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Susanne's OLDS MOOC Learning Journal

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Susanne Winchester
10 January 2013

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I am an Associate Lecturer for German with the Open University. I have also taught German and French at all levels and in all sorts of setting - from primary to further education, work as an examiner for GCSE and IB and have done some writing for Pearson (just published Talk German 2 for BBC Active).

I have a keen interest in language learning and my particular research interests are in learning technology (e.g. digital vocabulary trainers/flashcards, screencasting for feedback and instruction).

I am hoping to work with others and to be inspired by such a diverse group of fellow participants.

I will describe my "dream" project later but just to say that I want to design a course whose focus is on teaching cultural aspects of the target language country (in this case Germany).


  • Explore a variety of      definitions of learning design

Interesting to read fellow participants’ contributions, collections of definitions and enjoyed following the convergence event.

  • Initiate own      learning/curriculum design project

No definite collaborators but useful feedback from some participants

  • Define learning design, as a      field of research and a practice

Contribution below posted here:!topic/olds-mooc-open/1bCPsIDn3O8/discussion

Learning Design has two aspects- the product on the one hand, i.e. the change the learning/teaching should bring
out, and the process, i.e. which steps need to be taken to reach the product. I agree with others, that it is a cyclic process, starting with an observation or a feeling that something should be addressed or changed. Find the issue/problem to be addressed, deconstruct it and plan learning activities for each stage of the learning process. I agree with Bronwyn –the teacher is the creator of content and content organisation, the guide through the many pathways through the content and generally facilitates the learning by creating varied learning experiences that enrich the learner. There should be sufficient choice and a general fostering of critical thinking in students to empower and encourage autonomy. Offering choices forces students to make decisions about their own learning. This is even more important in designing open courses as it is just impossible to base design on students’particular needs. . Instead careful observation is required of the designer. Kelly Edmonds mentioned that she likes to include the stakeholders in the design process but I wonder if this is feasible. MOOCs are only open to those who manage to get online – but is the openness restricted further? Assumptions have to be made about the digital literacy of the “consumer”. Can MOOCs be inclusive?

  • Identify some of the grand      challenges of using a learning design approach to the design of learning      in the 21st Century!topic/olds-mooc-open/1bCPsIDn3O8/discussion

  • Identify specific topics of      interest for further exploration

-        Which platforms work with MOOCs?

-        How do I avoid teacher-centred approach in content creation when needs of target audience is unknown



Learning outcomes

  • Review & revise your understanding of learner context and it's relevance to learning design

One of my own questions last week was how do I avoid teacher-generated content and to a degree reading about LD and context has made me realise that in order to produce a useful product I must ask myself what does the user want, how does his context impact on his learning, and therefore what can I do to take this into account?.

Oops.. just read Cooper and his statement that the term "users" implies lack of flexibility and regard for the individual, hence "personas".

  • Increase your awareness of approaches to context for learning design.
  • Evaluate the relevance of contextual approaches to your own learning design practice.
  • Plan further learning about contextual approaches.


Susanne Winchester
07:03 on 11 January 2013 (Edited 17:24 on 4 February 2013)

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