Learning about Learning Design

As my doctorate is on the learning design of a journey, I have started my research with understanding how the learning design of courses is conducted at The Open University, to see how I could apply this methodology to a journey and what elements I would need to tweak or introduce to a journey-specific learning design. 

The concept of learning design was introduced within the OU in January 2013 with it becoming a required elements to the stage-gate course production process in March 2014. Even though the learning design process was adopted for formal for-fee content we have applied this process to the BOC (Badged Open Course) for-free initiative which I project manage. 

The use of learning design in informal content I feel is just as important as with for-fee or formal content as the learners need a cohesively designed course to feel that they are able to achieve the learning outcomes of the course and then if they decide to progress from learners to formal students then the pathways, layout, and design should feel familiar to them as they study our for-fee content. 

My theory (and this is one of the elements that I am exploring in my research) is that for a learning journey to be effective not only should the components within have learning design applied, but also the narrative that stitches all the component parts together. It can’t be expected that learners will know exactly what to do next after they have completed one part of the journey has this leads to confusion, loss in confidence and motivation, and eventually an increase in drop off rates. 

Anyway, enough of that for now (as no doubt you will be subjected to many theoretical ramblings as my research increases in this area over the forthcoming three years) and back to the learning design at the OU.

IET (Institute of Educational Technology) at the OU has a team of learning design specialists that work with course teams to identify the learning design of their courses, demonstrate the benefits of a good learning design, develop case studies for use, and help to identify the tools and resources that course teams require in the development of their courses. 

I started out developing my understanding of learning design at the OU by partaking in the learning design workshops for the BOCs (more about those in a future post soon) and from there I attended curriculum learning design training and now I am undertaking IET’s LD101: Introduction to Learning Design course, which is the first of a four part series of learning design courses by IET. 

I am hoping that this practical application, observation, reflection, study of their courses, and the development of my reading and research for my literature review will aid me to deepen my understanding of learning design in preparation for my application of the methodology. 

Right, less blogging, more studying of LD101 

For now, I’m still…

Doctor in Waiting 

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