Team design communication patterns in e-learning design and development

Rapanta, Chrysi; Maina, Marcelo; Lotz, Nicole and Bacchelli, Alberto (2013). Team design communication patterns in e-learning design and development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(4) pp. 581–605.



Prescriptive stage models have been found insufficient to describe the dynamic aspects of designing, especially in interdisciplinary e-learning design teams. There is a growing need for a systematic empirical analysis of team design processes that offer deeper and more detailed insights into instructional design (ID) than general models can offer. In this paper we present findings from two case studies of team design meetings involved in the development of fully online courses at two well-established European Distance Universities. We applied an activity-based approach to an extended verbal protocol dataset. This method proved to be adequate to describe the emerging team design process by taking into account both cognitive and social aspects of team activity in this specific context. Our findings provide evidence that design is more than problem solving, mainly because the design process is strongly related to the communication process in a team. Some useful patterns of designing emerge, which shed light on the still implicit nature of ID performed by teams. We conclude by presenting guidelines for team designing in the complex field of e-learning.

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