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Clare Gormley: My dream project: A resource/activity for teaching effective learning design

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Clare Gormley
11 January 2013


One of my main roles is to provide instructional design related feedback to novice online course developers. I work with an academic coordinator and a small group of technical subject matter experts who are new to the process of developing online learning materials. We have identified that further support (eg training) is needed in this area and have recently developed an online eLearning toolkit to facilitate that process. However, I think that one aspect that needs further work on my part is how to how to help our developers begin the process of designing pedagogically sound learning materials - an often daunting task! As research increasingly indicates, simply telling developers about the tools available does not mean that they will automatically know how to apply them in the most effective way so something else - and I'm not sure exactly what yet - is needed. (I'm hoping that week 3 of this MOOC will be particularly helpful/relevant for this).

What might work:

Availability of course developers is extremely limited so I am thinking about developing a short activity that will introduce them to useful tools and techniques in this area and get them creating a first design quickly. Note that specific learning outcomes would have been agreed earlier so this exercise would be about bringing those learning outcomes to the next stage of design. This resource/activity could be delivered as part of a face-to-face workshop or possibly exclusively online. Our developers work primarily with Articulate but I'm open to any alternative approaches/technologies that might help to address this issue. Ideally this resource/activity will be reusable and would be as succinct as possible. Advice and feedback welcome!

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Oli Haslam
9:11pm 11 January 2013

This looks interesting. I am a course developer/learning technologist and in my experience there is a need for novices (I include myself here) to have a greater understanding of pedagogy and focus less on what the 'tools' can 'do'. But there's also a need to explore what tools can do (especially new ones) as they may have affordances that can inform and improve pedagogy.

Your e-learning toolkit looks great, by the way - not seen it before but I will be recommending it to colleagues. 

I haven't used Articulate but like the look of it. I think it is similar to Adobe Captivate, which I like a lot, though haven't used it as much as I want to. Both products are quite expensive, however, putting them out of the range of many teachers who might want to develop their own material.

Adobe Presenter is a cheaper alternative (it's an Add-on to MS PowerPoint) at about $80 and enables rapid authoring based on powerpoint slides, audio narration, quizzes etc.

A very different tool you might want to have a look at is Xerte Online Toolkits. It's open source, free, supported by some clearly very dedicated people, and very accessible (in all senses). Would be a good tool for 'delivering' learning to novice developers and they might want to start creating with it too.

I'm not affiliated to any of the products I've mentioned, by the way, just sharing some experience.

I'll be interested to watch how your project develops and may even get involved - but I haven't looked at all the other possible projects yet.

Good luck!

Clare Gormley
10:25am 12 January 2013

Hi Oli,

Thanks so much for the interest and the kind words. Good point about the cost of Articulate being a potential barrier. I haven't come across Xerte Online Toolkits previously - it definitely looks interesting and I will check it out.  Like you, I'm also going to browse around the other Clouds today - there seem to be a number of others grappling with the same issue so we might cross paths again.

Best of luck!



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