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Towards a map of existing representations for learning design

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Francesca Pozzi
15 November 2012

by Pozzi F., Persico D., 

Designing a learning activity (whose granularity may vary: it can be a small unit, a course module or a whole  course) is one of the most crucial activity a teacher is required to do. Representing the product of the design process, that is the “design”, basically responds to the need of communicating the design to ‘others’; where ‘others’ may be: students, who need to be informed about what they are supposed to do; other teachers, who need to coordinate their work with  a class; other practitioners and designers, who may wish to reuse or and share existing practices;. researchers, who may be interested  in piloting educational interventions oriented to test some kind of innovation in a class; a computer, that may be able to “read” a formal representation and thus automatically configure a learning environment where the activity can be enacted; and, last but not least, the teacher herself, who may need to use representations during the design process as a ‘maieutic tool’, to help her make the rationale behind the design decisions explicit.

As a consequence of these different communication needs, there is a variety of existing representations, which differ for type, purpose, end-user, etc.. In this rich panorama it may be difficult for practitioners and novice users to orient themselves. This paper is an attempt to make order out the chaos of the existing design representations, even if the borders between the different categories identified is rather blurred. 

In this contribution a framework of dimensions is proposed and illustrated, mainly with the aim of classifying different approaches and to design representation as well as identifying and discussing the areas where more research work is needed. 

Main references

Agostinho, S. (2011). The use of a visual learning design representation to support the design process of teaching in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology,  27(6), 961-978.

Anthony, D. L. (1996) Patterns for classroom education, Retrieved September 2012 from

Bergin, J. (2002). Fourteen Pedagogical Patterns. Pedagogical Patterns Project    

Conole G. (2012). Designing for learning in an Open World, New York: Springer

Conole, G., McAndrew, P., Dimitriadis, Y. (2011) The role of CSCL Pedagogical Pattern as Mediating Artifacts for repurposing Open Educational Resources. In Pozzi, F. & Persico D. (eds) Techniques for fostering collaboration in online learning communities: Theoretical and pRactival perspectives. Information Science Reference, Hershey, NY.

Botturi, L., & Stubbs, T. (2008). Handbook of Visual Languages for Instructional Design: Theories and Practices. Hershey, NewYork: Information Science Reference

Eckstein, J., Bergin, J., & Sharp, H. (2002). Patterns for Active Learning. Paper presented at the 9th Conference on Pattern Language of Programs, Monticello, Illinois

Gibbons, A. S., Botturi, L., Boot, E., & Nelson, J. (2008). Design languages. In M. Discoll, M. D. Merill, J. v. Merrienboer & J. M. Spector (Eds.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technologies. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erbaum Associates.

Paquette, G., Léonard, M., and Lundgren-Cayrol, K.(2008).The MOT+ visual language for knowledge-based instructional design. In L. Botturi and S.T. Stubbs (Eds.), Handbook of Visual Languages for Instructional Design: Theories and Practices, pp. 133-154, Hershey, NewYork: Information Science Reference.

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