Design bash 11 post event ponderings and questions

Following on from my pre event ponderings and questions , this post reflects on some of the outcomes from our recent Design Bash in Oxford. A quick summary post based on tweets from the day is also available.

Below is an updated potential workflow(s) diagram which I created to encourage discussion around potential workflows for some of the systems represented at the event.

Potential learning design workflows

Potential learning design workflows

As I pointed out in my earlier post, this is not a definitive view, rather a starting point for discussion and there are obvious and quite deliberate gaps, not least the omission of content sources. As learning design is primarily about structure, process and sequencing of activities not just content, I didn’t want to make it explicit and add yet another layer of complexity to an already crowded picture. What I was keen to see was some more investigation of the links between the more staff development, face to face processes and various systems, to quote myself:

“starting from some initial face to face activities such as the workshops being so successfully developed by the Viewpoints project or the Accreditation! game from the SRC project at MMU, or the various OULDI activities, what would be the next step? Could you then transform the mostly paper based information into a set of learning outcomes using the Co-genT tool? Could the file produced there then be imported into a learning design tool such as LAMS or LDSE or Compendium LD? And/ or could the file be imported to the MUSKET tool and transformed into XCRI CAP – which could then be used for marketing purposes? Can the finished design then be imported into a or a course database and/or a runtime environment such as a VLE or LAMS? “

Well we maybe didn’t get to quite as long a chain as that, however one of the several break-out groups did identify an alternative workflow

potential workflow tweet

potential workflow tweet

During the lightening presentation session Alejandro Armellini (University of Leicester) gave an overview of the Carpe Diem learning design process they have developed. Ale outlined how learning design had provided a backbone for their OER work. More information on the process is available in this post.

In the afternoon James Dalziel demo’d another workflow, where he took a pattern from the LDSE Learning Designer (a “predict, observe, explain” pattern shown in the lightening session by Diana Laurillard) converted it into a LAMS sequence, shared it in the LAMS community and embedded it into Cloudworks. A full overview of how James went about this, with reflections on the process and a powerpoint walkthrough is available on Cloudworks. The recent sharing and embedding features of LAMS are another key development in re-use.

Although technical interoperability is a key driver for integrating systems, with learning design pedagogical interoperability is just as important. Sharing (and shareable) designs is akin to the holy grail for learning design research, but there is always an element of human translation needed.

thoughts on design process

thoughts on design process

However James’ demo did show how much closer we are now to being able to effectively and easily share design patterns. You can see another example of an embedded LAMS sequence here.

The day generated a lot of discussion and hopefully stimulated some new workflows for participants to work on. In terms of issues coming out of the discussions, below is a list of some of the common themes which emerged from the feedback session:

*how to effectively combine f2f activities with more formal institutional processes
*useful to see connections between module and course level designs being articulated more
*emerging interoperability of systems
*looking at potential integrations has raised even more questions
*links to OER
*capturing commonalities and mapping of vocabularies and tools, role of semantic technologies and linked data approaches
*sufacing elements of course, module, activity design and the potential impact on learners as well as teachers
*what are “good enough” descriptions/ representations of designs to allow real teachers to use them

So, plenty of food for thought. Over the coming months I’ll be working on a mapping of the process/tools/guides etc we know of in this space. I’ll initially focus on JISC funded work, so if you know of other learning design tools, or have a shareable workflow, then please let me know.

The future of technology in education (FOTE11)

What is the the future of technology in education? This is the premise for the FOTE conference which was held on 7 October at UCL.  And the answer is . . . . 42, a piece of string? Well of course there isn’t a single one, and I don’t think there should be one definitive answer either, but parts of the complex jigsaw puzzle were highlighted over the day.

A few suggestions which were aired during the morning morning sessions included: it’s the standards and EA approaches on the latest Gartner education hype cycle; it’s “cool stuff” combining the physical and digital world to create engaging, memorable experiences (as exemplified by Bristol Uni); it’s predictive analytics; it’s flipped and naked; it’s games; it’s data objects; it’s the user – v – we don’t know as we haven’t figured out the purpose of education yet; it’s about better communication between IT departments and students. It’s about providing ubiquitous, reliable wifi access on campus and plenty of power sockets.

It’s probably a combination of all of these and more. But if we in education are to truly reap the benefits of the affordances of technology then we also need to be ensuring our culture is developing in parallel. As James Clay pointed out, people inherently don’t like change and this can be exacerbated in educational contexts. Why change when we’ve “always done it this way” or “it works, why change it?”. Students are powerful change agents – but only if our institutional processes allow them to be. Although there was knowing laughter around the room when he pointed out that “students are dangerous”, there was a serious underlying message. We need to be working more effectively with students to really uncover their needs for technology, and have meaningful interactions so that those in charge can make the most effective decisions about the services/hardware and software institutions provide. James rightly pointed out that we need to be asking students “what do you want to do” not “what do you want”.

There was also a lot of discussion over the day about students and “BYOD” (bring your own device). I think there is a general assumption now that students going to University will have a laptop and least one other mobile internet enable device (probably a phone). Which raises the question of institutional provision. During the day, I have to say I did feel that this panel session didn’t work that well, however it is actually the session/topic that I have spent most time thinking about since Friday.

On several occasions the student reps (and others) brought up the fact that often students don’t actually know if/where and when they can use their own devices in H/FE. Given the fact that in school all hardware is provided and personal devices are openly discouraged, this uncertainty isn’t that surprising, but I was glad to be reminded of it. Again this relates to the importance of recognising and allowing for cultural change and the importance of communication. Is it made clear to students when, where and how they can use their own devices (mobile, laptop and/or tablet)? How easy is it for students to find out about logging in to institutional services such as email, printers etc? How safe is it to carry your laptop/ipad to Uni? Do staff encourage or discourage use of personal devices in their classes? I’m sure that even amongst the technology savvy audience on Friday there were a few people wishing others weren’t constantly staring at their phones, laptops and predictably ipads and were listening to what the speakers were saying :-) After spending Tuesday at the Developing Digital Literacies Programme start up meeting, the issue of digital literacies is also key to the future technology in education.

All in all I found the day very engaging and thought provoking and the organisers should be congratulated for bringing together such a diverse range of speakers. I wonder what the future will look like this time next year?