James is the Director, Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE), Macquarie University.
James reported on his work as an ALTC National Teaching Fellow. His visit to Canberra is one of the twelve visits he will make to Australian universities this year to share his work.
The trailer for his talk was:
“The new field of Learning Design provides ways to describe innovative teaching strategies, and methods for their online implementation. The first half of this workshop is a presentation covering: Learning Design concepts and implementation, examples from the “LAMS” Learning Design system, and discussion of recent development and future prospects for the field. The second half of the workshop is for discussion, questions and exploration of examples, including consideration of the connections between Learning Design and Curriculum Design”.
In his introduction James looked at what is learning design (design for learning)? He noted the variety of definitions and approaches including:
- A pedagogical meta model.
- A framework for describing structure of teaching and learning activities.
- A technical specification.
- A software system for managing sequences of content and collaborative learning activities.
- A community of educators sharing ideas on effective teaching (a repository of ready to run activity sequences and templates).
- A process that describes how educators make decisions about creating effective teaching and earning experiences.
Learning Design is: an attempt to rethink approaches to teaching; a focus on user generated content; and a community centric view of technology for education rather than courseware. James made interesting comparisons between learning design, music notation and food recipes to explore the deep idea of learning design (teaching and learning processes are described in a standard way, shared and adopted).
I liked James’ discussion of improvisation and it prompted me to think about tacit knowledge and the expert pedagogue.
The second part of James’ presentation discussed the “LAMS” Learning Design system over the last ten years. An important characteristic of this approach is sharing ideas. LAMS is an open source software with 770 members of the LAMS community. James shared a live example: Predict-Observe-Explain.
This example used on line video to support students’ ability to predict, observe and explain in a collaborative, open environment.
James showed the students’ interface and the teachers’ toolkit in LAMS. He demonstrated a template model (activity planner) that provide a generic approach to authoring.
James concluded his presentation with a consideration of:
- Templates v embedded content.
- From learning design to curriculum design.
- Linking activity descriptions to pedagogical descriptions (see, for example, the London Knowledge Lab Learning Design project).
- The flipped classroom.