Mix, stir then blend gently: co-creating a remote community of practice

If you read our last blog post, you’ll know that like most people, we’ve made some changes to the way we work here in the learning design team thanks to COVID19. One of these has been a change to our community of practice. Before lockdown, this was informal – members of the learning design team … [Read more…]

A virtual biscuit tin: creating a community of practice for learning designers in lockdown

It wasn’t just students who faced a sudden change in how they were learning in March when the UK locked down. Learners in the workplace were affected too – including our learning design team here at the Open University. We were dispersed to our homes by lockdown and overnight, lost our ability to learn from one another. Learning … [Read more…]

Student journeys: embedding skills into the curriculum

The Open University approach to designing for learning puts a strong focus on knowing who the learners are, catering for their needs and supporting them to succeed. One of the strengths of the OU is that its students are very diverse – the OU’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas … [Read more…]

The art of conversation: why collaboration matters in online learning 

If you’ve ever witnessed an awkward role play exercise in a training session, you may dread the idea of collaborative learning activities. The good news is that when it comes to online learning, you can plan and manage collaborative activities to ensure that nobody’s embarrassed and everyone benefits – possibly in ways they hadn’t anticipated.   You may have already designed some online collaborative activities. If you found it tricky, you’re not alone. They … [Read more…]

What students say about … click-and-reveal discussion activities

You may be familiar with click-and-reveal discussion activities. These are simple learning activities, which ask students to consider a question and then click to reveal an answer, some further discussion or feedback. This type of question—feedback device can be seen in face-to-face classroom environments when a lecturer poses a question to the class and then … [Read more…]

Practical tools for developing student-centred learning

Over the last decade, The Open University has developed its approach to designing and evaluating student-centred learning through a wealth of research and scholarship. The basis for much of what we do derives from the tools developed through the OU Learning Design Initiative. Since this project ended we have not stood still, but have continued … [Read more…]

Engagement with others online: students’ views of course design

As learning designers, it’s essential that we explore students’ needs and goals. That way, we can make sure that learning activities address these needs and support students to reach their goals. For example, each time we design a new module, we take time to explore student data and course teams’ experience to build up student profiles or personas that can be referred … [Read more…]

Active learning: making learning engaging

We’ve probably all sat through enough ‘death by PowerPoint’ slide decks to know what happens when we’re presented with information but don’t have the chance to engage with it. In the best-case scenario, we simply don’t learn anything. But often we leave the meeting or class worse off – with unanswered questions, frustration and reduced … [Read more…]