Not by Accident but by Design: Collaborative Design of Reusable Learning Technology

By Dejan Ljubojevic, Eleanor OKell and Enzian Baur.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Major drivers within UK higher education include the need to embrace e-Learning and to teach skills not content. Within Institutions, subject specialists are not skilled learning technologists and learning technologists lack specific disciplinary expertise. Thus, there is concern, particularly in Arts and Humanities, that e-Learning should be discipline-appropriate and truly fit for purpose. The challenge this presents to achieving successful collaborative learning design is that of bridging the disciplinary and communicative divide. The Humanities practitioners’ perspective was focused on the teaching of critical thinking/evaluation skills rather than the acquisition of knowledge within an e-environment. The learning technologists’ perspective was guided by the Generative Learning Object approach which seeks to elicit underlying pedagogical patterns from disciplinary practitioners through a dialogic process and make those patterns explicitly available inside a software tool. This is carried out through continued consultation and follow-up. Once the design pattern was captured and computationally modelled the reuse potential of the good design practice, as embodied in the accessible pattern, is considerably enhanced.

The three distinct outcomes of the collaboration are: i) the model/blueprint for cross-specialisation collaborative design practice, ii) the tools for supporting collaborative design from planning to delivering, and, iii) an example e-learning resource – a deliverable outcome of this collaboration.

The paper presents an empirical study of design practices, collaboratively developed, for Humanities educational design, which included the disciplinary practitioner as instructional designer and end user. In practice this included negotiating the Humanities-Technology culture clash, maintaining the balance between pedagogical and technological drivers and developing a communicative vocabulary and framework. The session focuses on the latter two aspects, more generically transferable/reusable in disparate contexts. The practical component of the session offers hands on exploration of the tensions raised and surmounted with regard to design approaches, strategies, methodologies and tactics.

Keywords: Disciplinary Practitioner as Instructional Designer, Collaborative Design, Design Approaches, Strategies, Methodologies and Tactics, Generic Design Pattern Capture, Computational Modelling of Design Pattern

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.333-342. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.605MB).

Dr. Dejan Ljubojevic

Research Fellow, Learning Technology Research Institute, Institute of Education, London, UK

Dr. Dejan Ljubojevic is a research officer with London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education. His research is in the area of Learning Design with specific focus on the context-centric approach to modeling learning. Currently Dejan is working on the Learning Design Support Environment project aimed at supporting teaching practitioners to use and reuse tried and tested learning design patterns. Dejan’s present work is the extension of his PhD thesis titled ‘The Design of Computer-Based Tools for Tutorial Authoring and Adaptive Learning Support Based on Learning Object Reuse’;the thesis explored the context-centric models for reuse of Learning Objects.

Dr. Eleanor OKell

Lecturer and Classics Academic Co-ordinator, Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University, Durham, UK

Dr. Eleanor OKell currently lectures at Durham University in Greek Tragedy with Literary Theory, with a view to developing the skills set of second year undergraduates. In 2008 she completed her PGCHE and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her disciplinary research interests include Greek Tragedy and Reception and her pedagogical research interests are particularly focused on the creation of ‘safe but challenging’ learning environments. She is also the Academic Co-ordinator of the History, Classics and Archaeology Subject Centre, which she joined in 2006, after five years lecturing experience in Classics at Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester and a PhD from Exeter for demonstrating the means by which Sophoclean tragedy taught Athenian citizenship.

Enzian Baur

Research Assistant, Learning Technology Research Institute, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

Enzian Baur is a Research Assistant for LTRI at London Metropolitan University and has a Masters in IT Usability. She is currently working on usability design and evaluation research on two separate learning technology software projects, the Generative Learning Object Maker software, and, InterLoc (Digital Dialogue Game) software.

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