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KEYNOTE THU: Design, support, measure, improve: making online learning that works (Patrick McAndrew)

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Dr Simon Ball
24 December 2016

The way in which we support learning ("teach") has often been seen as more of an art than a science. Indeed there is much to be said for the performance of teaching and the way that experience can build custom and practice that seems to work. However if we are trying to make improvements to how people learn this way of thinking can become unstuck; it is difficult to transfer good practice if we cannot describe what that practice is. Over the last ten years The Open University has built up an approach to learning design that encourages the capture of the intended approach to learning. Having this basis then allows those designs to be supported by materials and people and put into practice. The resulting performance can also be measured in terms such as workload, achievements, feedback and analytics. The learning design approach puts us in a better position to share effective designs across disciplines identifying what is working and how it can be improved. Challenges remain to provide the right sort of activities that fit with designs and to make the improvement cycle operate rapidly enough to help current learners rather than just plan changes that will help in the future.

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