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Report: State of the art review of e-learning and learning design

Deliverable for the Design-Practice (EUPT3) project

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
3 February 2010

Executive summary

The purpose of this ‘state of the art’ review is to provide a foundation for the work being undertaken as part of the ‘framework for preparing teachers to teach with ICT’ (the EUPT3 project). The review will help contextualise the work being undertaken in the project and ground it in the broader research literature and other initiatives of relevance in the field. The review in particular will provide a summary of the work undertaken to date as part of the OU Learning Design ( It is anticipated that the tools and resource OULDI has produced which form a core foundation for the EUPT3 project.

The review begins by describing the emergence of e-learning as a distinct field of enquiry and in particular the theoretical and methodological approaches which help define the field. It describes some of the ways in which technologies are being used to support learning, providing a critique of the positive affordances of modern technologies. It articulates some of the challenges with effective uptake and use of technologies in education and summarises some of the strategies used to address these issues.

It then focuses on learning design as a new field of inquiry that has developed in recent years as a potential means of addressing these issues and in particular bridging gap between the rhetoric around the potential impact of technology and its actual use in teacher practice. It describes four main approaches that have been used to promoting sharing of good practice: learning objects, case studies, Open Educational Resources (OER) and support centres/professional communities. It then describes some of the work that has been done to explore the different ways in which designs can be represented and in particular the use of visualisation. Toolkits and pedagogical planners designed to provide support and guidance to the design process are then described. Finally related, but highly relevant research on pedagogical patterns is mentioned.

The final section focuses on the OU Learning Design Initiative (OULDI) and particular the work on the development of a visualisation tool for design (CompendiumLD), a social networking site for sharing learning and teaching ideas and designs (Cloudworks), approaches to fostering staff engagement and support and finally related initiatives at the OU.

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State of the Art Review 4/2/2010 - first rough draft

State of the Art Review 4/2/2010 - first rough draft

added by Gráinne Conole


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