When would you use a learning design support tool?

Late last year, I completed an Insight Report with Seb Schmoller from ALT. The report was part of a study looking at the extent that the Learning Design Support Environment project (LDSE) had proved its concept. In particular, the LDSE team were interested in whether learning design support tool for teachers could support collaborative and sustainable development of innovative and effective applications of learning technologies. And if so, under what circumstances.

For the purposes of the study, a "learning design support tool" was defined as a software application that assists teachers in planning and designing their students’ learning (i.e. teachers' "design practice"). This could range from individual activities to whole lessons, to larger units of learning, such as modules or courses. Learning design support tools are also known as pedagogic planners. The LDSE project tool is called the Learning Designer.

If learning design is new to you, the Learning Design toolbox on Cloudworks has an extensive listing of activities and resources, including the Learn about Learning Design Guide (doc). While the latest issue of e-learning papers (no. 27) focuses on designing for learning.

The approach for our study involved an adapted version of scenario planning, and started with interviews with members of the LDSE team. The transcripts from these were used to develop an online questionnaire that asked respondents to rate key scenarios and uses of learning design support tools, the value of a range of features for different stakeholders, and likely influences on uptake for different stakeholders.

Nine scenarios, or potential contexts of use, were derived from the interviews, published literature, and wider discussions with LDSE team members. Respondents to the subsequent survey were asked to rate the likelihood and value of the range of scenarios. The most favourable contexts in terms of perceived likelihood and value were the scenarios where learning design support tools are used in a staff development context.

When asked about the value of different features of learning design support tools, ‘A learning design tool that is informed by models of what makes a good learning experience’ was unique in being seen as having considerable value across all stakeholder groups (learners, teaching staff, departments, and institutions).

The full findings of the study are available to download from the LDSE project website.

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Designing useful evaluations workshop slides

Last October I started working with the projects from the JISC funded Assessment and Feedback Programme. I'll be providing evaluation support to 16 projects from Strands A and B.  As part of this, I ran an online workshop on the topic of Designing useful evaluations. 

Here are the slides: Designing useful evaluations - An online workshop

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