10 April 2011

#H800 Learning Design

Learning design is documenting learning activities in a systematic way. It helps to make pedagogical decisions by teachers explicit and enables re-using and sharing learning activities. Conole et al. state that the purpose of a pedagogy planner is to offer a way of enabling teachers to exploit technology while creating pedagogically sound activities (G. Conole, Littlejohn, Falconer & Jeffrey, 2005).

A key challenge in today’s technology-enhanced educational environment is providing course designers with appropriate support and guidance on creating learning activities which are pedagogically informed and which make effective use of technologies. ‘Learning design’, where the use of the term is in its broadest sense, is seen by many as a key means of trying to address this issue ( Fill, Conole and Bailey (2008)).
There is a variety of representations for learning design available, ranging from the very abstract (models, patterns, visualisations) to the more contextually-rich (case studies).  Conole (2008) calls these representations mediating artefacts.

During week 8 and 9 we experimented with some of these artefacts and available tools.

The scheme below represents an activity from week 1 of the course.  It starts from the outlines for the activity and outlines the (formative) assessment, activities, tools and resources to be used.  It distinguishes between the role of the student and the role of the teacher or tutor.  Green activities are optional.  The scheme was created with the freely available Compendium LD.

Learning design intends to avoid technological determinism and put pedagogy first.  It stimulates you to think about a learning activity as an integrated set of outcomes, tasks, tools and resources.

The table below uses the Hybrid Learning Model (HLM) to capture the different tasks during a session for teacher trainers on Concept Tests.  The HLM takes a learner-centered view of design, since it focuses specifically on what the student will be doing.  It utilizes a set of eight key characteristics of learning, from both the learner and the designer perspectives.

There is a set of 8 cards you can print and laminate to help you preparing a learning activity.  The HLM was very positively evaluated in the forum.  It is very straightforward to use and helps to think through and structure learning activities.


Conole, G. (2008) ‘Capturing practice: the role of mediating artefacts in learning design’ in Lockyer, L., Bennett, S., Agostinho, S. and Harper, B. (eds) Handbook of Research on Learning Design and Learning Objects: Issues, Applications and Technologies, pp.187–207, Hersey, PA, IGI Global.

Fill, K., Conole, G., & Bailey, C. (2008). A toolkit to guide the design of effective learning activities.
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