Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity

Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and Culver, Juliette (2008). Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity. Educational Media International, 45(3) pp. 177–194.




Technologies offer tantalising possibilities for new forms of educational innovation, but we have argued that there is a gap between the potential of technologies to support learning and the reality of how they are actually used and that this is due to a lack of understanding about how technologies can be used to afford specific learning advantages and to a lack of appropriate guidance at the design stage (Conole et al. 2007a).
This paper describes a project that has developed an approach to using learning design as a methodology to guide design and foster creativity in the creation of learning activities. The paper will provide an overview of the work being undertaken by the Open University, UK Learning Design project; concentrating on the work we have done to represent and visualise design. It will summarise some of the key issues associated with trying to formalise and represent the design process, which has emerged from our work to date, and relate this to similar findings in the literature. The paper describes the rationale behind the work and describes how we are using the concept of learning design and why we think this is important. It outlines the activities involved in the project which include a range of user consultations, workshops and interviews as well as identification of relevant resources and iterative development of a prototype learning design system, using an adaptation of a visual, argumentation tool, Compendium. We are using the adapted version of this tool, CompendiumLD to help designers and teachers create and share learning activities. Initial evaluation of the use of the tool for learning design has been positive; users report that it is easy to use and helps them organise and articulate their learning designs. Importantly the tool also enables them to share and discuss their design strategies. The work is grounded within the wider literature on learning design, focusing in particular on how learning activities can be represented and mechanisms for supporting decision making in creating new learning activities. Aspects of this paper were presented at the 6th Networked Learning Conference (Conole et al., 2008).

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