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Activity: 60 minutes: OULDI Activity Profile OER

This activity has been developed as part of the JISC funded OLDS-MOOC

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Galley
2 November 2012

Learning Design: create, share, import, test, export

The Activity (née Pedagogy) Profile is designed to help teachers (and learners) map different types of learning activities across a course or sequence of learning events. The categories derive from a learning activity taxonomy (Conole, 2007; Conole 2008)  that characterises the types of tasks learners undertake into six types:

Assimilative (attending to academic content), Finding and Handling Information, Communication, Productive, Experiential, Interactive/Adaptive and Assessment.

Click here to go straight to the activity video.

This tool very much focuses on revealing what it is anticipated students will actually do to learn, rather than what might happen at a cognitive level (i.e. think, reflect, consider). Clearly all the tool can do is capture design intentions (for example we might develop an activity using a forum where we expect students to communicate their ideas and understanding with others but find that 70% only read (assimilated) the posts of others, and didn't really communicate their ideas themselves) but this doesn't lessen the tool's potential impact on design. The purpose of the tool really is to support us in making absolutely explicit to ourselves and others, what our expectations are about what student will do to learn.

In this activity you will first quickly sketch out a course/ module overview, and then begin to work out in more detail how activity will be distributed to support learning in your context.

There is a introductory video for this activity below and you can download the spreadsheet tool in Excel or Google doc formats (go to edit and 'make a copy' ).If you are interested in reviewing other taxonomies of learning that may be used in a similar way (and there are several) you could start with the 8-LEM model from the University of Leige.

This activity has been developed as part of the JISC funded OLDS-MOOC and is freely available for remixing and reuse. To go back to OLDS-MOOC week 3 click here.


Extra content

Activity instructions

[From the transcript of the video below]:

In this activity you will use the representation to help you think about what you intend learners to be doing to study and plan how you might implement the profile in your design . You can also use the tools to review a module or course prior to redesign.

In doing this you can not only discover what learners are actually spending their time doing in comparison to what you hoped or thought they’d be doing but also explicitly and thoughfully plan how they will spend their time once the module or course is redesigned.

Click here to go straight to the activity video.

You can either use the pre-designed spreadsheet or just paper and pens is fine – either works just as well - in fact if you are working as a design group around a table, you may find paper and pens a better solution!

You can download the OULDI spreadsheet  from the project website at .

There are 3 worksheets in the spreadsheet. Called Predict, ‘As is’ and Plan. In this activity we will use 2 – Predict and Plan.

By the end of this activity you will have 2 bar chart representations showing you the proportion of time learners spend engaged in each activity type; the first will show you what you expect the overall distribution to look like and the second will show you how activity types will be distributed across the module, unit or course you are working on.

As with all the OULDI learning design tools, the process you go through in sketching out the representation – the conversations you have, the decisions you make, and the implicit assumptions you reveal are important activity outputs – so make sure you jot these down as you work through the design activity.


1. Begin by quickly calculating how many taught and directed study hours there are in your module or course as a total.
2. Then quickly sketch out what you anticipate students will be doing through the module or course.

  • Will they be collecting and analysing data?
  • Communicating their ideas and learning through discourse?
  • Will they be engaging in  role play or adaptive scenarios?
  • Learning experientially through practice?
  • Producing texts, presentations, music, video, sculpture...
  • Reading texts, or watching podcasts or lectures?
  • How long will assessment tasks take them to do across the unit or course?

3. Check that your total numbers add up to the right amount and make changes in necessary.

4. Next take a step back and look at your work. Begin, to ask questions about some of the assumptions you’ve made and check these out. Make some notes as you go.

5. Next use the Plan worksheet. You decide how you want to break the student journey down. For example you may want to break the course or module into themes, topics, phases, weeks or sessions. It doesn’t really matter how you do it but aim for about 10 manageable chunks.

6. Then begin to distribute activity hours across the course

  • You might decide there should be more assimilation type activity at the beginning of a course, data gathering and communication in the middle and more production and assessment at the end. 
  • This activity is also an opportunity to consider your learners workload. Will study hours be spread equally through the module or course as is the case here?
  • Remember that in addition to contact/teaching time and self-directed study, learners will also have a number of other things to do in relation to their learning such as administrative tasks (emails, time management planning, printing etc), refreshing skills, extra reading and extension activities. This 'self-directed study' is likely to add up to 10-20% of the total study time and is an important consideration for designers.

7. When you have finished, copy and paste your design notes into the notes panel here -  and save the file so you can continue to work on it and refine it over time.


Rebecca Galley
10:51 on 12 November 2012 (Edited 11:13 on 12 November 2012)

Embedded Content

Introductory video: Activity Profile

Introductory video: Activity Profile

Accessible Alternative
added by Rebecca Galley