Activity: 20 mins Strategies for design

A thought activity on strategies teachers use to create learning activities

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
25 November 2008

Consider the following questions about strategies for design. If you are not directly involved in teaching or in devising courses, you should think about the modules, classes or programmes that you support in some way. Share your thoughts with others here on Cloudworks

  • How do you (or your teaching colleagues) currently design courses?
  • How do you and/or your teaching colleagues get new ideas?
  • What resources and support are used?
  • What issues do new technologies raise for teaching and learning?

Extra content

Embedded Content


Benjamin Kehrwald
3:29am 30 November 2008

I get new ideas by being challenged when folks say 'that can't be done'...the challenge of doing the impossible helps me think outside the box, reconsider the context, the learners, the content, the nature of learning activity, the links between activity and tasks...and find opportunities to inject something new, something different than the status quo, something that opens a door to another space for doing something

Sharon Altena
3:33am 30 November 2008

Most of the best ideas relating to learning activities and designs come from being challenged by others who don't believe it can be done.

Rod Sims
3:34am 30 November 2008

Transforming from a content-based and sequential topic-by-topic 'design' to an activity and outcomes based approach. Addressing (learning) Outcomes then Assessment then (teaching) Strategies then (learning) Activities is one focus of design. Rather than assessment being memory-based it becomes application-based. The design process can be visual - focusing on the flow of inter-related student activities and communications and outputs rather than the 'content'. (Martin Jenkins and Rod Sims)

ben andrews
3:36am 30 November 2008

I think as I have past experience as an academic, staff I work with trust me when I suggest they try X or Y in a new module design. I do worry when people central units come in and suggest curriculum blends though. However, moving away from a one-to-one, until lecturers see lectures as 'just another resource' rather than the spine of their modules, as Mark Stiles suggests, we might start to move forward with integrating social technology

Julie Hughes
3:40am 30 November 2008

- unfortunately this often starts from a 'problem' - student feedback indicates that..... - or from gov initiatives (teacher ed)- revision of standards - recently I have had the opportunity to work with teams on redesign because of revalidation and a shared vision - this has been really exciting and at times terrifying as the stakes were high but we felt worth the risks and the battles - new ideas - from other teahers (talent spotting) - from our students - from wider networks, online and f2f through conferences etc - from case studies etc - resources - we use a technology retreat model where we take teams away for a 24 hour period with an overnight stay - all team buy in is important and we come to the retreat prepared to work inteams - we have a negotiated agreement on why we'd like to achieve by end of day 1 and end of day 2 - and a post-retreat continuation plan on-going mentoring and peer support has proved the most effective we communicate pre-and post activity via blogs Issues - staff (team amd management) buy-in, staff training, support and mentoring needs, student training and support, new technologies can sometimes be seen as a threat or criticism - need to navigate the choppy waters :)

Peter Poteralski
3:41am 30 November 2008

1. Current design (in the context of professional accreditation courses) driven by - what motivates the student; - what are the are the current perceived deficiencies; - how does the course relate to the student's needs/ future goals - feedback from past students 2. New ideas based on aggregation or adaptation/modification of others strategies/methodologies. Learning techniques traverse many areas of learning and so are portable/transferrable after contextualisation. 3. Traditional paper based + CD ROM/DVD + online delivery. Support limited due to number of students per course (2000 - 6000) and distance education delivery limits support. Forums, discussion lists difficult to provide moderators and mentors for these number of students. Some support materials mimic live tutorials and provide real life scenarios via simulation using avatars. 4. Still the obstacle of technology driving education not the reverse.

Leanne Cameron
3:41am 30 November 2008

The context for the design is important in terms how you go about learning design, eg. in a secondary school, the mandatory syllabus would be a starting point, but in the HE sector there is more scope for freedom with the curriculum. What prompted the change? Brainstorm the issues with relevant stakeholders, and then follow an iterative process of planning, designing, producing, implementing and evaluating. It should be stressed that this is not usually a linear process and can be continually refined as inspirations strikes.

Benjamin Kehrwald
4:32am 30 November 2008

"But more often from finding that problems that were supposed to be solved were still a long way from being properly understood."... a good point Tim...and links to the questions people ask...often starting with 'I can't do X, how do I do it?' and a penny drops: they're asking the wrong question...(possibly because the problem is misunderstood)...and leading to a response: 'If you look at it this way..., then you can do what you want by ...' and the possibilities appear

ben andrews
4:36am 30 November 2008

I would agree too Tim, I am only finding out now that some staff I worked with over two years and were happy to transfer some activity online are still in 'mindset 'lecturer on the stage'. so when they enter the discussion blog, they often kill it. Big paragraphs of 'knowledge' rather than informal succinct posts. Is this what you mean by flowing in the opposite direction?

Alice (Xin) Huang
11:40pm 28 January 2013

I got my design idears from participating in learning conference, talking to other learning designers to find out theiry apporach and their philosopy behind, then consider my own context to see if it will help my learners, if "yes" then I will explore further to adapt the approach. 



Gráinne Conole
8:34am 29 January 2013

Yes agree conferences are a great way of getting new ideas, as is talking to colleagues. Often just a short chat with someone can give you good ideas!

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