A virtual biscuit tin: creating a community of practice for learning designers in lockdown

It wasn’t just students who faced a sudden change in how they were learning in March when the UK locked down. Learners in the workplace were affected too – including our learning design team here at the Open University. We were dispersed to our homes by lockdown and overnight, lost our ability to learn from one another.

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Student journeys: embedding skills into the curriculum

The Open University approach to designing for learning puts a strong focus on knowing who the learners are, catering for their needs and supporting them to succeed. One of the strengths of the OU is that its students are very diverse – the OU’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas – but it does also mean that our curriculum teams can’t assume a common baseline when they start creating new learning materials. OU courses therefore build in opportunities into the learning journey for students to develop their skills alongside their subject knowledge. Continue reading “Student journeys: embedding skills into the curriculum”

The art of conversation: why collaboration matters in online learning 

If you’ve ever witnessed an awkward role play exercise in a training session, you may dread the idea of collaborative learning activities. The good news is that when it comes to online learning, you can plan and manage collaborative activities to ensure that nobody’s embarrassed and everyone benefits – possibly in ways they hadn’t anticipated.  

You may have already designed some online collaborative activities. If you found it tricky, you’re not alone. They can feel contrived or lacking in value, and you may have worried that they’ll distract students or take up too much of their time. Students can be wary of them too, especially if the activities seem bolted on rather than built in, or if they look intimidating. So, in this blog post, we look at why collaboration matters. We also provide some examples you can use as a basis for building collaborative activities into your online learning, and you can download our collaborative activities guide for more ideas.  Continue reading “The art of conversation: why collaboration matters in online learning “

Practical tools for developing student-centred learning

Over the last decade, The Open University has developed its approach to designing and evaluating student-centred learning through a wealth of research and scholarship. The basis for much of what we do derives from the tools developed through the OU Learning Design Initiative.

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