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Tools and resources to guide practice june 23


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Tools and resources to guide practice june 23

  1. 1. Tools and resources to guide practice Gráinne Conole, University of Leicester recent years there has been considerable developments in terms of learningdesign tools and resources (Beetham and Sharpe 2007; Lockyer, Bennett et al.2008). This chapter provides a review of these and considers the key features ofeach and how they can be used to support practitioners in guiding their designpractice. The tools and resources covered include: visualisation tools,pedagogical planners and specialised learning design resources.The chapter starts by describing a set of conceptual learning design views. Thesedemonstrate the ways in which different element of a learning design can berepresented. They range from high-level conceptual overviews of the designthrough to detailed views, which map how the learning design tasks are relatedto associated resources and tools. The visualisation tools reviewed include: theLearning Activity Management System (LAMS), WebCollage, CADMOS andCompendiumLD. The pedagogical planners reviewed include: DialogPlus, Phoebeand the Learning Designer. The specialised learning design resources reviewedinclude the ways in which Pedagogical Patterns and Open Educational Resourcescan be used to guide practice. Finally, the ways in which generic tools, such asspreadsheets and mind maps, can be used to represent learning designs isdescribed.Discussion of these state-of-the-art tools is intended to give an overview of thetypical features of different types of tools, the focus is not on the tools per se, butis more of a discussion of how different functionality can enable practitioners torethink their teaching practice. In particular the affordances (Gibson 1979;Conole and Dyke 2004) of the tools will be discussed and how these influence theway in which practitioners design. The relationship between visualisation (andthe tension between accurate, authentic representation and more fluid, creativerepresentation) and guidance/support on the design process is discussedtowards the end of the chapter. The chapter concludes with a set of principles forlearning design. Likely avenues of future research are also discussed, includingthe notion of working towards a dynamic learning design ecology. 1
  2. 2. Conceptual learning design toolsThe JISC-funded Open University Learning Design Initiative,1 created a series ofconceptual learning design views that can guide a designer through the processof creating a learning intervention. These include: a course map view, a coursedimensions view, a pedagogy profile, a learning outcomes map and a taskswimlane (Conole Forthcoming). This section will show how these can be used torepresent a learning intervention, which aims to help financial investors developemotional regulation skills. This work was carried out as part of the EU-fundedX-Delia project (Xcellence in Decision-making through Enhanced Learning inImmersive Applications).2The course map view enables the designer to think about four aspects of thelearning intervention: i) what guidance and support will be provided?, ii) whattypes of content and activities are the learners engaged with?, iii) what forms ofcommunication and collaboration are involved?, and iv) what types of reflectionand demonstration are there? Figure 1 shows the course map for the X-Delialearning intervention. It shows that the guidance and support is in the form of auser-guided pathway. In terms of content and activities, the learner completes anonline survey and then works through a series of games and videos. There is nocollaboration involved, but learners are able to discuss their learning in an onlineforum. Finally, in terms of reflection and demonstration, they receive diagnosticfeedback after completing the online survey in the form of tailored videofeedback. They also complete a reflective diary.Figure 1: The course map view1 2
  3. 3. Figure 2 shows the pedagogy profile for the learning intervention. It shows theamount of time the learner engages in the following activities: assimilativeactivities (reading, listening, viewing), information handling (such asmanipulating data in a spreadsheet), communication, productive (creating anartefact for example), experiential (practicing or mimicking), adapative(modeling or simulation). It also shows the amount of time the learner will spendon assessment activities. In this intervention the learners are expected to spenda considerable amount of time communicating in the online forum.Figure 2: The pedagogy profileThe next view is the course dimensions view (Figure 3), this provides moredetail on the four categories associated with the course view map describedabove. In this example, there is a high degree of course created resources andactivities and there is a strong guided learning pathways. 3
  4. 4. Figure 3: The course dimensions viewThe task swimlane view (Figure 4) shows the learning pathway, i.e. the sequenceof tasks that the learner is expected to take and any associated tools andresources.Figure 4: The task swimlane view 4
  5. 5. The final view (Figure 5) is the learning outcomes map, which enablers thedesigner to ensure that the learning outcomes are constructively aligned to theactivities and assessment (Biggs 1999).Figure 5: The learning outcomes viewThe course map and course dimensions views were produced in an Excelspreadsheet. The pedagogy profile was produced using an online tool.3 The taskswimlane and learning outcomes map were produced in CompendiumLD. Eachview was saved as a jpeg and collated in PowerPoint.Visualisation toolsIn the next chapter, Oliver et al., describe the seminal work of the AUTC-fundedlearning design project,4 which developed a learning design representationcentred around three core aspects of the design process: the tasks undertaken,the associated resources involved and the support provided for the learningactivity (Oliver and Herrington 2001). These are represented as three columnsand are shown as a temporal design sequence. Many of the tools discussed in thissection replicate to some extent this generic design representation.Learning design visualisation tools provide an environment in which a designercan create and represent a learning design. Four tools are discussed: LAMS,WebCollage, CompendiumLD and CADMOS.3 5
  6. 6. LAMSLAMS5 was one of the first visualisation tools to be developed back in 2002. Ithas a simple graphical interface. Users can drag and drop from a predefined setof activities, such as quizzes, voting, discussion, etc. These activities can be linkedinto a learning activity sequence. Dalziel (2011) describes LAMS as: A web-based environment for the creation, sharing, running and monitoring of learning designs.A number of assumptions underpinned the development of the system. Firstly, itwas designed to implement the concept of learning design and in particular therepresentation of different instructional strategies (such as problem-basedlearning, role play, etc.). Secondly, the design environment enabled the user tosee the learning design in action. Thirdly, the aim was to create a commonlanguage for communicating designs.In the first version of LAMS, it was only possible to create linear designs. LAMSv2 enabled branching (where the teacher could assign students to particularpathways) and optional sequences (where the student could choose whichpathway to complete).Dalziel describes how a learning activity ‘What is greatness?’ can be representedin LAMS (Dalziel 2003), as well as how it can then be repurposed for a differentcontext. Figure 6 shows a screenshot of the ‘What is greatness?’ activity.Figure 6: The what is greatness? learning design represented in LAMS5 6
  7. 7. LAMS provides teachers with an easy to use authoring environment to createstructured content and collaborative tasks (called sequences) (Dalziel, 2007).Dalziel (2011) notes that LAMS is used by thousands of teachers in more than 80countries. However, he goes on to argue that its use is mainly by early adoptersand evaluation of the tool shows that it has not being implemented acrossinstitutions to a significant extent (Masterman and Lee 2005). He indicates thatpart of the problem may be that practitioners lack the necessary visualisationskills to use LAMS effectively and therefore they might need embedded guidanceand support.LAMS also includes an Activity Planner, which provides a set of templates basedon good e-teaching practices. Templates include advice on using andrepurposing these templates for different learning contexts. The planner can beused: To share methods used by others. To inspire teachers to adopt a new teaching strategy and support them in doing so. To help teachers make theoretically informed decisions about the development of learning activities and choice of appropriate tools and resources to undertake them. To provide design ideas in a structured way, so that relations between design components are easy to understand. To combine a clear description of the learning design, and offer a rationale that bridges pedagogical philosophy, research-based evidence and experiential knowledge. As a database of existing learning activities and examples of good practice which can then be adapted and reused for different purposes. To encode the designs in such a way that it supports an iterative, fluid, process of design. As a mechanism for abstracting good practice and metamodels for learning.6WebCollageWebCollage or WebInstanceCollage7 is a web-based graphical authoring tool,which enables user to create collaborative or assessment sequences.Underpinning the tool are collaborative and assessment pedagogical patterns.8The designs created can be exported as IMS LD9 packages. The tool builds onearlier work and in particular the Collage and InstanceCollage tools.Hernández-Leo et al. describe the initial development of the tool(Hernández-Leo, Villasclaras-Fernández et al. 2006). They describe how the tooldrew on the application of the notion of collaborative pedagogical patterns.6 Information taken from;jsessionid=F249AF4891583114B57E58C3FD9B44A77 See for example See 7
  8. 8. Pedagogical patterns (Goodyear 2005; Goodyear and Retalis 2010) areessentially structured examples of best practice and are derived from the workof Alexander in Architecture (Alexander 1977). Hernández et al. (2005) describea number of Collaborative Learning Flow Patterns (CLFP), including: the jigsawand pyramid patterns. They then go on to show how the Collage tool provides amechanism for users to choose and implement such CLFP. They conclude with asummary of the initial evaluation of the tool with practitioners who did not havelearning design expertise. Overall the evaluation was positive as the followingquote illustrates: It helps to think in terms of collaborative learning and its previous arrangement.One of the nice features of WebCollage is that it represents pedagogical patternsas visual metaphors. Figure 7 show the jigsaw pattern, which is an approachused to break down and distribute a problem. Working in groups of four, in thefirst stage, each student investigates a part of the problem. In the second stage,they get together with members of other groups who have investigated the samepart of the problem and they share their findings to develop a betterunderstanding. In the final stage, they return to their group and collective shareeach part of the problem.Figure 7: The Jigsaw pedagogical patternCompendiumLDCompendiumLD was adapted from an existing mindmapping tool, Compendium,produced by the Open University. It enables the user to represent designsvisually and show the connections between the tasks the learners are intendedto do and any associated tools and resources. The activities of the teacher canalso be represented. The adaption included the inclusion of a set of learningdesign icons, which represent the different components of a learning design,such as: roles (student, teacher, etc.), resources, tools, outputs, learningoutcomes, and tasks. Conole et al. (2008) provide more background on thetechnical development of CompendiumLD. Figure 8 shows an example of adesign created in CompendiumLD. The representation is similar to a LAMSsequence, but unlike LAMS, it is not runnable, although designs can be exportedin a range of formats, from a jpeg to an interactive website. The representation is 8
  9. 9. also similar to the tasks, support and resources representation produced by theAUTC learning design project, described in the next chapter.In addition to the standard icon set available in Compendium (which includesicons to promote brainstorming such as question, answer, note, url, etc.),CompendiumLD includes a set of stencils specifically for learning design. Theseare:• LD-OU - this consists of the core design icons, which include: tasks, resources, tools, roles, outputs, assignments and an overarching map icon.• Sequence mapping – a stencil to help with laying out the learning activity.• Approaches to learning design - these consist of a set of predefined design sequences. For example, a template for the task swimlane representation described earlier in the chapter.• LD-Conditional stencil. These enable the user to include conditions in the design pathway.Figure 8 shows an example of a design created with CompendiumLD. This is agroup activity where each student researches a particular country and thenshares their findings on a group wiki. They then post comments on a forum andget feedback from the tutor. The lines show which tools and resources areconnected with each task. CompendiumLD has been extensively trialed throughnumerous workshops. Overall evaluation of the tool is positive, users can see thebenefits of representing designs visually and said that the process helped themarticulate their design process and also enabled them to identify any gaps orflaws in the design. The representations also made the design more explicit andshareable.Brasher (2010) carried out an evaluation of the use of the tool on the OU’s H800course. The analysis focussed on student and tutor postings in the coursediscussion forum. 92 of the 136 students registered on the course participated inthe course forum, of these 78 created a CompendiumLD map, 7 created a mapand a visual representation using another tool and 4 did not create anything.Most students thought that the tool was user-friendly, although it required aninvestment in time to become familiar with the interface. They liked the way inwhich colour was used and the different icons for different elements of a design.They also liked the way in which the tool enabled them to produce a clear,structured output. Students felt that the representation produced was useful inthat it did summarise the essence of an activity. Encouragingly, they also feltthat the visual representation could reveal aspects of a design that are notobvious from a textual representation. They stated that it was particularly usefulfor brainstorming a design.On the negative side, some students found the tool very frustrating and timeconsuming to learn and use. Others felt that generic mapping tools, likeMindManger, Cmap or Twine were more intuitive. Some of the students felt thatthe representation was essential linear in nature and hence couldn’t be used toproduce more circular designs or ones with multiple pathways. Other negative 9
  10. 10. comments included: the fact that there is a potential to overdesign and henceget too focused on the mechanism/process and some were very sceptical of thereturn on investment of mapping out learning activities, stating that a textuallesson plan is quicker to produce and arguably more useful.Potential uses that they cited included the following. Firstly, that the tool couldbe used as a means of sharing design ideas amongst a team of tutors. Secondly,that for a complex design, the CompendiumLD representation could provide auseful mechanism for articulating out the key steps and interdependences.Thirdly, it could be used with students, as a means of representing the courseinstructions and making the design intention explicit. Fourthly, it could help withplanning the overall logistics of a course – particularly for complex courses.Figure 8: A learning design sequence produced with CaompendiumLDCADMOSCADMOS (Courseware Development Methodology for Open instructionalSystems) is a relatively new learning design tool.10 Designs created withCADMOS can be exported as IMD LD level A and B. There are two aspects to it.The conceptual model enables the designer to describe the learning tasks that alearner will complete, along with the support tasks that the teacher provides.Each activity is related to a resource (digital content) like text, music or videofiles. The conceptual model of a unit of learning looks like a concept map or atree structure, whose root is the title of the unit of learning and whose childrenare the learning and support tasks. Each task is related to one learning resource(learning object or learning service).10 Taken from the CADMOS help documentation sent by Retalis, S. (2011), personal communication 10
  11. 11. A learning or support task might be simple or composite. A composite taskconsists of many simple tasks that are all assigned to one actor e.g. a student, ateacher, a pair of students, etc. So a composite task and its simple tasks should beassigned to the same actor. The second part is the learning design flow model,which defines the sequence of the execution of the activities described in theconceptual model. It consists of swimlanes for each of the actors; each swimlanedefines the order in which the correspondent actor performs the tasks. Figure 9shows a screenshot of the conceptual the flow model. In this example there arethree swimlanes, student, teacher and peer group. Each swimlane shows theactivities that each actor is expected to undertake.Katsamani and Retalis (2011) reported on an initial evaluation of the tool, whichindicated that overall users liked CADMOS. The majority claimed that they weresatisfied with both the approach and the tool. All of them said that the use ofCADMOS was simple and easy to use to create a learning design. Over half weresatisfied with the guidance that was provided to them during the learning designprocess. The most important remark was that all of the student designers saidthat the design approach via the two visual learning design model views washelpful. The creation of the conceptual model and the modification of the flowmodel were considered to be simple and easy. The majority stated that thepresence of ready-to-use design templates would have helped them and two-thirds said that they appreciated the fact that they could reuse existing learningdesigns.Figure 9: Screenshot of CADDMOS 11
  12. 12. Pedagogical plannersIn addition to the visualisation learning design tools described above a numberof pedagogical planners have also been developed. These provide morestructured guidance on the design process. Three are described here: DialogPlus,Phoebe and the Learning Designer.Cameron (2011) states that pedagogical planners describe the core elementsthat need to be considered if a learning design is to be successful. They help adesigner create a clear and definable structure to their design process. Aspectsinclude: the characteristics of the learner, the pedagogical approaches used, thetypes of technologies and activities involved, the learning environment, the rolesand the learning outcomes. She lists a number of uses of these tools: As step-by-step guidance to help make theoretically informed decisions about the development of learning activities and the choice of appropriate tools and resources. To inspire users to adopt new teaching strategies. To provide design ideas in a structured way, so that the relationships between design components are easy to understand. To combine a clear description of the learning design and offer a rationale, which bridges pedagogical philosophy, research-based evidence and experiential knowledge. As a database of existing learning activities and examples of good practice that can then be adapted and reused for different purposes. As a mechanism for abstracting good practice and meta-models for learning. To produce ‘runnable’ learning designs intended for direct use by students. To encode the design in such a way that it supports an iterative, fluid process of design.DialogPlusDialogPlus was created as part of the JISC/NSF funded DialogPlus11 project. Itprovides support and guidance on creating a learning design. The core objects onthe site are ‘nuggets’ which are individual learning designs. The tool is based onan underlying taxonomy (Conole 2008) that describes the components involvedin a learning design. Two other publications provide more detailed descriptionsof the tool (Bailey, Zalfan et al. 2006; Fill, Conole et al. 2008) and hence only keysalient features are described here.The toolkit centres on the notion of a learning activity, which is defined asconsisting of three elements:1. The context within which the activity occurs, this includes the subject, level of difficulty, the intended learning outcomes and the environment within which the activity takes place.2. The learning and teaching approaches adopted, including the theories and models used.11 12
  13. 13. 3. The tasks undertaken, which specifies the types of tasks, the techniques used, associated tools and resources, the interaction and roles of those involved and the assessments associated with the learning activity.Sections of the toolkit guide the designer through each of these aspects andprovide references and supportive text to enable the designer to make informeddecisions. For example, different pedagogical approaches are described, alongwith suggestions about how they can be instantiated through the use of differenttechnologies. So for example, reflective practice can be supported through use ofblogs, collaboration can be facilitated via the use of group wikis and role-play canbe supported through online virtual worlds such as SecondLife.A learning activity has an associated set of intended learning outcomes. Toachieve these the learner works through a sequence of tasks. Examples of tasksinclude: reading papers, discussing ideas, accessing databases, extracting ormanipulating data, answering questions, and making decisions. Task techniquesinclude: brainstorming, exercises, fieldwork, role-play, reflection or drill andpractice exercises. Advice is offered on which tasks might be appropriate indifferent contexts. Interactions possible include: individual learning activities,one-to-many, student-to-student, student-to-tutor, group- or class-basedinteractions. When undertaking tasks participants in the learning activityteachers and learners are assigned appropriate ‘roles’, such as individual learner,group participant, facilitator, tutor or presenter. Assessment can includediagnostic, formative or summative assessment or no assessment at all.Resources include: web pages, databases, video streams and interactive maps.Tools include: search engines, discussion boards, spreadsheets, media players,blogs, e-portfolios, wikis and social networking sites. The tasks and associatedroles undertaken to achieve the prescribed learning outcomes occur within aparticular context with characteristics, which include a description of the subjectdomain (for example Physical Geography or Spanish), the level (e.g.introductory), the perceived skills which will be used or acquired (e.g. numeracy,critical analysis, etc.), the time anticipated for completion of the activity (e.g. twohours), and any associated prerequisites (e.g. a requirement that the learnershave successfully completed an earlier course, or the need for particular skills -for example IT skills or a certain level of language skills).In addition to context and tasks, the toolkit includes taxonomies and models forlearning and teaching approaches based on a review by Mayes and De Frietas(2004), which groups learning theories according to whether they areassociative (learning as activity), cognitive (learning through understanding) orsituative (learning as social practice).Figure 10 shows a screenshot of part of the tool. It shows a learning design,which is concerned with the use of Microsoft Excel. It is possible to work throughthe tool in sequence or flexibly. The toolkit was evaluated with geographersinvolved in the JISC/NSF-funded DialogPlus project12 and through a series of12 13
  14. 14. workshops with other practitioners at conferences. In general, evaluation of thetoolkit was positive. Practitioners found the structure and guidance of the toolkitvaluable and found it easy to use. A potential drawback of the toolkit is thatdespite the fact that designers can choose which component to complete when, itstill feels like a relatively linear approach to design, which doesn’t resonate withactual design practice. In addition, the format is primarily text-based, and hencedoesn’t harness the power of visualisation tools discussed earlier.Figure 10: Screenshot of DialogPlusPhoebePhoebe13 built on the design of DialogPlus and takes the form of an online wiki. Itprovides structured guidance and detailed information on the differentcomponents of a learning design outlined above. Figure 11 shows a screenshot ofPhoebe. The screen is divided into two parts. One part provides a template forthe designer to complete on each aspect of the design. The other part provides insitu guidance on each of the components.13 14
  15. 15. Figure 11: A screenshot of PhoebeIn the example shown, the user completes the learning outcomes and potentialteaching resources on the right hand side. Details of the learning outcomes aredescribed on the left hand side to enable the designer to make informed designdecisions. A particularly valuable aspect of Phoebe is the considerable amount ofinformation that is available to guide the designer through completing thevarious stages of the design. The guidance includes information on: contextualinformation associated with the design, learning outcomes, assessment, thecharacteristics of the learners, possible learning activity sequences,contingencies to take account of and a space for reflection. There is alsoextensive information on teaching approaches and techniques, of particular useare the sections on ‘what technologies can I use for a particular activity?’ And‘what can I do with a particular tool?Masterman and Manton argue that Phoebe was designed based around teachers’actual practice rather than theory (Masterman and Manton 2009; Mastermanand Manton 2011). They organised a number of evaluation events, whereparticipants were able to try out the tool and were then asked to complete anonline survey. A key strength was that Phoebe could be used as both a planningtools and a reference system. The later was considered to be particularly usefulfor novice designers and that it would be useful if it were embedded intoinstitutional quality assurance processes. Opinions were divided as to whetherPhoebe provided a structure linear guidance or a flexible tool. They valued thefact that Phoebe provided access to designs created by other teachers. Howeveruse of the tool per se will not necessarily result in transform of practice, manyused the tool to mimic existing practice.The Learning DesignerThe Learning Designer tool14 was derived from the London Pedagogical Planner(LPP) tool and Phoebe. It is underpinned by the Conversational Frameworkdeveloped by Laurillard (2002). The aims of the tool are: to give educational14 15
  16. 16. practitioners support for innovating with interactive, adaptive, reflective,discursive and collaborative learning designs, and to support lecturers andeducational practitioners in building learning technologies into courses withtight budgets (Laurillard and San Diego 2007). It adopts a modeling perspectivethrough mapping tasks to resources and attempts to align the design withspecific pedagogical approaches. It adopts a user-orientated approach and plansto integrate the tool with the LAMS tool described earlier.15 The first screeninvites the user to complete general information about the learning intervention.It is also possible to ensure that the topics covered, assessment and learningoutcomes are mapped, i.e. constructively aligned (Biggs 1999). Designersindicate how much time learners are expected to spend on the following types ofactivity: attending, investigating, discussing, practising and articulating(Laurillard 2002). The planner takes the user through a series of designdecisions, displaying their consequences in multiple dynamic numerical andgraphical representations of their learning design. Figure 12 shows a screenshotof part of the tool. In addition, the tool includes links to a library of existingpedagogical patterns that users can download and adapt.16Figure 12: The learning designer toolGeneric toolsIn addition to the specialised tools and pedagogy planners described so far, it isalso possible to use generic tools such as mind mapping tools and spreadsheets.The X-Delia learning intervention described earlier used an Excel spreadsheet tocreate two of the views. Mind mapping tools are particularly useful, as theyprovide a means of mapping out and linking the various components of the15 16
  17. 17. design (such as the activities, tools and resources in the learning activity). Anexample is the Cmap tool,17 which had a node and link interface. In addition textcan be added to the links between the nodes. Figure 13 shows an example of useof Cmap to represent a learning outcomes map for a blended design workshop.18Figure 13: A learning design created using CMapLearning design resourcesIn addition to the learning designs discussed in the first half of this chapter, thereis also a range of resources to either support design practice or provideexamples of good practice. In particular we have seen the growth in the last tenyears of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement and there are nowhundreds of high quality OER repositories worldwide. These can be used aslearning resources or as inspiration for teachers – to get ideas or to take andrepurpose existing OER. The OPAL initiative19 analysed 60 case studies of OER17 17
  18. 18. repositories and abstracted a set of OER practices around the creation, use andrepurposing of OER. The practices were: strategies and policies, barriers andsuccess factors, tools and tool practices, and skills development and support.These were translated into a series of guidelines for OER stakeholders (learners,teachers, institutional managers and policy makers), which can be used byorganisations to first benchmark their existing OER practices and then articulatea vision and implementation plan. Many of the learning design tools describedearlier in the chapter also have associated with them repositories of existinglearning designs. Similarly the AUTC learning design site described in the nextchapter provides a rich set of learning designs descriptions across the followingtypes of pedagogical approaches: collaborative learning, conceptual/proceduraldevelopment, problem-based learning, project/case study learning and roleplay.20Goodyear argues that pedagogical patterns provide a useful means of addressingthe growing demand for advice about effective, time efficient ways of using ICTto support learning (Goodyear 2005). The Architect, Alexander, developed thenotion of patterns. A pattern: describes a problem, which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice. (Alexander, Ishikawa et al. 1977)Goodyear (2005) suggests that there are two ways of formulating a pedagogicalpattern: from the bottom up – capturing recurrent problems and solutions orfrom the top down – through structuring the problem space of design andsketching relationships between patterns.Finally, social and participatory media offer a wealth of ways in which teacherscan share and discuss learning and teaching ideas. There are now many SpecialInterest Groups (SIGs) on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Ningand ELGG. In addition more specialised educational sites have emerged such asSOMETU,21 LeMills,22 Connexions,23 and Cloudworks.24 Finally, manypractitioners are now using microblogging sites, like Twitter, to share anddiscuss learning and teaching ideas. New tools continue to emerge at aphenomenal rate, and it will be interesting to see in the future which toolsdominate.DiscussionThis discussion will focus on some of the underlying principles behind the typesof tools described in this chapter. Arguably, from a theoretical perspective manyof these tools align to a socio-cultural theoretical perspective (Engeström,20 18
  19. 19. Punamäki-Gitai et al. 1999; Daniels, Cole et al. 2007). This is because design is amessy, creative, interactive practice grounded in real-life contexts. The conceptof Mediating Artefacts (Conole 2008) from Activity Theory is particularly useful,both in terms of the Mediating Artefacts that can guide the designs – such as thetools and associated resources described in this chapter - and also in terms of thefinal learning designs, which are themselves Mediating Artefacts that can beshared and discussed with other practitioners. This socio-cultural perspectivemakes learning design as a field distinct from Instructional Design, which tendsto focus more at the level of multimedia and is grounded in positivism (Reigeluthand Carr-chellman 2009).Figure 14: Learning Design Mediating ArtefactFigure 14 provides an illustration of the application of the concept of MediatingArtefacts in the design process. The figure shows that as a teacher is creating alearning activity or resource, they use a range of Mediating Artefacts to guidetheir design practice. These might be design concepts, learning design tools,dialogues with other practitioners or exploration of relevant activities. Theoutcome is the learning activity or resource and an associated design that can bemade explicit through a range of learning design representations See (ConoleForthcoming) for a detailed discussion of these. These can then be renderedthrough a variety of learning design tools of the kind discussed earlier. Thecreated learning activity or resource and the associated learning design can thenbe used or repurposed by other teachers or learners.In terms of principles, I want to draw out seven main ones. The first is that, asthe previous chapter demonstrates, teachers are bewildered by the plethora oftools available and lack the skills necessary to make informed learning designdecisions. Therefore a key facet of all the tools is that they attempt to provide 19
  20. 20. practitioners with some form of guidance and support around their designpractice. The aim is to help them shift from an implicit, belief-based approach todesign to one that is more explicit and design-based (Conole 2009). Evidence ofthe evaluation of the use of these tools shows that they do help shiftpractitioners from a focus on content to activities and the learner experience.The second is that many of the tools use the power of visualisation as a means ofrepresenting the designs. These can then be shared and discussed with other.The third is that there is a tension between design representations that arerigorous, precise and perhaps machine runnable and those that are morecreative, ‘fluffy’ and nearer to real practice. Derntl et al. (Derntl, Parish et al.2010) argue that designing for learning needs both ‘beauty’ and ‘precision’; andthey show how different design languages can be used to present these. Theystate that: We are in no way suggesting that beauty and precision are in opposition to one another, nor even that they are mutually exclusive concerns. We make the distinction merely to further stress the competing demands on instructional designers for maintaining a grand view of the learning experience while also addressing the myriad details of an effective end product.The fourth is that there is an issue about what level of in-context support andguidance is provided to the designer and how such support can be created on thefly from up-to-date and authoritative sources. The CompendiumLD tool includesa walled garden Google search, which searches across a number of predefinedwell-known and validated sources against a set of keywords (Brasher, Conole etal. 2008). However, in the future much more sophisticated personalised helpneeds to be developed. The fifth is the fact that learning designs are both aproduce and a process. In the first instance the designer engages with variouslearning design Mediating Artefacts to guide their design process, through acreative, iterative and messy process. Then their final design is a product, whichrepresents a particular moment in time in the design process. The sixth is that, asMasterman outlined in the previous chapter, there are two dimensions oflearning design: i) the creation of structured sequences of learning activities, andii) a way to represent and share practice. Finally, it is clear that the inherentaffordances of different learning design tools will have an impact on how thepractitioner goes about the design process. For example, because the LAMS toolfocuses on tools as conceptual elements, the design process is likely to be toolsfocused. In contrast, the social networking site Cloudworks focuses on sharingand discussion and so emphasises the practitioner, dialogic aspects of design.I believe we are at an interesting watershed in terms of learning design research.We have made significant steps forward in the field over the last ten years or soand now have a much richer understanding of design practices and mechanismsfor promoting them. The tools developed along the way have enabled us toexplore these in real-world contexts; some focus on visualisation, others ondialogue and sharing, and others on guidance/support. All three of thesedifferent types of scaffolds are important and support the practitioner indifferent ways. What is needed next is to try and combine these elements, not 20
  21. 21. necessarily into one monolithic tool, but through the creation of some form ofdynamic learning design ecosystem. As a first step towards this, the keyresearchers in the field have being meeting as part of an EU-funded group, theLDGrid.25 A key output of the group is to produce a concise, comprehensive andaccessible set of resources for practitioners and learners to help them adoptmore learning design based thinking and practices. The group has held a numberof workshops and has an evolving set of learning design resources.ConclusionThis chapter has described a range of tools for visualising learning designs. It hasdescribed the functionality of each, supported by illustrative examples. Whereappropriate data from evaluation of the use of the tools has been included. Inaddition, a set of conceptual learning design views was described. It is evidentthat visualising designs is a powerful way of helping teachers to rethink theirdesign practice and make more informed design decisions. Furthermore, thecreated designs help make the design more explicit and hence sharable.Evaluation of the use of these tools, along with the empirical evidence, gleanedthrough a series of interviews with teachers about their design practices, hasgiven us a richer understanding of the design process and the role ofvisualisation.Further research is needed to build on this substantial body of work. Inparticular, it would be good to develop a holistic or perhaps a distributed onlinelearning design tool, which enabled the designer to oscillate between thedifferent visualisations. Alongside this would be in situ help, of the kind providedin the DialogPlus toolkit and the Phoebe wiki. Finally, in order to share anddiscuss designs a social networking space would be provided. For example, theCloudworks site,26 which is a site for learners and teachers to share and discusslearning and teaching ideas. The evolving resources collated by the LDGrid teamare a useful starting point in terms of mapping the current status of the field. Thenext stage will be to try and formulate what an evolving learning design ecologyand community would look like and how it might be realised in practice. Figure1527 provides an illustration of what this learning design ecology might look likeand in particular the relationship between the different tools and resources andhow they feed into the design process.25 This was adapted from a diagram presented at a keynote in Limerick and written up in an associatedbook chapter Conole, G. (Forthcomig). Blues Skies Thinking for Design and Open EducationalResources. Quality issues in ICT integration: third leve disciplnes and learning contexts. T. Hourigan,L. Murray and E. Riordan. Cambridge, Cambridge Scolars Publishing: 12 - 27. 21
  22. 22. Figure 15: A learning design ecology of the futureAt the heart of the diagram the learning design process is represented. In thisexample the task swimlane representation is shown rendered in theCompendiumLD tool. The task swimlane representation shows the roles of thoseinvolved in the learning activity (for example learner and tutor) and theirassociated tasks as a temporal sequence. In addition there are columns showingwhich resources and tools are associated with each task and how the tasks mapto the intended learning outcomes. On the left hand side of the diagram are thepotential sources of input that the designer might draw on. This includesinteraction with peers through social media (such as Twitter or the academicsocial networking site Cloudworks), examples of good practice from learningdesign and OER repositories, as well as more formally structures examples ofgood practice in the form of pedagogical patterns. The designer can use these asinspiration to guide their design or indeed incorporate elements into thelearning pathway. The outputs of the design process are new OER or learningdesigns, which can iteratively feedback into the wider community for further useor repurposing.Only time will tell whether or not this vision will be realised. However, as isevident in the narrative in this chapter and others in this book, practitionersneed guidance and support to help them make pedagogically informed designdecisions that make innovative use of new technologies. The evaluations of thelearning design tools and conceptual views described in this chapter are positiveoverall. They do appear to help designers rethink their design practice and shiftfrom a focus on content to learning activities and the learner experience.Furthermore, it is evident that social and participatory media can provide a 22
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