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  5. Evaluating the Impact of Implementing Learning Design Approaches in STEM over 4 Years

Evaluating the Impact of Implementing Learning Design Approaches in STEM over 4 Years

Project leader(s): 
Tom Olney

The particular interpretation and approach to learning design (LD) that is currently in practice in STEM has its foundation in the design for learning practice already in place in the Maths, Computing & Technology (MCT)1 and Science Faculties, and the findings from the OU Learning Design Initiative (OULDI)2 which ran from 2007 to 2012. By building on these two inputs LD practice in STEM has sought to embed design approaches that are student- focused and based around the three principles of:

  1. encouraging design conversations and collaboration in design
  2. using tools, instruments and activities to describe and share designs
  3. developing data and learning analytics to support and guide decision-making3

Since the formation of the super-faculties (STEM, WELS, FASS, FBL) each faculty has developed an increased autonomy over the way they interpret and embed these principles into the structures, governance and procedures designed to support module teams in the field of learning design. However, little work has been done to measure the impact of the implementation of these principles.

Learning design outputs from workshops and module team meetings such as student profiles, learning outcomes, skills mapping, assessment strategies, tuition approaches, and completed activity & student workload planners are consolidated and submitted in the Module Specification document. Since 2014 these workshops have been recognised as a key component in the Stage-Gate Quality Assurance Process, ready for approval at Board of Study and Faculty level by the appropriate ‘gatekeepers’.

This project seeks to document and evaluate the impact of the incremental implementation of this particular interpretation of learning design in STEM over a longitudinal period of 4 years (July 2017 – July 2021). 

1Kantirou M (2016) A learning design approach for MCT. OU Internal report. Available at (Accessed 16 Feb 2021).

2Cross S, Galley R, Brasher A & Weller M (2012) Final Project Report of the OULDI-JISC Project: Challenge and Change in Curriculum Design Process, Communities, Visualisation and Practice. The Open University. Available at (Accessed 17 Feb 2021)

3Galley R (2015) Learning Design at the Open University: introducing methods for enhancing curriculum innovation and quality. Quality Enhancement Report (1) The Open University