires specific types of competences to make sense of and interact within this context, such as higher order thinking skills, problem solving, systems thinking and the ability to communicate, collaborate and interact effectively with others. Within this broader societal context there are a number of specific triggers influencing and shaping the context of modern education. Firstly, in terms of approaches to learning there has been a general shift away from individual, behaviourist approaches to those that are more authentic, contextual and social in nature. Constructivist and dialogic approaches have become more prevalent, with a rich set of empirically based case studies of applications of strategies such as problem-based learning, case-based scenarios and inquiry-based learning. Secondly, over the past thirty years or so technologies have had a steady, increasing impact on how learning is designed and supported, from the early days of programme instruction and computer-assisted learning packages through to the use of the Web and more recently Web 2.0 tools and services, online gaming environments, mobile devices and 3D environments such as SecondLife. As a consequence a body of research around the competences and skills needed to effective use and interact these new technologies has emerged. Terms such as digital literacies, information literacies, 21st Century literacies have been used, each with subtle nuances and different foci. However fundamentally the central issue is about the literacies needed to communicate with others and make sense of information (and more specifically how to do this in a digital context). Of particular note within this broader discourse, Jenkins et al. (Jenkins, 2009, p. 4) have identified twelve skills which they argue are necessary to interact in what they term this new participatory culture, namely – play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking and negotiation. The executive summary to the report states that ‘fostering such social skills and cultural competences requires a more systemic approach to media education’ (pg 4). This is at the heart of the learning design methodology approach outlined here. The aim is to present a more systematic approach to the educational design taking account of all the stakeholders involved in the process.

To sum up, because the context of modern education is rapidly changing, traditional approaches to the design and delivery of learning interventions are being challenged and may no longer be appropriate to meet the needs and expectations of modern learners. New pedagogies and innovative use of technologies seem to offer much promise in terms of providing new, exciting educational experiences for learners. However in reality there is little evidence of this happening. Educational innovations in both pedagogical approaches and innovative use of technologies remain the remit of educational innovators or early adopters, there is little evidence of mainstream adoption and indeed depressingly taken as a whole the majority of educational offerings are still based on fairly traditional approaches, with a primary focus on content and assessment of outcomes, delivered via traditional didactic approaches. See for example a recent review of the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education (Grainne Conole & Alevizou, 2010).

The broader design perspective

The central argument of this book is that adopting a more principled, design-based approach to teaching and learning processes might offer a solution to enabling practitioners to make more informed choices about their creation of learning interventions and better use of good pedagogy and new technologies. Before outlining our learning design methodology, it is important first to consider the broader definition of what is meant by design practice and examples of how it is used in other disciplines.

Design theory refers to identifying methods (or models, techniques, strategies and heuristics) and when to use them. Reiguluth (Reigeluth & Carr-chellman, 2009, p. 7) argues that design theory is different from descriptive theory, in that it is goal oriented and normative. It identifies good methods for accomplishing goals, whereas descriptive theory describes cause-effect relationships. Arguably teachers need to develop both – design expertise through application of a design-based approach to the creation of learning interventions and descriptive expertise in terms of interpreting and understanding the learning that takes place. The learning design methodology described in this paper aims to facilitate the development of both approaches.

 

In this book I want to argue that we need a more formal design language for education, to make more explicit and sharable design intentions and to enable designers and users of designs to understand their context of use, their origins, and their intentions. This section provides a definition for the term design language and provides examples of how it is used in other professional domains.

Design is a key feature of many professions and in terms of specifically exploring the design aspects in an educational context. I would like to first consider design practices in related fields. I focus here in particular on three disciplines: Music, Architecture and Chemistry and describe how design approaches have been developed in each of these. I then summarise some of the key characteristics of design practice that emerge and explore the implications of these in terms of the application of design principles to an educational context.

It is worth beginning by comparing general language use with design language. Language is what people use for communicating information and ideas, design language is what designers use to communicate design plans, and intentions to each other. Cole, Engestrom and Vasques (Cole, Engeström, & Vasquez, 1997) argue that ‘the Languages used to a great extent shapes what can and cannot be thought and said’ (cited in (Gibbons & Brewer, 2005, p. 113)).

Design Languages can be used to both generate designs and as a mechanism for interpreting and discussing them. They are used in a range of professions, where there is a focus on developing a specific artefact of some kind. Examples include architecture, music composition, writing, choreography, mathematics and computer programming. With reference to the design of software systems, Winograd (Winograd, 1996) argues that design is not a static noun but about the activity of design. He identifies a number of important aspects: design as a conscious process, design as dialogue with materials, design as a creative process, design as a communicative process and design as social activity. He describes design languages as ‘visual and functional languages of communication with the people who use an artefact. A design language is like a natural language, both in its communicative function and in its structure as an evolving system of elements and relationships among those elements’ (Winograd, 1996, p. 64).

I now want to turn to some examples of how design languages are used in other professions. I will consider three examples – the development of musical notation, architectural designs and design in chemistry.

Musical notation captures abstract musical designs in the form of graphical, textual and symbolic representations. It is precise enough that a piece of music written by a composer from 300 or 400 hundred years ago can be accurately replayed. Early musical notations can be traced back to 2000 BC, but the standard notation used today is a relatively recent phenomenon, before its development, music had to be sung from memory. This severely limited the extent and reach of music, as well as resulting in a loss of fidelity of the original music as they changed from person to person memorising them. Musical notation went through a range of forms before settling on the notations we use today (Figure 1). The notation includes a complex set of instructions about not just the notes to be played and their sequence, but the timing, intonation and even some of the emotion embodied in the music.

music

Figure 1: Music notation[1]

Architectural notation helps articulate and share an Architect’s origin vision behind the development of a building and make that explicit and sharable with others involved in the design and development of the building. Buildings are complex and 3-dimensional. Design decisions have to cover a range of factors, such as the layout of the building, the relationship between the different components, the types of materials, the nature of the surrounding situation of the site. Different designs are therefore needed to relate certain elements of the design to each other while ignoring others, and these allow the designer to see their creation from different perspectives. 3-D visual representations are often annotated with text and supplemented by tables of data. In recent years design representations in Architecture have being computerised with the emergence of sophisticated Computer Assisted Design tools. Arguably use of these CAD tools has influenced the practice of design, in addition to facilitating more effective sharing of designs.

Chemists use a number of design representations, from chemical symbols for individual atoms, through various visual representations for displaying molecules and chemical equations for the design of chemical synthesis and for explanation of particular chemical properties. As with music and architecture the design representations that have been developed closely mapped to the discipline itself and the key focus of interest. So Chemistry is fundamentally concerned with the properties and chemical behaviours of individual atoms and how these can combine in different ways to create molecules with different properties. 2-D representations are common (for example chemical equations) but 3-D representations are also useful and particularly valuable when looking at large molecules with complex typologies. As in architecture a number of computer-based tools have now been developed to enable drawing and manipulation of molecules. These can in some instances be based on real data, such as individual atomic coordinates of individual atoms and so are also powerful modelling tools.

chemistry

Figure 2: Chemistry notations[2]

Gibbons and Brewer (Gibbons & Brewer, 2005, p. 121) argue that once a notational system is established it can become i) a tool for remembering designs, ii) a structured problem-solving work space in which designs can take form and be shared, iii) a kind of laboratory tool for sharpening and multiplying abstract design language categories. Indeed in the examples cited above it is evident that there is a complex evolution of design languages and associated notations, and that this evolution is closely tied to the nature of the subject domain and what is of particular importance. So for music it is ensuring the accurate representations of the sounds in time, for architecture it is seeing the ways in which the different components connect and how they look overall and in chemistry it is about foregrounding the associated chemical properties and patterns of behaviour of the atoms and molecules.

Gibbons and Brewer (Gibbons & Brewer, 2005, p. 115) list a set of dimensions of design languages. The first is complexity, namely that design are merely partial representation of much more complex, and multifaceted ideas in our minds. The second is precision, there is a tension between the natural, fuzzy nature of real practice and tightly defined specification. This tension is very evident in an educational context as described later, in particular in the specification of formal technical learning designs that can be translated into machine-readable code and fuzzy, practice-based designs. The third is formality and standardisation, which refers to the importance of ensuring that terms used mean the same to all users. The fourth is the tension between personally created designs and those that are shared with others. Designs only become public or sharable through negotiation and interaction with others. Designs should never be seen as static artefacts and are always dynamic and co-constructed in context. The fifth is the tension between implicit, individual designs to those that are completely explicit with clearly defined terms and rules. Again this is a crucial issue in an educational context, where traditional teaching practice has been implicit and designs fuzzy. Shifting to more explicit and sharable designs requires a change of mindset and practice. Related to this are issues around standardisation vs. non-standardisation. In terms of these points, there is a tension with designs in terms of how much they focus on precise presentation, specification and how much on the more aesthetic, visionary aspects of the design. Derntl et al. (Derntl, Parish, & Botturi, 2008) consider this in an instructional design context, arguing that ‘On the one hand, solutions should be creative, effective and flexible; on the other hand, developers and instructors need precise guidance and details on what to do during development and implementation. Communication of and about designs is supported by design languages, some of which are conceptual and textual, and others more formal and visual.’ They present a case study where both a creative solution (“beauty”) and clear-cut details (“precision”) are sought. Finally there are issues around computability. Some languages are so formalised and precise that they can be converted into machine runnable code. Gibbons and Brewer (Gibbons & Brewer, 2005, p. 118) go on to argue that designs can be shared in two ways i) by a description that relies on natural language or ii) through a specialised notation system that uses figures, drawings, models or other standard symbolic representations to express the elements and relationship of the design.

Designs have a number of components. Firstly the context in which the design is created and used; i.e. a design carries with it a socio-cultural element – the background and context, both of the individual and the educational setting. Secondly the inherent beliefs of the designer; i.e. a design carries with it intentions, aspirations and beliefs. In a learning content this is the designer’s believes about what should be learnt and how it should be achieved. Donald and Blake (Donald, Blake, Girault, Datt, & Ramsay, 2009) see this inherent belief basis of teaching practice as a vital tool for unlocking and shifting practice. They have developed a learning design system, HEART (HEaring And Realising Teaching-voice), which aims to support teachers learning design practice by eliciting and depicting the pedagogical beliefs underpinning a learning design or a resource. In an educational context our implicit designs are based on a mix of theoretical concepts, prior examples, personal ideals and idiosyncratic opinions. Finally, designs should encourage reflection and should support iterative redesign and reuse.

Approaches to promoting good teaching practices

Having described design practice in a number of fields, this section looks explicitly at the ways in which learning and teaching innovations have been promoted and supported. It considers the strategies that have been used to scaffold teaching practice to ensure effective use of good pedagogy and to promote innovative use of new technologies. Whilst not intending to be exhaustive this section aims to give a flavour and overview of some of the approaches, before introducing learning design as an alternative approach. It is important to note that learning design as a methodology does not seek to replace these existing approaches, but instead intends to draw on them using a theoretical framework which focuses on the mediating artefacts used in learning and teaching. Learning design is intended to be a holistic approach, covering all stakeholders involved in the learning and teaching process.

The approaches discussed in this section are:

  • Instructional Design
  • Learning Sciences
  • Learning Objects and Open Educational Resources
  • Professional networks and support centres

Instructional Design

Instructional Design has a long history as an approach to systematically designing learning interventions. It has been defined as ‘The process by which instruction is improved through the analysis of learning needs and systematic development of learning materials. Instructional designers often use technology and multimedia as tools to enhance instruction’ (Design, n.d.). Reiser (Reiser, 2001aa) defines Instructional Design as encompassing ‘the analysis of learning and performance problems, and the design, development, implementation, evaluation and management of instructional and non-instructional processes and resources intended to improve learning and performance in a variety of settings’. He identifies two practices that form the core of the field, i) the use of media for instructional purposes, ii) the use of systematic instructional design processes (Reiser, 2001b).

Instructional designers design instruction to meet learning needs for a particular audience and setting. Learning design, in contrast, as described later, takes a much broader perspective and sees design as a dynamic process, which is ongoing and inclusive, taking account of all stakeholders involved the teaching-learning process. Instructional Design tends to focus more on the designer as producers and learners as consumer. A number of key features characterise or help define Instructional Design as an approach.

Van Merrienboard and Boot (Van Merrienboer & Boot, 2005, p. 46) describe Instructional Design as an analytical pedagogical approach. This includes the development and evaluation of learning objectives. A key milestone was Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; Bloom, 1956). In 1965 Gagné (Gagné, 1965) published his conditions of learning, describing five domains of learning outcomes (verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes and cognitive strategies). He argued that each required a different set of conditions to promote learning. He also described nine events of instruction or teaching activities needed to support the attainment of the different learning outcomes. At the heart of the early instructional design work were three aspects: task analysis, objective specification and criterion-referenced testing. Since this early work, Instructional Design has developed in to a significant field and numerous instructional design models have been produced and evaluated. It is now a recognised professional discipline, with established masters-level courses providing a foundation on the fundamentals of the field. Instructional Design as an approach seeks to identify learning goals and through analysis of these goals deriving instructional methods to achieve them. This involves the development of a set of rules for employing instructional strategies to teach different content in different settings, with the rule set linking to conditions, instructional methods and learning outcomes. Instructional Design is also in essence a systems approach to instruction and instructional development, i.e. thinking systemically about instruction and seeing teachers, learners, content, etc. as components of a larger system.

Of particular note in the field is the work of David Merrill, who through a review and analysis of instructional design theories and methods devised a set of first principles for design (Merrill, 2009, p. 43), namely that learning is promoted where learners:

  1. engage in a task-centred instructional strategy (Task-centred Principle)
  2. activate relevant prior knowledge or experience (Activation Principle)
  3. observe a demonstration (Demonstration Principle)
  4. apply the new knowledge (Application Principle)
  5. integrate their new knowledge into their everyday world (Integration Principle).

 

The principles were an attempt to identify the fundamental principles of good instructional design. The central focus is on the tasks that the learners do, through activation, demonstration, application and integration. The principles have been extensively quoted and many of the models that have been subsequently developed explicitly map to them. In recent years work in Instructional Design has shifted to attempt to take a more explicit account of constructivist and socially situated approaches to learning.

Learning Sciences

Learning Sciences is an interdisciplinary field that emerged in the mid-nineties (Sawyer, 2006). It developed in part as a backlash against traditional notions of education, focusing on instructionism (Papert, 1993 cited in Sawyer, 2006) as the principle paradigm, namely that learning is about acquiring knowledge which consists of a collection of facts and procedures. Sutcliffe (Sutcliffe, 2003, p. 242)  defines instructionism as ‘learning by telling and emphasizes delivery of content; in contrast, constructionist approaches emphasize learning by doing’. New research on learning suggested that this narrow perspective of learning was incorrect and that there was a need to take account of a number of additional factors: the importance of deep conceptual understanding, a focus on learning rather than just teaching, the creation of appropriate learning environments to foster learning, the need to build on prior learning and the importance of reflection (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Sawyer lists five key influences that underpin learning sciences: constructivism, cognitive science, educational technology, socio-cultural studies and studies of disciplinary knowledge. Learning sciences as a field is concerned with developing a scientific understanding of learning. This includes the design and implementation of learning innovations, and an aspiration to improve instructional methodologies. The real value in much of the learning sciences work is the rich, rigorous empirical studies which have been carried out, which collectively give us a much deeper understanding of authentic, learning in real contexts.

Learning Objects and Open Educational Resources

Interest in learning objects emerged in the early nineties, with the promise of creating digital resources that could be shared and reused. The term is contested and has been used to describe everything from raw digital assets up to whole integrated curricula. Wiley provides a succinct definition: Learning objects are educationally useful, completely self-contained chunks of content (Wiley, 2005, p. 2). They usually consist of three parts: educational objectives, instructional materials and an assessment component. (Littlejohn, Falconer, & McGill, 2008) identify four levels of granularity: i) digital assets – a single file, raw media asset, ii) information objects – structured aggregation of digital assets, iii) learning activities – tasks involving interactions with information to attend a specific learning outcome, iv) learning design – structure sequences of information and activities. A considerable body of research has been done into the development of tools for the creation and storing of Learning Objects. However despite the vision in terms of their potential to development an educational exchange economy, the degree of actual reuse is relatively low.

More recently a related field has emerged, namely the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement. Supported by organisations such at the Hewlett foundation and UNESO, the vision behind OER is to create free educational resources that can be shared and reused. (Wiley & Gurrell, 2009, p. 362) argues that OER are ‘learning objects whose intellectual property status is clearly and intentionally labelled and licensed such that designers are free to adapt, modify and redistributed them without the need to seek permission or pay royalties’. He goes on to state that OER have unlocked a new set of issues for design, namely those around how to repurpose resources for different local context, taking account of linguistic and cultural issues. A number of centres for promoting and researching the use of Learning Objects and OER have arisen, as well as a host of online repositories. The Globe repository for example acts a gateway to other learning object repositories.(http://globe-info.org/) . The Reuseable Learning Objects centre (http://www.rlo-cetl.ac.uk/) aims to design, share and evaluate learning objects and has produced a tool, GLO Maker for creating Learning Objects (http://www.glomaker.org/). With the rise of the Open Educational Resources movement in recent years not surprisingly a number of support centres and community sites have emerged. OpenLearn, alongside its repository of OER, created Labspace and provided a range of tools for fostering community engagement, such as a free tool for video conferencing (Flashmeeting) and a tool for visualisation (Compendium) (http://openlearn.open.ac.uk). The aim was to provide an environment for sharing of good practice and promoting the reuse of OER. LeMill is a web-based community for finding, authoring and sharing open educational practices (http://lemill.net/). Similarly, Connexions provides a space for educators and learner to use and reuse OER (http://www.oercommons.org/community/rice-university-connexions). Carnegie Mellon, through its Open Learning Initiative (http://www.oercommons.org/community/rice-university-connexions), adopts a more evidence-based approach. Finally, Carnegie Mellon and the Open University in the UK are developing a global network of support for researchers and users of OER, through Olnet (http://olnet.org/ ). Conole and McAndrew provide a brief history of the OER movement (G. Conole & McAndrew, 2010). However despite the wealth of OER repositories that are now available, evaluation of their use indicates that they are not being used extensively in teaching and there is even less evidence of them being reused (Petrides & Jimes, 2006). As such some research has begun to explore the practices around the creation, use and management of OER, with the view that if we can better identify and understand these practices we will be able to developed approaches to improve the uptake and reuse of the OER. This is the central focus of the OPAL project (http://oer-quality.org/), work to date has included a review of 60 case studies of OER initiatives and from these abstracted eight dimensions of Open Educational Practice (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/2087).

Professional networks and support centres

Finally, it is worth mentioning that over the past ten years or so a range of professional networks and support centres have emerged which have as part of their remit a role in promoting good practice. Some have a specific focus on technologies (for example the Association for Learning Technology), others are either focused on educational practices or subject disciplines (for example the Higher Education Academy subject centres). In addition it is relatively common now for institutions to have some form of specialist unit concerned with promoting good approaches to teaching and learning practice and to helping practitioners think about how they can use technologies more effectively. In addition to these support centres there is also an international network of researchers and developers interested in exploring the use of technologies in education. Many of these have associated journals, conferences, workshops and seminar series, as well as a range of mechanisms for connecting members virtual via mailing lists, forums and social networking tools. These networks and support centres provide a range of mechanisms for supporting practice – facilitation of workshops and conferences, online events and discussions spaces, repositories of resources and case studies of good practice.

References

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxomony for learning, teaching and assessment: a revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

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

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, the classification of educational goals: handbook 1 - cognitive domain. New York: McKay.

Borgeman, C., Abelson, H., Dirks, L., Johnson, R., Koedinger, K., Linn, M., et al. (2008). Fostering learning in the networked world: the cyberlearning opportunity and challenge, Report of the NSF task force on cyberlearning.

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: brain, mind, experience and school - expanded edition. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

Castells, M. (2000). The rise of the networked society, The information age: economy, society and culture, Vol, 1, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Cole, M., Engeström, Y., & Vasquez, O. A. (1997). Mind, culture and activity: seminal papers from the laboratory of comparative human cognition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Conole, G., & Alevizou, P. (2010). Review of the use(s) of Web 2.0 in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/1895

Conole, G., & McAndrew, P. (2010). A new approach to supporting the design and use of OER: Harnessing the power of web 2.0 In M. Edner and M. Schiefner (Eds) Looking toward the future of technology enhanced education: ubiquitous learning and the digital nature.

Derntl, M., Parish, P., & Botturi, L. (2008). Beauty and precision in instructional design. Paper presented at the Edmedia, Lugano, Italy.

Design, I. (n.d.). The instrucional design website.   Retrieved 17/06, 2010, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/,

Donald, C., Blake, A., Girault, I., Datt, A., & Ramsay, E. (2009). Approaches to learning design: past the head and the hands to the HEART - of the matter. Distance Education, 30(2), 179 %U http://www.informaworld.com/110.1080/01587910903023181.

Gagné, R. M. (1965). The conditions of learning. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

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.

Giddens, A. (1999). Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping our lives. London: Profile.

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

Littlejohn, A., Falconer, I., & McGill, L. (2008). Characterising effective eLearning resources. Computers & Education, 50(3), 757-771 %U http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/people/falconer.html.

Merrill, M. D. (2009). First principles of instrction. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. Carr-Chellman (Eds.), Instructional design theories and models III. NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms. New York: Basic Books.

Petrides, L., & Jimes, C. (2006). Open Educational Resources: towards a new educational paradigm iJournal, 14.

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

Reiser, R. A. (2001a). The history of instructional design and technology: part 1 a history of instructional media. ETR&D, 49(1), 53-64.

Reiser, R. A. (2001b). The history of instructional design and technology: part 2 a history of instructional design. ETR&D, 49(1), 53-64.

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.

Sutcliffe, A. (2003). Multimedia and virtual reality - designing multisensory user interfaces. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Boot, E. (2005). A holistic pedagogical view of learning objectsL future directions for reuse. In J. M. Spector, C. Ohrazada, A. V. Shaack & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), Innovations in instructional technology. Mahah, NJ: Lawrenc Erlbaum Associated.

Wiley, D. (2005). Learning objects in public and Higher Education. In J. M. Spector, C. Ohrazda, A. V. Schaack & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), Innovations in instructional technology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrenc Erlbaum Associates.

Wiley, D., & Gurrell, S. (2009). A decade of development…. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 24(1), 11 %U http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/02680510802627746.

Winograd, T. (1996). Brigning design to software. New York: AddisonWliey.

 

 




 

[1] Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anyaka/21848267/

 

[2] Sources: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8272941@N07/498827420/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/chemheritage/3984920162/

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