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What exactly does a learning design tool need to support? (What's essential? What's merely useful?)

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Alison Peck
7 April 2012

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Gordon Horsington
10:59am 7 April 2012

Before choosing a learning design tool I think it is necessary to consider whether the tool will be available to all the participants in the design processes and the distribution of the results. If a tool is to be used within an institution then it is likely that the particular tool(s) will be available throughout that organisation and the choice of tool(s) can be based purely on the merits (or otherwise) of the range of available tools. If, on the other hand, the output from the design tool is to be shared between organisations then the tool(s) used to create the models should be freely available to all the participants involved in sharing and developing the designs.

If, in the simplest case, Word is used then it might be assumed that it is okay to share document in the docx format but, in order to make the documents available to a much wider scope of users, the documents need to be in rtf (or doc) format so that they can be edited in non-Microsoft products such as Open Office.

In order to cope with compatibility issues I should like to propose that any design tool intended to be used between institutions should be widely available and preferably open source. When paid-for tools are used then, ideally, they need to produce output in a format than can be edited with open source software. Producing mind maps or flow diagrams as jpeg files is all very well until the recipient wants to edit them to suit their own unique circumstances. If they can’t be edited then they might be ignored or discarded whatever their merits.

Bob Kemp
7:31pm 7 April 2012

This is not a test... well, okay, it is. 

Gráinne Conole
8:32am 10 April 2012

For me a learning design tool needs to be simple to use and to mirror real practice - ie that design is a creative, messy and iterative process. The learning design visualisations we have developed are intended to help practitioners rethink their design practice and to shift from thinking about content to activities and the learner experience.

Ian Hoffman
6:31pm 11 April 2012

I don’t know very much about this topic and will need to follow the lead of others. My initial offering to the debate is - Needs to be able to support the effective ‘translation’ of how a teacher describes their practice into a [preferably] reusable design. So, in effect, the user of the design tool should not be constrained by the tool, the tool has to be flexible enough to deal with different methodologies or blends in a single design.

david mcdade
11:52am 12 April 2012

The tool does need to be simple to use. I'm from a techie background, so using a tricky piece of software isn't really a big deal, however I tend to be guilty of taking that for granted. There are others that may not be so tech minded that may struggle and ultimately be put off using the tool. I have found this problem within my own practice.

Coming back to the compatibility issues that Gordon raises, this is a debate that could go on forever; after all, application software packages do tend to have their own proprietary file formats. Perhaps an idea would be to have a web 2.0 (http) based learning design tool - I'm thinking along the lines of a web based version of compendium, where designs can be output in a variety of formats: pdf, images, or even office formats. 

Gráinne Conole
11:37am 25 January 2013

Totally agree that the tool needs to be simple otherwise teachers will not engage with it. They need to see quickly what the benefits of using the tool will be. 

Ebba Ossiannilsson
6:41pm 25 January 2013

One taught reflectin on this topic on learning design and tool

Are there any differences inway f thinking and tools to use , if  one are going in a rather familia context or a totally new one, for example with new language, context , terms, people, content etc

Will Pollard
8:27pm 28 January 2013

I found the cards quite hard to engage with to start with. I have the idea of a learning cycle in my mind and this week seems to have the learner in the centre with everything floating around. this is probably closer to how learning happens. But I'm not sure how you test the design without some sort of sequence.

So I guess the tools need to fit with the assumptions. I try to keep an oppen mind of course.

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