Theoretical perpectives

Our approach to the development of a learning design methodology is characterised by four overarching principles:

  • Development of a Learning Design (LD) methodology to help guide teachers in the creation and reuse of learning activities
  • Identification of appropriate scaffolds to support the design process and mechanisms for deploying these through appropriate channels (which might include staff development guidelines, LD workshops or integrated help within an adaptive LD tool)
  • Articulation of different forms of representation to articulate the design process
  • Development of a shared language and set of representations for learning activities so that individuals or small teams can discuss and share ideas or interrogate repositories of good practice and case studies.

Empirical evidence has included the collection of user requirements, case studies, in-depth interviews, evaluation of workshops and focus groups and in-depth evaluation of holistic course design.  We have carried out a series of interviews with teachers/designers to gain a better understanding of the ways in which they go about designing learning activities. We deliberately choose to interview a wide range of teachers – from those who have shown an explicit interest in adopting a learning design approach to those who have to date experimented to only a limited (or in some cases no) degree with using technologies.  The interview focused around five themes: How do teachers go about the process of design? How do they generate ideas and what kinds of support do they use? How do they share their designs with others? What are the barriers to design? How do they evaluate their designs? Interviewees were selected to give a representative sample across: subject disciplines, level of experience of use of technologies for teaching and learning, experience of using CompendiumLD, and covered a range of levels of expertise in teaching.  Cross et al. describe the  results of analysis of this data (Cross, et al., 2008).

More recently, we have been seeking to establish conceptual and methodological strategies to enable us to more systematically position transactions and emerging patterns of activity on the Cloudworks site so that we can more reliably evaluate these in relation to developing a) community, b) professional knowledge and c) sustained participation (Galley, 2009a, Galley 2009b, Alevizou et al., 2010a, Conole et al, 2010). We have proposed a framework for building and evaluating community which we will seek to validate across the final year of the project.