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OLDS-MOOC Week 5: Prototype

7 February 2013 - 14 February 2013

Cloudscape created by:

Rebecca Galley
31 January 2013

Please use the OLDS-MOOC website as your route through this week's study materials. Click here to go to the website.

Go straight to the Clouds in this Cloudscape


This week we go from design idea - the sketch - to the first stage of implementation - the prototype. Leonardo did a sketch for moving heavy water pumps, but seems to have never made one. Hundreds of years later, another engineer turns the sketch into a proof-of-concept prototype. Not the final product, but enough to clarify the functionality and basic technical issue for meeting the user requirements (

This week we look at doing the same for learning designs. By treating teaching as a form of 'design science' we acknowledge the iterative nature of the process - the need to build on what others have done and learned, to experiment and test, and then use this to improve the design (Laurillard, 2012).

The week's activities include prototyping activities for digital learning of the type that could be done by any teacher, no programming experience necessary. The pedagogical patterns developed in Week 4 are a kind of prototyping for a whole lesson, or sequence of online/offline learning activities that can be built around an existing digital resource of some kind, such as an Open Educational Resource, or interactive program, or wiki. This week we consider how to express the design of the digital resource itself. It is very important for teachers to be able to express their idea for how a digital learning technology should work for the learner. So we look at some simple ways of expressing and testing interactive programs, i.e. ways of prototyping a design.

The closer teachers are to the specification of digital learning designs, the more these programs are likely to achieve useful learning goals. The detail of the design must not be left to the programmers!

The week will be led by Professor Diana Laurillard who will be joined by Marion Manton as co-facilitator.

Learning outcome

  •  You should be able to design, construct and test a simple prototype for a learning design

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