Designing for blended learning, sharing and reuse

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Western Ontario]On: 16 November 2014, At: 20:25Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of Further and HigherEducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Designing for blended learning, sharingand reuseIsobel Falconer a &amp; Allison Littlejohn aa Glasgow Caledonian University , UKPublished online: 08 Mar 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Isobel Falconer &amp; Allison Littlejohn (2007) Designing for blendedlearning, sharing and reuse, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31:1, 41-52, DOI:10.1080/03098770601167914</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Designing for blended learning, sharing</p><p>and reuse</p><p>Isobel Falconer* and Allison LittlejohnGlasgow Caledonian University, UK</p><p>The concept of design for learning has arisen as education faces up to the implications of modern</p><p>pedagogy, student diversity, and the affordances of information and communication technologies.</p><p>This paper examines some of the benefits and issues for teachers in further and higher education</p><p>surrounding the idea of learning design and its practical implementation in blended learning. It</p><p>looks particularly at questions of documenting and representing learning designs so that they can</p><p>be communicated to others. It explores the differing requirements of representations at various</p><p>stages in the planning and sharing process, and for different communities of users, finding that</p><p>multiple perspectives on a learning design are usually necessary. However, few representations to</p><p>date have succeeded in capturing the essence of a good piece of teaching. Ways of representing</p><p>designs as dynamic processes, rather than static products, may need to be developed. The paper is</p><p>based on the outcomes of work with practising teachers during the UK Joint Information Systems</p><p>Committee (JISC)-funded Models of Practice Project, part of JISCs Design for Learning</p><p>Programme, which runs from 2006 to 2007.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The concept of design for learning has arisen in the context of three institutional</p><p>challenges that currently face teachers in further and higher education: the</p><p>increasing size and diversity of the student body; an increasingly managerial</p><p>approach that evaluates education against cost, efficiency and measurable outcomes;</p><p>and the potential of new technologies to provide personalised learning and call into</p><p>question traditional ideas of the purposes of education and what constitutes</p><p>knowledge (DfES, 2001; Council for Industry and Higher Education, 2002;</p><p>Beetham &amp; Sharpe, forthcoming).</p><p>The solution to these seemingly incompatible challenges is often sought in use of</p><p>technological tools such as virtual learning environments (VLEs) for scaleable and</p><p>flexible delivery, and for efficient sharing and reuse of teaching ideas and activities.</p><p>Yet despite substantial recent institutional investment in trying to exploit such</p><p>*Corresponding author. Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Rd,</p><p>Glasgow G4 OBA, UK. Email:</p><p>Journal of Further and Higher Education</p><p>Vol. 31, No. 1, February 2007, pp. 4152</p><p>ISSN 0309-877X (print)/ISSN 1469-9486 (online)/07/010041-12</p><p># 2007 UCUDOI: 10.1080/03098770601167914</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>este</p><p>rn O</p><p>ntar</p><p>io] </p><p>at 2</p><p>0:25</p><p> 16 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>technologies in learning there is little sign that education has changed in any</p><p>fundamental way at the level of teacher practice (Collis &amp; van der Wende, 2002). It</p><p>appears that the benefits of e-Learning are not sufficiently clear or easy to</p><p>communicate (Beetham, 2004). Nor are they well enough aligned with existing</p><p>institutional structures, values and rewards (Seufert &amp; Euler, 2004).</p><p>This paper examines some of the benefits and issues for teachers in further and</p><p>higher education surrounding the idea of design for learning and its implementation</p><p>in blended learning. It is based on the outcomes of the UK Joint Information</p><p>Systems Committee (JISC)-funded Models of Practice Project, part of JISCs</p><p>Design for Learning Programme (</p><p>designlearn), which runs from 2006 to 2007.</p><p>Why design for learning?</p><p>The impetus to design for learning comes from a number of directions, taking</p><p>design to mean the planning and documentation of a learning activity, session or</p><p>curriculum in advance of delivery. Where orchestration of a number of different</p><p>resources for a large class of students is involved, for example in science practical</p><p>classes, advance planning and design of the session has always been necessary</p><p>(Sanches &amp; Valcarcel, 1999). Simpler sessions, with lower numbers or minimal</p><p>resources, have traditionally required less advance planning, enabling a flexible</p><p>response to the immediate needs of learners. Over the last two decades, however, the</p><p>rising demands of quality assurance to maintain and, where possible, enhance the</p><p>quality of the learning and teaching environment have required that even such</p><p>simple sessions are documented, as part of formal review and validation processes.1</p><p>Recent government widening participation policies have increased the number and</p><p>diversity of students for whom equivalent learning experiences need to be provided,</p><p>requiring advance planning and design (Scott, 1995). At the same time comes the</p><p>realisation that effective learning entails a student-centred teaching approach that</p><p>fosters the skills of independent thinking, team working and enterprise required by</p><p>employers (Garrick, 1998). However, such activities need to be scaffolded in advance</p><p>so that students can be adequately briefed about the activity. Furthermore, if such</p><p>activities are to be presented flexibly, or to distance students, they probably draw</p><p>extensively on technology to support online collaboration and access to resources,</p><p>and such access needs to be specified and set up (Contreras-Castilloa et al., 2004).</p><p>However, the technologies that might enable teachers to meet these various needs</p><p>are developing and changing rapidly. A supposed benefit of learning technologies is</p><p>their potential for providing access to a wealth of knowledge and tools for students to</p><p>interact with the knowledge, the teacher and their peers. Yet teachers receive little</p><p>guidance on how to use these tools to best effect. Another reason for documenting</p><p>the design of learning activities, sessions or curricula that have proved effective is to</p><p>share and reuse practice, providing advice and guidance and increasing the efficiency</p><p>of planning (Beetham, 2004).</p><p>Furthermore, if a machine-readable language for describing learning designs</p><p>could be devised, a lot of the setup and orchestration of tools could be done</p><p>42 I. Falconer and A. Littlejohn</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>este</p><p>rn O</p><p>ntar</p><p>io] </p><p>at 2</p><p>0:25</p><p> 16 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>automatically, relieving teachers of this burden (Masterman, 2006). A number of</p><p>such methods have been developed for the technical development community.</p><p>These include Educational Modelling Language (EML; Koper, 2001) which was</p><p>developed to describe teaching and learning interactions at a generic level. This</p><p>approach has been incorporated into the IMS Learning Design specification, a</p><p>global initiative which aims to provide a digital format for encoding, transporting</p><p>and playing learning designs (Koper et al., 2003). In the United States, the</p><p>Department of Defense developed SCORM (Shareable Courseware Object</p><p>Reference Model) which is a set of specifications and standards to enable</p><p>web-based learning systems to find, import, share and reuse learning materials in</p><p>a standard way ( While these initiatives</p><p>primarily focus on the technical development community, a more teacher-</p><p>friendly system is LAMS (Learning Activity Management System) (http://</p><p>, which enables teachers to plan activities using drag</p><p>and drop icons, and then to run them in a VLE. However, the range of activity types</p><p>and sequences possible is currently rather limited. Despite this enthusiasm for</p><p>developing a language for describing learning designs that will enable sharing and</p><p>reuse, researchers have yet to find descriptions that teachers in mainstream</p><p>education can understand and apply (Burgos &amp; Griffiths, 2005). This reflects a</p><p>more general split in the e-Learning community between development of e-Learning</p><p>tools, services and standards, and research into how teachers can use these most</p><p>effectively (Bennett et al., 2005; Falconer &amp; Littlejohn, 2006).</p><p>Representing learning designs</p><p>The idea of designs for learning is that they provide the guidance teachers need by</p><p>modelling good pedagogic practice, and can be shared and reused, promoting</p><p>efficiency and quality assurance.</p><p>Design for Learning may be defined as designing, planning and orchestrating</p><p>learning activities as part of a learning session or programme (JISC, 2006). A</p><p>learning design is the outcome of this design process. Learning designs have been</p><p>known to further education teachers for a long time as lesson plans, but are</p><p>relatively unknown in higher education.</p><p>A learning design may exist purely in the head of the teacher implementing it but,</p><p>as pointed out by Vogel and Oliver (2006, p. 4), in order to be comprehended by</p><p>others, designs must also be represented or articulated. However effective a learning</p><p>design may be, it can only be shared with others through a representation that</p><p>communicates the structure and purpose of the design. Efficient sharing and reuse</p><p>can only take place if the representations are effective; they must convey the</p><p>information that teachers need in a form that the teachers can understand. The issue</p><p>of representation, then, is central to the whole drive to share and reuse designs.</p><p>A learning design may be of any size and complexity, from a course down to an</p><p>individual activity. We will take it that the scope of the design is determined by the</p><p>learning objectives to be met: a design contains the activities required to meet a</p><p>Designing for blended learning, sharing and reuse 43</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>este</p><p>rn O</p><p>ntar</p><p>io] </p><p>at 2</p><p>0:25</p><p> 16 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>learning objective (Falconer &amp; Littlejohn, 2006). For teachers, the most common</p><p>learning designs are probably of a session lasting between one and three hours, or a</p><p>course module of a number of sessions.</p><p>Learning designs have been represented in a number of ways, for example, as</p><p>lesson plans, case studies, units of activity in a VLE, flow diagrams, or tutor notes.</p><p>However, while these representations clearly convey the orchestration and planning</p><p>of activities, there is some debate over the extent to which they communicate the</p><p>design, where design is taken to imply the pedagogical intent underlying the</p><p>structure (Griffiths, 2004).</p><p>Two representation systems that have been developed through extensive</p><p>consultation with teachers, aiming to convey the generic structure and peda-</p><p>gogic intent of a design and enable sharing and reuse, are the Australian Univ-</p><p>ersities Teaching Committee (AUTC) temporal sequence system (http://www.</p><p> and the LDLite matrix (Littlejohn &amp; Pegler, in press).</p><p>These are essentially paper-based systems and are not currently machine-readable,</p><p>but they aim to bridge the gap between teachers and technical developers.</p><p>Thus a learning design communicates more than just the sequence of activities; it</p><p>expresses also the pedagogical rationale for the relationship between activities,</p><p>resources, and the path between them. Greller (2005) has pointed out that for</p><p>teachers pedagogic intent is the primary feature of a design; it comes first, before any</p><p>attempt is made to decide upon a methodology, activity or pathway.</p><p>Documenting learning and teaching practice</p><p>Blending a number of learning activities, media and e-tools can be compared with</p><p>orchestrating a stage performance (Liber &amp; Olivier, 2003). It is helpful to have</p><p>different types of information about the performance at different levels. As a starting</p><p>point, it is useful for teachers to have access to a short synopsis, just as they might</p><p>read on a poster or in an announcement. The purpose is to provide sufficient</p><p>information to choose between one performance and another. This sort of</p><p>representation is essential for reuse across different stakeholders since it allows</p><p>communication about the learning design to others. It is less important for teachers</p><p>who are reusing their own designs. The synopsis defines the learning outcomes and</p><p>documents an abstraction or a pattern behind learning activities or activity</p><p>sequences.</p><p>If the synopsis seems of interest, then a teacher may want to find more detail about</p><p>an individual learning activity or activities. This is akin to a screenplay that gives</p><p>information on what happens during an activity sequence, giving details of each</p><p>activity to others. For teachers and students who are part of the performance, the</p><p>screenplay indicates what to do at each stage. This detail is usually presented as a</p><p>detailed linear document about a set of events happening in one space as a</p><p>continuous flow. An example of this type of representation is a lesson plan which is</p><p>essentially a matrix mapping of activities along a timeline (Littlejohn &amp; Pegler, in</p><p>press).</p><p>44 I. Falconer and A. Littlejohn</p><p>D...</p></li></ul>


View more >