January 26, 2007

4 essential goals in learning design

Follow-up to Second Arts Faculty E–learning Exhibition Lunch from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

I am currently planning the next Arts Faculty E-learning Lunch Exhibition (9th February), and am considering how its exhibits can be organised to address the theme of supporting students at a distance. The exhibition could be organised to show successful solutions to the common problems encountered in this area. So what are these common problems?

Four problems (or challenges) are obvious. As Sarah Richardson of the History Online MA argues, these are in fact the same challenges that must be addressed by learning design in all higher education contexts (on site and distance). The challenges are:

  1. keeping students and the tutors focussed;
  2. keeping people connected (community) – communications and relations between tutors, tutors and students, students and their peers, as well as connections between the students and their departmental, faculty, subject and university communities;
  3. developing roles, responsibilities and identities, making them appropriate and well understood;
  4. supporting research, creativity and enterprise (for a definition of what I mean by this, see this article on research based learning).

With these challenges as the basis of the exhibition, my next task is to find showcase examples that demonstrate how our learning technologies support students and tutors in meeting these challenges. For example, I will show how a Sitebuilder term view calendar can be used to help define and keep course members effectively focussed.

Here is a concept map of this, with the four challenges analysed further, some information about technologies and techniques, and some of the showcases that will be used to explain them.

4 essential goals in learning design

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