What Learning Design could be…




I’m at the LAMS 2008 conference in Cádiz, ed Spain – great location! Nice to catch up with people and there looks like there are some interesting sessions. Great to see the event running in parallel in English and Spanish. The conference this morning was kicked off by a keynote from Stephen Downes. His focus was reflecting on what Learning Design is and more importantly visioning for what it could/should be. It was really interesting to hear what Stephen was saying because it aligned very closely with the vision we are trying to develop with our Learning Design work, vialis 40mg so my keynote followed on nicely from his. Here are some of the general points he made, he will make the slides and audio recording available on his site in due course. 

  • Traditionally, LD has been seen as primarily atomistic – linear, sequential, increasingly branching also included but still very mechanistic in focus. He felt there was an analogy to the early days of software design – where programmes were viewed as a executable series of steps
  • That there has been a bias towards instructivism – i.e. the notion that learning is a process of teaching; therefore a bias towards presentation, through a pre-described path
  • This bias is replicated at the architectural level – through Learning Management Systems; i.e. institutional based/focused, the notion of the learning provider – with learners going to the provider
  • He gave a brief review of the emergence of the concept of elearning 2.0, where the focus is community-based, user driven. And the more recently coined term  “edupunk”. In other words the application of the web 2.0 philosophies in an educational context; a shift in the focus of the www from presentation to participation
  • He explored how Learning Design could beging to shift and model these web 2.0 philosophies with desing shifting from the control of the teacher to the learner, more interactive, iterative and evoliving designs – shared LAMS deisgns where all the students are able to edit in a common learning design space
  • He demonstrated how visual tools such as Gliffy could be used a tool for creating designs
  • One of the key points he was making was the notion of giving control of the design process to the students; therefore a shift in perception and ownership – from  ‘teacher creates, students consume’ to ‘student create and consume and teacher facilitates’
  • He argued that there was a difference between a group and a network; groups had closed (members etc) whereas networks emerge and are more open. He argument was that to date in education we have centred more around groups and that perhaps now with web 2.0 etc we have the opportunity to explore more how we can adopt and exploit more of a network perspective
  • He suggested there was a lot we could learn/apply from the gaming arena and talked about the different elements of gaming  (the environment, the agents (move from place to place in the environment – chess pieces) and the operators (the humans who interact with the environment)), their roles and relationships.
  • He concluded by arguing that the original intention of the concept of ‘learning objects’ was that they would be interactive, they would inherit properties, but instead they became more like books, and learning environments become more like libraries. We need to revisit this in a modern context and more to more dynamic objects and designs in an educational context; we should look to and learn from the real learning objects of our world (flickr, youtube, wikipedia, google)
  • Therefore design as a more interactive and dynamic process - CRUD Create, Read, Update and Delete; supported through an appropriate facilitating environment, perhaps mimicking the best in lesson learnt from the gaming world

One Response to “What Learning Design could be…”

  1. LAMS 2008 European conference | Sheila’s work blog Says:

    […] Conole has already done an excellent job of summarizing the conference keynotes from Stephen Downes, Helen Beetham and James Dalziel. Grainne’s own keynote gave an excellent overview not only […]

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