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Let’s start from the very beginning: reflections on a new learning design team

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Learning design teams are flourishing in Higher Education, a recent JISC paper shows a range and diversity of approaches to learning design (MacNeill and Beetham, 2022), with no fewer than 31 approaches to learning design being used across UK institutions. This session provides reflections on leading a new learning design team tasked with supporting the design and delivery of online and blended degree programmes and Continuous Professional Development. In it approaches to leading on the co-creation of new design processes at an institutional level, while integrating them into existing structures, will be discussed.

Learning design is a fundamentally lonely and complex process for academic colleagues. Many are given modules or programmes to lead with little or no prior experience of pedagogical considerations or even what internal support is available to help them navigate the various institutional policies, quality panels and validation processes (Quinn et al., 2022). Our solution to the isolationism, often felt by academics, embodies critical approaches to learning design by bringing everybody together, with equal voice, to co-create the learning and support processes to create an inclusive, well supported online experience for students and staff.

Recognised as experts in the field of learning design across the institution the team is now working on 10 fully online degrees after less than a year of being fully established. We use a toolbox approach to learning design that creates bespoke service to the requirements of the programme team based on the complexity of their programme and approach. This, coupled with alignment to university quality procedures provides a robust approach to learning design that supports academic colleagues through the entire validation process.

Attendees will get an overview of our design approaches and be exposed to the tools in the team’s praxis driven toolbox for creating engaging online programmes. They will also gain insight in how to get institutional buy-in and work with senior leaders, academic colleagues, and various student services to enhance the learning design offer across an entire institution. It is hoped that this session will inspire others to use a varied and critical approach to learning design in their institutional contexts.

External organisation

NameAssociation for Learning Technology
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom