Evolving design: shaping our work around a service-led model

Gerald Evans ~ Head of Learning Design

Since 2020 our experiences as a Learning Design (LD) team have been heavily influenced by much of our work moving online. The pandemic led to us resetting how we operated and in particular required us to find effective online mechanisms for running collaborative sessions while continuing to have the richness of conversations needed for learning design to be successful.

We’ve achieved this through a combination of intentional and emergent activity over the period since 2020. Intentional in that we’ve been consciously moving all of our learning design activity away from face-to-face delivery. And emergent in that we’ve learnt as we’ve gone along, and tried and tested out many online tools and approaches before settling on the core parts of the toolkit that we now work with. Continue reading “Evolving design: shaping our work around a service-led model”

Who needs superpowers when we have SKILLS!?

Clare Hill ~ Learning Designer

Let’s face it, we’d all secretly like to have a superpower but do we really need one? We already have the capacity to learn how to do something and practise to get better, and in doing so we develop skills. We have all been developing a variety of skills to varying levels throughout our lives and we’ll go on doing it. Our capacity for developing skills is limitless – skills are our superpowers! Continue reading “Who needs superpowers when we have SKILLS!?”

Beyond the “real world”: exploring authentic assessment design

Mary Simper ~ Learning Designer

The Learning Design team at the OU has been exploring assessment practices, which has led to some rich discussions on accessibility, student choice, learning outcomes and authenticity. Discussions around authentic assessment have led us to think about how we can design assessments, well… more authentically!

Let’s start with an analogy…

Imagine being given a recipe for the best brownie in the world. Wouldn’t you want to bake and taste the brownies? This is called a taste test and it gives bakers the opportunity to experiment before selling products.

Similarly, authentic assessment provides students with a taste test where they mix, measure, and stir ingredients, applying methods to create a final product. A key stage is reviewing how well the process worked and this is akin to reflection, a major component of authentic assessment.

Now that we’re all hungry for brownies, here’s a more concrete definition: Continue reading “Beyond the “real world”: exploring authentic assessment design”

The power of celebration: An exploration of how the simple act of celebration can impact student outcomes and wellbeing.

Catriona Matthews, Clare Hill, James Openshaw ~ Learning Designers

Here at The Open University, we annually recruit a panel of students called the Curriculum Design Student Panel. Students who volunteer for the panel take part in activities designed to gather their views on learning experiences and this feedback can be used to inform the early development of activities, materials and tools. We also ask panel students a ‘Question of the Month’ in a forum, which is usually a brief question about their study experience.

Recently, we asked panel students to tell us how they celebrate their achievements, big and small. Whilst a seemingly light-hearted question, it led to some useful insights about the student experience. There was a lively discussion in the forum with panel students sharing what they considered to be celebratory study events and telling us how celebrating is beneficial to their study. It even led to some panel students vowing to start celebrating or to celebrate more, so the discussion had an immediate positive effect on those involved.

Continue reading “The power of celebration: An exploration of how the simple act of celebration can impact student outcomes and wellbeing.”