Workshop template: Design Challenge

This one-day workshop has been developed to introduce course teams to using a learning design approach. The example below (originally developed in collaboration with the Open University’s Faculty of Education and Language Studies (FELS) in summer 2009) uses the OULDI learning tools and activities but we have successfully tried slotting in tools and activities from other projects (especially the Viewpoints project) and the format holds well. For a list of other activities and tools you could use try the learning design toolbox. Other examples of the template in use:

Brunel University ‘Blended Design’ November 2009

London South Bank University ‘Curriculum Design Fest’ May 2010

Reading University Curriculum Design Workshop: New approaches to the design of Blended Learning July 2010

Please feel free to use or repurpose this template and let us know what you do and how you get on.

“Thank you for running a whole day event. I think we needed this time to really become familiar with the motivation and

nature of the course and to develop close cross curricular

links with other collegues, a secondary but immensely

valuable side product” Design Challenge participant

Session aims

  • An awareness of the range of resources, tools and methods which are available to support learning design – including case studies of good practice, learning object repositories and learning design tools/methods.
  • Experience of thinking about the design process from different perspectives; an understanding of the issues and challenges involved in designing blended learning
  • An understanding that will allow you to transfer the experience gained from the design challenge to your own context and the blended learning modules you are involved in designing

The Challenge…

The Design Challenge’ is intended to be an intense but fun means of illustrating a range of resources, tools and ways of thinking about course design. Participants are introduced to a range of tools and techniques by means of access to advisors who will help them along the process.

Towards the end of the afternoon each team presents their ideas. A panel evaluates their work and select the strongest designs. The session concludes with a reflection on the usefulness of the event and on which of the ideas, resources and tools participants might wish to pursue further.

Although designed as a fun activity, the event gives an awareness of the latest in thinking innovatively about curriculum design and is designed to be proactive rather than being composed around an uncontextualised set of one-to-many presentations. The time-limited challenge enables participants to make a preliminary assessment of which of the ideas, tools and resources are useful and gives them some feel for what might be possible in a longer, term real course production process. Hopefully the challenge will open avenues for participants to pursue this further.


Paper and pens (hard copies of tools if appropriate – A3 best)

‘Stalls’ facilitators

Two laptops per team (can also bring their own but should be networked)

So that your teams can export the CompendiumLD maps and save any other work done on workshop laptops, please ensure that they bring at least one USB memory key with them per team.

Outline of the day

9.30 – 9.45 Arrival activity: Setting personal and team objectives

9.45 – 10.15 Welcome and introductions: What is learning design?

10.15 – 10.35 Activity: How to ruin a course

This activity will focus on the key issues and strategies that impact on the success (or otherwise) of learning and teaching within your context. The output of this activity will be a team checklist which will be used as one of the design evaluation tools in the design review and at the end of the workshop.

10.35 – 11.15 Activity: ‘At a glance’ course map

11.15 – 11.30 Tea and coffee

11.30 – 12.00 Activity: Design review

We will introduce 3 tools which can be used at various points in the design process to represent, inform and reflect on designs:

Each team will use these tools to evaluate their designs and inform their design decision making.

12.00 – 12.40 Activity: Stalls activity

Teams will split in to focus groups. Individuals, with the support of expert facilitators, will explore one of the following themes (examples from Brunel University workshop):

Individuals will then rejoin their work teams, share findings and consider what the impact of these findings might be the emerging designs. The expert facilitators will be available to offer support for the remainder of the workshop and will upload links and resources to Cloudworks as appropriate.

12.40 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 3.00 Activity: Visualising designs

Using all the online and physical resources available, teams will draw up a more detailed representation of their module. These representations are likely to include i.e. sequence, learning outcomes, outlines of activities, technologies used, assessment strategies etc. Using Compendium it is also possible to create links to specific OERs, tools and resources. Designs and discussions around design problems and decisions will be added to the Cloudworks site – allowing for collaborative discussion between teams and opening up discussion beyond the workshop.

3.00 – 3.15 Tea and coffee

3.15 – 3.45 Activity: Design Evaluation

This activity will provide an opportunity to view and review the designs of other teams and give and receive feedback. It is recognised that designs at this stage will contain detail but will not necessarily be ‘finished’.

3.45 – 4.30 Activity: Next steps, action planning and evaluation

4.15 – 4.30 Close of session