Documentation:Learning Design/Presentation Outline

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The Quest for Engaging Learning Activities

Introduction to the Design Process (use diagram)

Online Paced Cohort Model

Shift in recent years to Online Paced Cohort model. content/faculty/learner conceptual outline insert Terry Anderson diagram


Project arose from desire to incorporate evaluation into design process (refer back to diagram); optimize online learning.

Applied for funding from Open Learning Research Fund, successful and acknowledge support of OL.

Reasons for research:

  • Optimize learning opportunities
  • OLFM workload considerations
  • Most ID takes places in discussion between ID + OLFM/SME
    • decisions based on experience and feedback from learners, faculty, other IDs
  • Courses are complex - hard to pin down what is working for a particular audiance
  • What can we learn from these experiences in a more systematic fashion (analytical AR project)


Collect and interpret feedback from the learners, OLFMs and other IDs - that leads us to do two things

  • Refine questions
  • Evolve our design practices
    • Rules of Thumb for effective learning
    • Gaining and interpreting feedback
    • Developing Flexible activity templates and course sequencing (and supporting documents, reusable rubrics)

Two Focus Areas of Research:

  • Collecting feedback
  • Integrating into practice (collaborative work on developing activity templates)

Cataloguing Activities

  • First Step Attempt to Catalogue Activities
    • scaffolding, culminating (examples)
    • interactive - have them look at discussions? design of discussion questions alone -
      • authentic tasks (more meaningful) - going from cooperative to collaborative
        • provide examples of range or ask participants to categorize?
      • highilght the use of rubrics (for F2f, blended)
      • make it an effective use of the learner's time
  • Conclusions:
    • Better to set up flexible templates (they are too complex, evolutionary)
    • Rules of cognitive psychology - ways that you can mix/match these is more evolutionary

Data Collection First Steps

  • Formative stage
    • what kind of questions should we be asking?
    • how to do a mixed-method approach?
    • measure of goodness and explanation
    • try to identify best and worst practices
  • Survey
    • draft questions; seek input from OLFMs teaching paced course
    • surveys sent to 189 students; 52 responses
  • Data Analysis
    • overview of results using Tableau Reader
  • Departmental Benefits of Process
    • dialogue about design and design practices
    • sharing documents
    • systematically sharing and reflecting on practice within time constraints

Interpreting Data

  • Group Discussion: Based on your experience and data so far:
    • When a discussion forum works why does it work? When it doesn't, why not? More structure, less structure, better structure?

Next steps:

  • Build catalogue of activity templates
  • Examine successful courses for overall structure; perhaps catalogue successful course sequences
  • Identify specific activities to target in specific courses; build survey links into courses themselves to get immediate feedback when learners complete an activity
  • Ongoing data collection; incorporate data into process for revising new courses after their initial offering

Do we have basic rules of thumb (heuristics)