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Design for learning


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2009 presentation on issues in learning design and particularly in representing educational aspects of design and pedagogical rationale.

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Design for learning

  1. 1. Design for Learning: making educational sense in digital contexts Helen Beetham
  2. 2. Design for Learning (2004-08) <ul><li>Explored the convergence of technical developments such as LAMS and IMS LD with an increasingly design-led approach to learning and teaching practice </li></ul><ul><li>Over a dozen projects, involving LAMS, Moodle, ReCourse and the two UK pedagogic planners </li></ul><ul><li>Premises: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pedagogic intention can be articulated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>articulations can usefully be shared with other people and systems involved in the learning process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>intentions can be enacted/instantiated in real learning opportunities through learning activity design </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Lessons learned from D4L phase 1 (2004-06) <ul><li>Existing design practice is very varied , depending on subject and institutional culture, personal style etc (non-linear, emergent, responsive) </li></ul><ul><li>Educational design tools are rarely experienced by practitioners as pedagogically neutral or flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Design tools must enable collaborative design, contingent/responsive design, and effective sharing of design processes and outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Design processes need to be integrated with other institutional processes if design practice is to be transformed </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners want rich expressions of curricular purpose AND bite-sized curriculum elements that can easily be re-purposed and re-used </li></ul>
  4. 4. Models of learning and teaching <ul><li>All approaches emphasise learning activity and: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructive alignment of curriculum elements e.g. activities with outcomes and assessment tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The importance of feedback (intrinsic or extrinsic) on action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration across activities, e.g. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Associatively (building component skills & knowledge into extended performance) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constructively (integrating skills & knowledge, planning, reflecting) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Situatively (developing identities & roles) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>They differ in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The role and importance of other people in mediating activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The authenticity of the activity (situated/abstracted) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The balance of scaffolding (routines, structures, protocols) with flexibility (exploration, responsive support) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The locus of control (learner, peer, tutor, other) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Lessons learned from D4L phase 2 (2006-08) <ul><li>Tensions exposed around: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different levels of design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design for learning/design for teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Representational forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure/flexibility of designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggregation/orchestration approaches and tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The role of face to face interaction in learning and learning design ... </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Pedagogic intentions need to be represented differently to/by different actors in the learning 'system' </li></ul>The representational dilemma
  7. 7. <ul><li>There is a tension between articulating designs clearly in educational terms, and working powerfully with designs in educational systems </li></ul>The representational dilemma
  8. 8. The representational dilemma <ul><li>Practitioners discussing how to teach a particular topic: natural language, often used in specialist and expert ways </li></ul><ul><li>Learners discussing what they want out of a course: natural language, highly personal agendas </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic representations of learning activity: graphical interfaces, mapping and modelling, workflows and storyboards, an underpinning of technical standards. </li></ul><ul><li>Representations that can be used for modelling in learning systems: computational expressions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'pragmatic' features of design easier to represent computationally than 'educational' features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>which may be lost in the process </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The representational dilemma <ul><li>Modelling of educational intention remains elusive </li></ul><ul><li>Mod4L project concluded that there is no obvious typology of decontextualised design or patterns, in which a finite number of educationally meaningful intentions can be described. </li></ul><ul><li>It may be more productive to try modelling relationships between design elements, but... </li></ul><ul><li>… need to distinguish pragmatic and educational relationships - e.g. IMS LD (a pragmatic language of system interoperability) may not be useful for modelling educational aspects of the decision-making process. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The learning/teaching dilemma <ul><li>Good teaching (conception and enactment of a pedagogic intention) is not the same as good self-directed learning (conception and enactment of a personal learning goal) </li></ul><ul><li>Different but dialogically related human activities </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Teaching-supportive’ and 'learning-supportive' tools/services fulfil different needs </li></ul><ul><li>Learners’ and teachers’ skills are different but need to develop in dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>What are the points of intersection, both in terms of activity and in terms of the supporting tools/services? </li></ul>
  11. 11. The describing/prescribing dilemma <ul><li>There is a tension between modelling ‘good’ design practice and offering tools for educators to express their own pedagogic intentions </li></ul><ul><li>Modelling concepts allows strong forms of guidance in the design process (the system support 'good' design but must define it) </li></ul><ul><li>Open-ended tools are often more acceptable to practitioners but sacrifice interoperability and consensus about ‘good’ design. </li></ul><ul><li>How can visualisation/articulation tools carry design messages while remaining relatively neutral and open-ended? </li></ul>
  12. 12. The contingency dilemma <ul><li>Pedagogic intention can accommodate contingency in a variety of ways, offering different compromises between structure and flexibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But there are trade-offs – logistically and educationally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Total contingency/responsiveness -> diminishing returns on educational design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educationally meaningful guidance makes sense only in situations which are to some extent pre-determined </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The web 2.0/'power to the user' dilemma <ul><li>web 2.0 technologies allow users to determine the purposes, values and meanings of knowledge: applied to learning there are fundamental challenges for 'design' and for educational practice as a whole. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Orchestration vs aggregation Orchestrating technologies Institutional VLEs, CMS/LMS and portals, giving coherent access to learning resources Large-scale educational intentions Course or module as base unit Focus on purposes of the designer/curriculum Top-down management Self-regulated system Aggregating technologies Feeds, aggregators, drawing on web services RLOs, widgets and applets Small-scale learning outcomes Object or activity as base unit Focus on immediate needs of user/learner Modularity, reusability and interoperability Self-organising system
  15. 15. Web 2.0 knowledge practices refuse any final order or finished curriculum. They pass on a fragment of sense (e.g. a tag) to future users, leaving them with the task of making new sense in a new context.
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>'Design' is a contested space </li></ul><ul><li>There is a continued need for well-designed tools to support the teaching process, closely aligned with tools for learning </li></ul><ul><li>Contingency and collaboration remain key features of the learning/teaching process: designs and design tools must afford opportunities for both </li></ul><ul><li>There is probably no one tool that can resolve all the conflicting requirements but... </li></ul><ul><li>… teaching- and learning-centred tools and services can inter-operate... </li></ul><ul><li>… remembering that our aim as educators is to put learners progressively more in control of their own learning </li></ul>